In short: Well organised - slightly challenging first half In full: This is such a well organised race. I wasn't expecting chip timing (it probably said it when I signed up but I don't read those things). Everything went without a hitch. Lots of things for the kids to do while they wait around for you while you run.
The course is undulating in the first half with a couple of steep but short hills and one long, not so steep hill. The finish is well organised with chip removal, medal pick up and the best goody bag ever.
Nice technical t-shirt and medal.
I will be back next year. Date of review: May 13, 2012
In short: Brilliant race In full: First fell race I've done, but would describe it more as extreme cross country. I'm in the middle of marathon training and this is the most my legs have ached all through my plan.
Organisation was great. There was a goodie bag available at the end but this wasn't advertised. It was very generous though. Thanks to the guy who bought me a slice of cake when I forgot my money. Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: Nothing special but nice PB. In full: Very windy day, especially the second half of the race (the wind was mostly behind us up until then). I got a PB of over 3 minutes. Tewkesbury WAS my slowest race up until today (ran it three years ago in the blazing heat) so I'm very pleased with that. There are a few things they can still improve on though: 1. More loos at the start. People were still queuing when we started. Mostly their own fault but there were not enough. 2. An extra water station, at around mile 11, would be nice. 3. The start was odd. The starting pen for the 1:05 to 1:20 runners was huge. I started at the front of the next pen and there was a huge gap between me and everyone else. And then all of a sudden the race started. In most races (all races?) everyone would be moved forward but we had to run the extra bit to the start (where people should have been in the starting area). I thought that was very peculiar.
Obviously not the organisers fault but the atmosphere was not existent and the support from the locals poor. The course was dangerous in places. I've had never seen a tractor do an emergency stop until today. And the run through the town centre at the end had runners running next to cars coming past and the gap was not very big. Eventually there was a coned off area for runners but cars were hitting the cones. The finish area was good. I'll try not to moan about the goody bag (but some chocolate would have been nice).
Where was the sports retailer that was supposed to be there? I would have bought a long sleeve top or a jacket (as I forgot mine and was freezing with that wind).
Tewkesbury is a nice location for a half marathon. The course obviously has PB potential and although you cannot describe it as hilly as there are no steep climbs, it is certainly not flat. Not sure I will do it again as I have conquered my bogey race.
In short: Same as last year....and the year before.....and the year before In full: Same problems as every year - it will never change. Still the problems with the start, still have to move to the side several times to let cars past despite organisers telling us to be on the start 5 mins early. Still not chip-timed. Still drinks scooped out of a plastic bin full of squash/water (didn't check to see what it was - probably taste of the chemicals anyway). Haven't spotted any spelling mistakes on the t-shirt this year. 4 seconds added to my finish time.
The race itself was fine. Marshalls do a good job and a few of them actually shouted words of support. The local support was as good as ever, even with the bad weather. Alsager council could do with sorting out the potholes in the road. I saw a few people almost go over on their ankles. Despite the usual problems which I now just find amusing, I will still be back next year. Date of review: February 6, 2011
In short: Fast course - nice PB ta!! In full: Fast and flat (apart from one slight incline). Two laps but this does not detract from what is a good race. Splitting the elite from the rest of us was a good idea, especially when I saw who was lining up at the front of the non-elites. The track is quite narrow at some points but it was never crowded for me. There is an out and back bit which I normally do not like but quite enjoyed this one. Cheap medal at the finish is better than nothing. Chip timing would be nice as they added two seconds (big deal) to my time as they were writing numbers down as we crossed the line, but I guess not at this price.
Will do it again for another PB next year. Date of review: January 24, 2011
In short: Thankfully quick enough to avoid the congestion at the end In full: I've never heard of a race being congested at the end before. The start was chaotic with spectators standing in the way preventing runners getting into their pens. And then when I did eventually get into the starting area (black start, quite near the front of it which I felt was too far forward to me, but as I had to jump the barrier I just went with it) and was surprised by how the dominant colour was not black. In fact I could not tell you the dominant colour as everyone was mixed up. A bit of a farce really. I only saw the mile 11 marker (as I was going really slow at this point - hill anyone?). The drinks stations appeared from nowhere, these could be indicated more clearly.
I don't know if I will do it again next year. Hopefully the start will be in a different place and they will sort out the finish (and move that hill).
Goody bag could do with more chocolate.
Supporters were ace, apart from those getting in the way at the start.
Got a pb but it could have been better. Weather was lovely but I don't think Birmingham can have the credit for organising this. Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Great course, great race, great marshal's, great goody bag, great t-shirt. In full: Ok, so the t-shirt is a little tight on me.
The hills kept it interesting and the support especially at the finish was great. I got a PB (only my 2nd 10k though).
The only slight negative was how long it took to get out of the car park with cars coming from all directions to go down one funnel, with 3 marshals just looking on and chatting. Maybe they weren't marshals, don't know what they were but they were the ones who told me where to park the car. Guess it wasn't their job. Date of review: September 16, 2010
In short: Well organised low key race In full: The support at the finish was great especially as I need some assistance after I finished. Also, I didn't have to wait too long for the post race massage. I found the route ok (ish) although it was hardly exciting. The supporters that turned out were great, really friendly and supportive, although there were not very many of them. The medal and t-shirt are great and it is the only t-shirt I've had from any race that I will be able to use in training (a nice technical tee).
Collecting numbers on the day ok (could have collected on the day before but was not travelling until the day of the race) but would prefer them to be posted so that I can go through my usual ritual of pinning the number to my top the night before and not stressing when the flippin' thing would not go on straight an hour before the race. Date of review: June 2, 2010
In short: Just ok. In full: This review is for the HALF marathon although some comments apply to the full. I could not see an option to review the half marathon.
The whole race is along the seafront, which while quite pretty means it is a bit boring running in a straight line all the way until you have to turn around and go back along the same road. I hated the last three miles running on the concrete and blame my poorly ankle and knee on this.
I was very disappointed with the finish. If people were running in a group they were told that they had to spread out otherwise their time wouldn't be recorded. There was no goody bag and just one bottle of water for me when I finished. When they finally cracked open the Coca-cola, they had a small boy puting it into plastic cups. Why not a can each? He was only filling the cups half way (if you were lucky) and I am pretty sure those who had just ran the marathon could have done with a little more sugar. The poor boy was being swamped at one point and asked for help from someone else but was left to it. This aspect of the race I found to be quite disgusting and it makes me wonder what the money was spent on. While I am moaning, the medal looks cheap and the t-shirt was just ok.
Blackpool has the potential to put on a real showcase of a race with a little more thought.
Oh, and it really needs to be chip-timed. Date of review: April 12, 2010
In short: Quick course - shame about almost everything else. In full: The start. I probably don't have to say any more than that.
Add to that the lack of toilets (they really should consider getting some portable loos for a race of this size) and the ones that were there were either blocked or out of bounds. Also, it never bothered me before, but have you seen how they get the orange squash of the bins to give you at the end? I would assume they were brand new bins but then you have the chemicals from when they were made at the factory. I passed on the drink this year.
However, that aside, it is a good fast course and the support from the Alsager lot was very good, with people lining most of the course. The police did a good job of controlling the traffic to keep the runners safe
I hope the guy who was lying on the floor at 2.5 miles was ok.
Got some free tea-bags, although I am not keen on that brand. T-shirt is the same as every year, wont bother reviewing that.
I'll probably be back next year to have a go at a sub 35 (new PB 36.11). Date of review: February 7, 2010