In short: Great race, fantastic marshals, lovely scenic route In full: I really enjoyed yesterday's race. The route was scenic and the aid stations were well packed (jelly babies, chocolate, biscuits, water, squash, wine). I really appreciated the marshals and the well signed course. There were small little touches which made it a great race (signage being VERY clear, great marshals, extra quality aid station).
The only thing that let this race down was the price. It's a little steep and although you get a hog roast in the price; I didnt really like the look of it.
The organisation are great and responsive which is a really nice touch. The t-shirt was alright but is a little weird fitting (the small is more of a medium/large).
The route is really scenic. The first two miles are a little congested as you run through the streets (no road closures) but then it goes into the countryside and onto trial and this is where it becomes utterly beautiful. Lovely country lanes, great trails and well marked either with marshals or signage. The only niggle I had with the route was the two small out and back sections which were a little annoying.
The only reason that would put me off doing this race again is the price. Otherwise - i'd be back in a flash! Date of review: September 9, 2013
In short: Great race, organisation superb, lovely huge medal. Aid stations were stocked full of runner goodies. In full: This was my second year at Thames Meander and I didnt think the race could get better... but it did! Aid stations were packed full of gels, jelly babies, homemade flapjacks and crisps. Plenty of water. As a runner - you really couldnt ask for more (except better weather ;)).
You can tell that the RD's are runners - everything about this race was for runners. Signage was fantastic and numerous, aid stations were well placed and stocked with excellent support. Marshals were utterly superb and so encouraging.
I'll be back for next year -without a doubt! Definitely one of my race highlights from this year. Date of review: August 27, 2013
In short: Hardest Race I've ever done - but definitely one of the best In full: If you're looking for something that will challenge you beyond belief- this is the race for you. It's hard (nearly 6000ft of climb) but it's absolutely stunning. The scenery will take your breath away. Its the friendliest race i've done. Everyone encouraged each other and there was some great comradery between runners and the organisers.
It was 25'c but there was PLENTY of water and support from the marshals.The Marshals were friendly, well informed and knew what they were doing. Every aid station and well stocked and they went above and beyond to make sure every runner was OK (asking if we needed bottles refilled, wiping us down with cloths, checking that we were OK etc). I've never seen such a well run set of aid stations (this includes the largest amount of cake that i've ever seen at a race!)
The Organisation was fantastic and smooth, signage was great for an off-road with a great medal, tech tee and pint glass.
I said "never again" during the race but maybe not until next year ;) Date of review: July 1, 2013
In short: Great comradery, fantastic atmosphere amongst runners and the biggest medal you've ever seen! Great organisation, free race photos and good quality massage for a fiver. Free showers and changing. Cannot ask for more in a race In full: Really loved this race. Yes, it's 17 laps but it doesnt feel like 17 laps! A lot of great comradery amongst the runners. Everyone says hello, everyone is encouraging and everyone is positive - it's a refreshing change.
I had a great day out and the laps were fantastic for me because you got to know parts of the course and there were no surprises.
It's the little touches that make this race great: Free race photos, free changing/showers. Good goody bag, fantastic medal and organisation that ran like clockwork.
There is NOTHING that I can fault with this race... well except the 'hill of doom' ;0) Date of review: June 3, 2013
In short: Good organisation, lovely route, signage could have been better. In full: I ran the ran for the first time and cannot fault the organisation at all. The only slight issue they had was running out of bag tags but they were quick and found a resolution quickly.
The course is scenic and takes in all of the park but the only downside for me were the signs. I was towards the back of the pack (5hr 30) and they were already pulling off some of the marshals and there were points on the last loop where I had no idea which way to go. there were signs from the first lap that made it ultra confusing.
Ran out of small tshirts (first time ever!) but good water/supplies.
Only feedback would be to get a snack wagen/tea coffee wagen onsite to help the hungry runners and supporters! Date of review: May 16, 2013
In short: Great race, fantastic marshals, outstanding organisation In full: I ran the marathon today and its 2 loops of Bewl water and a little loop at the start. The course was undulating to say the least but its absolutely stunning and a lovely place to run in. We had all weathers today but everything in the aid stations worked perfectly with some very friendly and helpful marshals.
The aid stations are roughly 3-4 miles apart and it was plentiful for me. Gels, banana, jelly babies, crisps, cake and flapjacks (the most delicious flapjack ive ever tasted!) and plenty of water/squash.
I think you can tell when a runner organises events because its the little touches in the organisation that make you go: thank god, that's great! The signalling was perfect and easy to see and despite it being a swirvy course - you never doubted what direction to go. This is great for me as I get lost running familiar routes! The organisation for number pick up was clear, easy and we wasted no time in doing it. Baggage was easy and secure.
The course underfoot today was a lot of dry mud so trail shoes are definitely a bonus here. I ran in road shoes and felt the difference.
A great (huge) medal and quality tech tee that I'd wear again.
A big thank you to the organisers for organising a low key event that ran like clockwork and was definitely easy for a runner to do. The crowd and atmosphere is so welcoming that I'd recommend the event to newbies.
Other RDs should learn from the professional work of these guys on how to run a race.
In short: Great Race, PB Potential, Good Crowds In full: I continue to come back to run the GSR for the crowds around the course. For me the biggest issue is the uninspring route between mile 3-5... apart from that it's lovely and as the race develops year on year it gets better and more organised.
Water in bottles is really appreciated as well as the Jelly Babies at Mile 9.
Biggest headache for me is travel. Trying to get in and out of portsmouth on race day is hell and shouldnt be underestimated. If you can hang around until the evening - I recommend it. I've tried car (3 hrs in a traffic jam) and train (cramped train full with runners (and no seat) but a longer walk). Date of review: March 27, 2012
In short: Great crowds, In full: I completed the race today in 20'c bright sunshine so maybe i am a little bias! The crowd support along the course is lovely and supportive. There's many groups of people handing out jelly babies. I've seen few races with such huge support along the race route (especially at Mile 10!)
As today was rather hot I know that more water stations/shower would have been appreciated but on a "normal" day i can imagine that the number of stations would be enough. Bottles would have also been appreciative instead of cups.
Marshalls were helpful, informative and lovely to speak to. The additional army personnel around the course cheering you on made for another "special" moment.
For me - i'd run this race again - no problem. The people in Fleet know how to put on and run a superb half marathon! Date of review: March 25, 2012
In short: Good starting race, good crowds and atmosphere In full: This was my second GSR and i definitely enjoyed this time more. The organisation is ok but getting in and out of portsmouth can be a pain. Trains are packed in the morning and trying to get out of portsmouth via car means sitting in a traffic jam for an hour. If you're coming down - avoid the stress and make a long day of it.
Baggage area is marshalled by two guys standing outside the centre, but apart from that there is no security to hold your bags or make sure that you're not taking off with someone elses.
Toilets were ample along the route. Water was plentiful and well organised. Rubbish after the water and powerade zones could be improved as there was a lot on the road.
Lovely and supportive crowd! Date of review: November 1, 2011
In short: Great Weather, Great Race, Great Time In full: Not only was the race well marshalled and supported, it was definitely a PB potential for me (i knocked 5 mins off my last race). Great scenery and the new course really works well. Slight downside being that it was gun to chip timing instead of chip timing (that would have been helpful). Also, it would have been helpful to spread out or have a larger starting area as towards the 1 hr 40 mark we were all bundled together!
Good facilities (both pre and post race) for spectators at Cantley Park.I'll be running this race next year! Date of review: February 17, 2008