In short: Missed out on the goody bag In full: Sadly only one ladies toilet working, but as I spent about 15 minutes waiting to use it, I didn't have to stand around just waiting for the race to start instead! I really appreciated the "holding pens" for the different time finishers. The marshalls were fabulous, so encouraging, I tried to thank them for their enthusiasm but lack of breath hindered me. The hills were hard work, although shouldn't have been as I run them regularly. I was concentrating so hard on getting round that I almost missed the scenery - absolutely gorgeous. Runner's World magazine couldn't find a better picture than Hawkwood/Petts Wood in autumn! The organisation of the overall race seemed excellent. My only negative of the day was that I totally missed the goody bag (was there one? Once I was walking home I noticed people with Sweatshop bags so I'm not sure if they just bought stuff or they were bags of freebies). I put it down to my haste in getting to Petts Wood station in time for the next train home - thank goodness South Eastern were running well for a change!. The medal is lovely, aesthetically one of the best I've received. Thank you to the organisers and Petts Wood Runners & marshalls for a great race. I will definitely be back next year and meanwhile will practice on those hills some more! Date of review: October 9, 2011
In short: I remember now why I promised never to do a Hyde Park run again In full: After LUL shutting Hyde Park corner station (well done, another classic from them), I still turned up early enough that I got my baggage dealt with immediately and didn't even have to queue for a portaloo. As usual, the fast foody places were open and the smell of fried food wasn't exactly in keeping with the run. However, the freebies handed out by cereal bar people, some free bananas and water were very welcome and much appreciated (thank you). Having to queue for the toilet again at 8.50am, I didn't get inside one until 9.20am. The lack of toilets is just unacceptable at an event of this scale. The scenery was better out on the road - running past Big Ben when it struck 10am was a highlight, seeing the Millenium wheel etc. Didn't see much of the parks, were pretty dull. And I dislike Hyde Park for running due to previous runs which have been badly organised and it brings back bad memories! Having the speakers about half a mile from the finish line was off-putting as I could hear them shouting out "you're nearly there" etc, when we weren't, they were half a mile ahead of the speakers! On the plus side, the finishing stretch was a HUGE welcome relief from the ones I've had to do there before - from the other direction. At least yesterday's one was slightly downhill - thank goodness! The majority of the crowds and marshalls were encouraging but there weren't so many cheers out on the road. I think this is a good race but personally, I won't ever do such a commercialised run again and definitely not Hyde Park. Date of review: October 11, 2010
In short: Did I miss the finish? In full: This is my fourth RfL, but the first 10k RfL I have done. The organisation in theory looked good but in practice, I'm not too sure for a couple of reasons: 1) it started 20-25 minutes late - come on organisers, this RfL has been held for so many years on the heath, it wasn't necessary to keep everyone hanging around in that heat, especially as it was just for an additional warm-up, a lot of actual runners do their own short warm-up pre-race, they don't need to be bouncing around for the length of a 12" disco song 2) did everyone who turned up to support realise that there was a 10k run alongside the 5k? I ran into two people wandering aimlessly (knocked the second one flying - sorry but I just didn't see him til he was under my feet) on the 10k course, and 2) was the 10k Finish line further on from the 5k finish line? I stopped where the big "Finish" banner was but about half hour later my brother told me that he was informed the 10k finish line was about 100 metres further on from the 5k. If this is the case, I'm a tad disappointed to say the least - my finish time would be wrong and should I have received a medal which should say 10k on it? I understand this is the first year that RfL have added a 10k so maybe this is something that could be addressed for next years' race. However, after having partaken in 4 RfL's, I've kinda lost interest, I think perhaps I'm just more interested in running than the "funning". Also, having completed the 5k course in 26 minutes, I know it was definitely slightly shorter than 5k, so the 10k course was probably shorter too. On the fun run side of things, it's a fabulous location and the support is wonderful. People can be so generous with their support and I don't think they realise how appreciated it is by us runners. Just a little cheer and some clapping as we go through really adds to the adrenalin. I will be coming back next year but only to support my mum who walks the 5k. GO MUM! Date of review: July 6, 2009
In short: Hot, Hot, HOT! In full: Coming off of the A2 and into the car park was like the Saturday before Christmas at Bluewater. That aside, there were plenty of spaces available once inside and directions to the start were good. Watching the warm up was funny - a good majority of women were prancing around with the Virgin Active people, and on the other side of the duel carriageway .... men just standing still. I hope it was caught on camera, it was quite comical. The race itself was hard work for me, I've been running for 5 years and I don't think I've ever had a day as hot as this - even at 8.30am. The hills were a challenge but if you could find the shade of some trees, it helped a tiny bit. The scenery was dire but I know Bluewater and I knew it would be before I turned up. Even with these negatives, I still really enjoyed the run because I just felt I had to work harder and I felt like I'd achieved more than I would normally. The organisation was great, the gun went off spot on time. I've read that perhaps it was less than 10k - I hope not because it was quite slow for me! I think it was a bit costly compared to some races but the goody bag and treats and the privilege of doing the run must have added up to the £20 fee. Probably the best goody bag I've ever had. I can wear that luminous t-shirt during the winter on dark roads and be seen for miles, it's perfect! I will definitely do it again. Well done to all those involved and thanks for a good show. Date of review: June 14, 2009
In short: A nice change from a road run In full: I really enjoyed this race even though I was near the back! The scenery was lovely, especially the woodland and even the huge puddles didn't dampen my spirits. I am more used to pounding the pavements but this was such a refreshing change and it was an extra bonus that the expected "heavy rain" held off. The marshalls were great, a couple of them so enthusiastic I think they should have taken part themselves - they had plenty of energy! The only negative was the medal. If engraving is too expensive, perhaps the organisers could get transfers stuck onto the ribbon (as they do at the Thanet 10)? It's always nice to be able to look back and see what you achieved the medal for. Date of review: June 8, 2009
In short: Those inclines were almost the death of me In full: I took in a whole weekend in Newcastle with my friend for the sole purpose of doing this run. I had a fantastic time and even though I found the run extremely hard (believe it or not, I found the London (WHOLE) marathon easier) I still enjoyed the day. We were blessed with the weather, considering it had been very wet and windy the day before.
