In short: Good race but needs some improvements for next year In full: Firstly, far better organisation than last year, everything went to plan and the two lap format is much better than the out-and-back course of last year. It is also a blazingly fast course as a result. However, given that this race is not UKA-licensed, this is unfortunate as there will be a lot of sub 1:30s that won't make the Power of 10 (last year's race did). At the end of the day, UKA rules are there for safety and there were a fair number of iPlodders in a pen too fast for them oblivious to other runners.
For the cost of the race (note also, no goodie bag), the race should be UKA-affiliated. If today had been a lot warmer, I would have been concerned that the cups of water were only half full at mile 3 (and 9 I think, the same station) - was made worse by the fact that the station volunteers groused at me for taking two cups. I would still consider for next year if changes are made. Date of review: September 16, 2012
In short: The kind of race I like... In full: Would now consider this my 'local' marathon, despite a lengthy journey away. Despite the foreboding hills at the start and building weather (heat + wind) it is an out-and-back course so natural PB potential. Pure beginners would be spooked a bit by the lack of wall-to-wall crowd and there were some points where I felt "do I just head straight on?" but great race, the locals and tourists alike were very supportive. Oh, and I broke my Edinburgh PB by more than 2.5 minutes! Peter deserves many congratulations! Date of review: August 27, 2012
In short: Great race, but could someone remember the key for the car park gate! In full: Great race and helped me lift my mood from a miserable week in bed with the cold and almost even got a PB despite not being in full fitness.
Not much to top the organisation, but would like to see more speakers from mile 8 onwards, especially if the weather is naff like in 2008. Only one other thing, as a fast runner, I was disappointed that I wasn't able to get a quick getaway from the Southsea car park as they had lost the key to the gate for the only exit. I think a backup plan \ diversion should have been in place as most of the other organisation was 100% spot on! Date of review: October 26, 2009
In short: Good race ... terrible organisation In full: I was one of the runners who travelled in from Glasgow and luckily I was early ... as the bus left 15 minutes early leaving lots of people stranded. The bad organisation extended into the lack of additional water stations to account for the weather, and also the general road traffic management around the finish area, as something needs to be done about either moving the finish or opening the roads up earler. There were also a distict lack of toilets in the starting pens, and the lack of marshalling at the pens meant that the general public were mingling with the runners, and people were upgrading their race pens.
Nevertheless, pretty course apart from the power station, and has excellent PB potential.
If this race wants to get anywhere near the slick organisation of London or Paris, they really need to get things sorted out more. Date of review: June 1, 2009
In short: Good race, but a case of follow my leader at the start In full: Overall, good race but would have appreciated a chip-to-chip timing given the awful congestion for those in the middle or the back or the starting pack due to the start in the narrow lane. This increased my finish time by about 1.5 mins despite achieving a PB. Date of review: January 19, 2009
In short: Decent enough race In full: I found this half-marathon nice enough as a one off. The start area felt a little to cramped and took a while to fall into a steady pace. The support was good, but I just felt a little annoyed by the excessive Nationwide branding, and the one-size-fits-all "half marathon and fun run" medal at the end. Date of review: October 13, 2008
In short: Excellent Race - possible the friendliest marathon in the UK In full: I did this marathon on a whim, and was not sure whether or not I would drop out as the field size was a lot smaller than most other marathons I have ran. I am glad I didn't.
The expo, albeit small, was well organised with friendly staff and great food and entertainment at the pasta party. On race day, the transfer to the start area was very well organised, as was the parking in and around the finish area (free on a Sunday, though 10 minutes of extra pain could have been avoided if it was clearer what residential streets were closing).
The race itself was totally flawless. The started runners were gee-ed up by a pipe band and a pretty cool helicopter 'fly-past' by the race film crew. The course itself was undualating, but not tricky. The first 15 miles can be ran fairly quick to save for the few of minutes that you will inevitably loose on miles 16-19. The fact that I managed a 15 minute PB on this course with less training than my previous marathon suggests that the majority of the undulation actually decreases the pain in your legs. The profile is actually downhill for the first 4 miles, sharp uphill for a mile downhill for another 4 miles, pancake flat for 7 miles, sharp uphill for 3 and downhill for the last 6 (what comes up must come down). With typical Highland weather in the autumn, this would have been a more testing run than what it was but it was perfect.
Did I mention the top-notch goody bag with lots of nice Baxters food, cracking medal, and Saltire flag.............. Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: Great race and with a bit of polish could be perfect In full: First the positives - fast race (though the hills on the second lap were murder), good organisation, friendly marshalls and local support, and chip timing!
There were only a couple of things which were a bit of a pain. First is the route from the car park to race HQ. Although the map provided was ok, I ended up getting lost and had to ask a local for directions. Some small sign posts would be good.
The second one is a bit more important, that steep incline about 300m from the start \ finish. The incline was really dodgy on the way to the finish (especially if you enjoy a strong last burst of effort) and I would not be surprised if there would be a few knocks as a result... Date of review: August 17, 2008
In short: Expensive and crowded ... maybe worth it In full: This is a race consisting of various company teams held in the City. Given that there are around 6500 entrants, the streets are very crowded and there is not much potential for a PB, even if you are near the front of the first pack. The worst points are at Bank underground at around 3k and the roundabout at London Wall at 4k where people just seemed to just drift into a slower pace due to the bottlenecks.
That said, great race and well organised. Given the steep cost, it would be nice to have a secured baggage area as part of the entry fee, and directions to public transport links at the end of the race, as a few stations were closed at only 8pm! Date of review: July 18, 2008
In short: Not the most picturesque of runs but super quick In full: This was my first ever five mile race, and given that Didcot is my current 'hometown', I felt obliged to give it a stab.
The course takes place round the newer half of Didcot on the Ladygrove estate which is almost pancake flat, but not the most scenic (though in fairness, not many 1990s housing estates are).
The start of the race came pretty suddenly, with no tannoy announcements or anything, and this could be improved for next year. Nevertheless, the field was spread apart well to have a decent chance at a PB from the outset.
Support was pretty thin, but the enthusiatic marshalls compensated for this. There was also an extra water stop, brillantly manned by the local air cadets. I was really pleased by the organisation in general, and it was nice to get a decent medal at the end as well.
I would certainly do this race again, and could only be improved by giving people better forewarning at the start, and, perhaps, chip timing (especially given that five miles is not that common a distance). Date of review: July 13, 2008