In short: A few minor niggles, but a well organised event that could be slightly improved. In full: My second marathon after London last year. And I'm a slower runner than some of the other commentators here. I managed an 8 minute PB compared to London last year so despite the heat and everything it went well for me.
The things the organisers could slightly improve.
1 Get the HM runners off to a flying start at least 15 mins ahead of the FM. I spent the whole of the first lap ploughing through slower HM runners. If they had time to spread out first then that wouldn't be so much of a problem.
2 The drinks question .... it didn't bother me as I was prepared for it because I'd monitored the website and found out what was planned. As a slow plodder I walk the water stations anyway which is plenty of time to drink up a cup or two AND refill my own water bottle. If you can't provide for yourself you shouldn't moan about what is given.
3 The lack or otherwise of sports drinks etc en route - as everyone has their own favorite whatever you supply won't suit everyone, so again people should just provide for themselves. A marathon is supposed to be a trial and working out what works for you is part of that trial.
4 The Greenway - twice! An energy sapper definitely and if it was sunny very scorching. Again, a marathon is supposed to be a trial of headology so getting your head and body round the greenway is surely part of the challenge. It could possibly do with a couple more sets of marshalls along it just to give you someone to focus on.
In short: Challenging run in preparation for a marathon. In full: I'd echo what the others have said about the route and organisation EXCEPT the miserable spray of COLD water in the showers at the end. Not a great way to get ready for a long trip home.
Could also have done without the lap of the muddy field at the end, as that meant I really needed a shower to get the mud off.
Beginner friendly for those beginners ready to run 18.6 miles! You should know what you're letting yourself in for. Date of review: February 16, 2009
In short: A nice change of scenary, with a hilly bit in the middle In full: Well organised, but mixed showers? No thanks! Bum bag a nice change from a cotton T shirt or useless medal, I'll definitely be using mine with pride. Date of review: August 10, 2008
In short: Good for beginners and the more experienced In full: My first 10K, and I went much faster than expected. Well organised, encouraging marshalls and the time just flew by. Date of review: October 7, 2007
In short: Weather was hotter than expected, marshalls OK, could have done with a few more on the long canal stretch In full: Organisation OK, good baggage storage in the sports hall. Showers - very steamy at the end, no hair dryers or mirrors. Enough toilets. Goody bag poor - so lets hope the charity gets the money, or they could do with getting more sponsors to donate stuff. Uphill stretch at the end very trying. Date of review: July 22, 2007
In short: First time, finished, wasn't last and didn't die in the attempt. Weather unexpected, too many underpasses and the road bridge at the end nearly got me. In full: Re all the comments everyone's made about timing and baggage - thought you'd be interested in this response I've got from the organisers.
"Re timing - We were really disappointed to find out that the service the timing company was providing was gun to finish line and not start line to finish line. This is something were made aware of 15 mins before the race started. We thought we had employed the timing team to deliver start line to finish line timing but they are maintaining this wasn't the case.
We put a lot of effort into the day and to deliver a timing service that wasn't what we intended is really upsetting. We can only apologise to the runners for that, it certainly wasn't our intention.
Re baggage - the area was supervised by a staff member. They had moved from the info desk at the start of the race to sit in the room which is where we are informed she stayed (just spoken to the woman's husband who confirms this).
We are always looking to improve the event. To rectify the timing issue, we'll employ a different timing company who we know will deliver the service the runners and ourselves want.
We'll also look at the baggage situation. Making it a secure area will certainly result in queuing to retrieve your bag which after 13 miles is probably something you won't want to do which is why we suggest people leave their bags in the car."