I think the majority of organisation was very good but there seemed to be a lack of signage at the beginning and end. Marshalls/organisers were happy to help and guide though.
As per usual with all the Great Runs, never enough toilets... or is that too many people?
Scenery, well there wasn't really any was there? The bridge was good to run over and the beach front at the end was nice but the course of roundabouts was a bit on the dull side. Watching the red arrows in the last mile was a nice touch.
Time-wise, this was my worst race ever, but I still enjoyed the atmosphere and the fun of the day. Sadly I hadn't trained hard enough due to illness so there's nothing I could have done to improve the run on the day other than not run it at all but I'm not the type of person to give up! Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: Race with a difference In full: If I wasn't feeling under the weather, this definitely would have been my top race ever. PB potential, great organisation, nice scenery, great great goody bag at the end - the medal was a bonus, as after race reports of previous years I thought we'd just be getting the towel.
Thanks to the organisers for a great race. Date of review: August 16, 2008
In short: Was anyone lucky enough to get to a portaloo before the race started? In full: Shocking is the one word to describe the SEVERE LACK of portaloos. It's days like this I wish I'd been born a man. How the organisers can imagine over[?] 12,000 to get by using about 20 toilets (ok, that's a slight exaggeration) is beyond me. Yes, I did go before I left the house but what can I say, I need to use the loo alot! So, from the disorganisation of the toilets, to the section marshalls at each colour/letter section ("if your name's not down, you're not coming in"). This is not the best start to a 10k and I hadn't even started!
Finally underway, the first drinks station was past the 5k mark, and then there was another at about 8k? Perhaps it would have served better to put the first one at 4k to even it out a bit?
Now I've run many races and am always surprised by the friendliness and helpfulness of other runners - not the case today. Whatever happened to moving over to the side to walk when you have to stop?
The last 400m was the cherry on top of a badly organised run - the spectactors were standing on the running area getting in the runner's ways! I would strongly urge the organisers to fence the finish area off next year, not that I'm likely to go back. Date of review: July 20, 2008
In short: Not the Run for Moore, but Race for Life In full: I didn't do the Run for Moore (being a female!) but I did the Race for Life earlier in the day and I had to comment on the distance also - it was definitely shorter than 5k and that's 2 years in a row I've done 25min 5ks which I never get anywhere else including the treadmill. It's a shame the distance is measured wrong, it puts a shadow on the run for me. Date of review: July 16, 2008
In short: Applied for 2009 the day after, even though I had trouble walking! In full: This was without a doubt my best running moment so far. This was my first marathon and although I didn't run anywhere near the time I expected, I wasn't disappointed. I crossed the finish line at 05.04.27 so I know I can beat 5 hours at the very least next year!
I wasn't prepared for the constant, uplifting, wonderful support along the way - the roads were lined along the whole route and seeing so many people come together bought tears to my eyes on a couple of occasions. My baseball cap comes off to those who stood out in the rain and hail to cheer us on - they must have been so cold!
The organisation was perfect, the water and Lucozade stations were manned/womanned so well, though I would recommend they wear wellies next year having to wade through all that water! The road cleaners with their big shovels did a marvellous job of keeping the bottles and packets to the side of the road. A special thanks to the woman at the end who helped me with the foil wrap, my fingers were numb and I'd still be struggling now if she hadn't done it for me. Well done all.
As for the other runners, some of the costumes were great, a round of applause to all of those who managed to run in heavy/warm outfits and head gear, I was comfortable enough in my normal running clothes thank you. I didn't have to do much people-dodging and the majority of walkers stayed to the side which was extremely helpful.
I was on such a high for 2 days afterwards through all the pain and stiffness. I've managed to inspire some friends to enter for next year and I plan to make them work hard! Date of review: April 24, 2008