In short: Good route but the organisation was a bit of a mess... In full: Alright, first up I have to admit to this being my local half marathon, so it's one I am always likely to do, and I know many parts of the course well thanks to training in the same area. It's got some really nice bits in it (Woolwich Arsenal, Greenwich Park) and some fairly dull dual carriageway where you can just about see the Thames. As a route it's actually pretty good and one that has the potential for a PB as the hills aren't too tortuous. But the route isn't the be all and end all of everything.
Various parts of the course had a fair few spectators. Okay, it wasn't the London Marathon, but given the lack of spectators on other runs, it wasn't bad!
It's not that cheap as a race, and the organisation left a lot to be desired. Being informed at 9.30 that the race start had been put back to 10.30 due to issues with the tube was a big mess. There were many runners hanging around in the participants arena desperately trying to keep warm, and once they started giving out the Space Blankets, that was it. It wasn't made clear that they had to keep enough for the end of the race, so there were people with 3 or 4 wrapped up around themselves and others with none. Not very clever.
Then there was the end of the race. Water, Gatorade, snacks and shower gel were all on offer, but if you weren't in the first 5,000 you probably didn't get anything. I saw a couple of people walk off with unopened, full boxes of treats, and no stewards trying to stop them. So much for letting later finishers get anything. An incentive to run faster I suppose... Go back to a goody bag next year. People are often selfish.
FInally the timing chips. It's always nice to have timing chips, but it's a pain in the butt when you tie them to the laces and then have to unless your shoe after the race. What happened to tie tags? I found this unbelievably annoying!
Finally, music, "scientifically designed to be at the correct BPM for the stage of the race". Not that you could hear it much beyond the 4 speakers and van that was playing it in most areas.
So, although those are the gripes, and the same as many others, it's not a bad race and there were plenty of people en route to gee you up and get you going. I most remember the kid with the saucepan and wooden spoon down by the church on Trafalgar Road. It was just a pity that the wind was cold and the tube screwed up. Date of review: September 27, 2010
In short: "Up and Down" in many senses... In full: On a day dominated by the weather, it was always going to be a difficult run. It was raining from pre-start to post-finish, and this was combined with a cold wind which resulted in many lake-like puddles on the course and sections that had to be run around rather than through. The organisers couldn't really do anything about the weather, although they perhaps should have had contingency plans in place as to how to deal with the problems this caused. I guess it isn't that often that the tail end of a tropical storm intersects with a half marathon but still, it provides them with a few things to consider should the forecast provide similar conditions again.
As has been said many times, the marshalls were great and maintained good form and cheeriness throughout, which was appreciated and must have been hard given the cold and wet they had to deal with.
Friendly runners to keep up the spirits.
A challenging, if not particularly picturesque course.
As has been mantioned many times, again, the start, which seemed badly organised, and then turned into a steeplechase as we stood around and waited for 3 or 4 mins to squeeze through a hole in the hedge. Not good for times.
The course, which although has it's challenges, also has a few areas where there is really only room for 1 runner on a footpath. This would be fine, except for this being on the hills, and therefore at the point where people slow down to a walk making passing difficult, especially given the traffic. Buckhurst Hill area was especially bad for this. The number of participants probably accentuated the issues with the course.
Will I be back next year? That remains to be seen. Date of review: March 1, 2010
In short: Very good race, pleasant atmosphere and good mix of runners. In full: A pleasant run through the Kent countryside with both ups and downs (it's officially undulating). Probably not a PB route, but a very enjoyable run none the less.
Very well organised and easy to get in and out of. Date of review: February 8, 2010
In short: Personal Best - Shame about the weather In full: Pity that leading up to the race it rained constantly with it letting up only 5 mons from the start. As ever, there is never enough under cover space when this happens. The race was good, excellent atmosphere and as always fast. Date of review: October 26, 2008