In short: Big Improvement In full: This is the second year of the Surrey Half and the first one from Woking, last year's started and finished in Guildford. The original plan was to alternate routes, but this has changed apparently and this year's course is permanent.
The course is a big improvement on last year, there is only one small 'there and back' section (last years was pretty much the whole thing) and the road is wide enough at that point to accommodate both sets of runners. It sticks to the countryside and villages, avoiding Woking town centre. While that makes it more attractive, it does mean that support tended to be a bit thin on the ground - still they were enthusiastic when they did appear.
I arrived early, so was able to get coffee and bag drop with no problems - but heard that the bag drop was an issue later on. Having the bag drop indoors was a nice idea, but it did mean that there could only be a single queue to get into it and that's what slowed things down. Hope they fix that for next time. Apart from that, the organisation was spot on - first time I've been to a half where there were actually enough loos. Be interesting to see how this one develops Date of review: March 9, 2015
In short: Good basic race In full: Support was sparse but enthusiastic. The organisation (as far as I saw), was good. Local runners and first timers seemed to be well represented as well. I wouldn't say it was quite as flat as the organisers implied, there were a couple of nasty short climbs and a long slow drag up for the penultimate mile. Overall, a good basic race. Date of review: March 10, 2014
In short: Improved from last year, still room for more In full: The finish area was a huge improvement on last year and the year before (still doesn't beat the race course finish). But, as others have pointed out, an earlier start would be more comfortable if the weather was hot, there was very little shade available. And the walk for the buses is horrible. 4 and 5 years ago, the buses were right outside the race course, why can't they do something like that again? Nice medal, shame about the goody bag. Date of review: May 28, 2012
In short: A real antidote to the big halves that are getting too corporate In full: No medal, no t-shirt, no goody bag. But, what you get is a small friendly race which is well organised with supportive marshals. Oh and a mug, oh and a chance to buy a t-shirt with the names of all the runners on the back for a very reasonable £6. After the crowds and less than stellar scenery of Bath, this one comes as a real relief. Oh and a course that is flatter than a very flat thing. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Lots of things to like, let down badly by the finish In full: This is my 4th Edinburgh Marathon, we have family in the area so it's a good excuse for a trip. There are lots of things I like about it in general and this year in particular. There appeared to be enough loos at the start and the announcer was giving out advice on London Road as to where to find the shortest queue and when to start queuing. This was the first year I didn't see people watering the railway arches or the trees in Holyrood Park. I like the scenery and I like the fact that there are quiet stretches of road where I can just gather myself together and run. The diversion via the village seems random, but the support is good on that stretch. I could do without Gosford House, especially as this year it combined with about 17 miles and that nasty headwind.
But, the finish, I think everyone's said it already. 4 years ago, we finished in the stadium and were picked up by (complimentary) buses from just outside. Maybe there are too many runners these days for that approach. But, asking runners to add another 20 mins walk uphill (f you didn't get sent in the wrong direction like me), to get back. Well, maybe the number of runners attending will cease to be an issue. Date of review: May 25, 2011
In short: Spoiled by the arrangements for afterwards In full: This is third time I've run this marathon and it's still high up in my list of favourite runs. But, I don't like the recent changes. Having the new half marathon run first at 8:00 means that the marathon is run over the hottest part of the day and the last two years have been warm ones.
Worst was the arrangements at the end. Luckily, we didn't have to pick up bags, but friends reported a wait of about an hour for those finishing at about 4 hours. Then, there was a 20+ minute walk to the buses for home. So, you've just run 26 miles, top of your list of things to do next is walk another mile or so, isn't it? I'm afraid that rather took the shine off things. Date of review: May 24, 2010
In short: Notch up another success to Patrick and the team In full: I took part in the inaugural Thunder Run as part of a team, but when this came up I couldn't resist the temptation to ditch my Reading number and get involved as a solo runner. The course was a just over 9km with two hills and a set of terrain that could best be described as 'mixed': mud, woodland paths, tarmac, stony paths, goat -tracks. Marshalled by the ever encouraging Venture scouts and it was a very long day for them. There was nothing to fault organisationally, sure the main generator broke down for a little while, but there was enough power for the catering tent to offer porridge. And at the end of the day the showers were almost too hot.
Beautiful scenery when I remembered to look up, great atmosphere, but next year B&B I think rather a than frost covered tent. Date of review: March 22, 2010
In short: More hills and more mud than a very hilly, muddy thing. In full: Days of rain had effectively sabotaged parts of the course. The march we had been promised in the last third was a fully fledged lake with waves and probably tides But, we weren't shortchanged, there were puddles a plenty and no point in running round them. There were muddy trails up hills, through woods and what seemed to be a ploughed field. Friendly marshals gave out helpful advice like "I think the next field contains sugar beet" or just laughed at my reaction to what lay beyond the next bend.
I've read that in terms of effort the halfway point in a marathon is at about 21 miles It ca't be that different for a 30 miler. Anyway, that was where the hill was. 600 foot up in two very steep sections. It was downhill after that, but any advantage from the gentle downwards slope was taken away by the wind which started gusting against us and did so for the rest of the course. There was a lovely view of Arundel Castle as I trudged along the river, good job that a check of my Carmin told me there was another 4 miles to go, otherwise I would have fallen prey to something like hope.
T-shirt and shot glass to finish. I think I would have preferred a medal, although the glass came in handy for drinking the water provided at the finish (some plastic cups would have been good.
Lovely. friendly race, but 30 miles cross country in those conditions is tough. Date of review: December 7, 2009
In short: Generous, well organised, different and fun In full: T-Shirt, mug, headtorch, chip timing, free soup and bread at the finish and all for £15? Sort of bargain that puts some of the big commercial runs to shame. Incredibly well organised as well.
Flat course, but an uneven and muddy surface with lots of twists and turns means that you're not likely to PB, add to that, the almost total darkness. But, it was friendly and an awful lot of fun. I don't normally bother with 5Ks, but I'm ready to put this on my calendar for next year. Date of review: November 1, 2009