In short: Excellent organisation, wonderful marshals & a huge shiny medal! In full: When I told people I was running Luton, I got a lot of negative feedback about the scenery/location and about the likelihood of it being cancelled (hopefully people will soon forgot about those 2 years)! Although there are sections of the course that are through the housing estate or along the main road, there are also lovely sections through the countryside too. The organisation was absolutely excellent - only had to queue for a few minutes for a toilet, easy to collect my timing chip, lots of parking, the start was done really well, and particular mention to the marshals...absolutely loads of them who provided incredible (and undiminished) support throughout. Lots of water stations with isotonic drinks was a nice plus too. Not many members of the public out supporting, but didn't expect any in the cold, and so it was lovely to see those who were there. Oh, and a lovely big medal! I'm really glad I didn't let others' negativity put me off doing this race, as I had a great day. Date of review: November 19, 2012
In short: Doesn't get better than this In full: Mu first multi-day event so I don't have anything to compare the Toad to, but had a fantastic weekend. Met lots of inspiring, awesome people, ran along an interesting & (in the majority) beautiful route & it was all very well organised and welcoming, with no time pressure for anyone. Check-point food was amazing too - thanks to everyone involved! I'll be back next year. Date of review: September 25, 2012
In short: The perfect marathon In full: My second run at Halstead, and it's just as great a race as I remember from last year. I echo all the positive comments that everyone else has made, about the amazing scenery, superb organisation, wonderful marshals and supporters, the personalised drinks, and I love this year's medal! Also a note to say how friendly I find this race - I've never run anywhere where so many people chat to each other out on the course, just loved it. Will be back next year and hope that nothing changes. Date of review: May 14, 2012
In short: Amazing atmosphere, PB course, shame about the distance In full: Firstly - a moment to say how sad I was to hear about the death of one of the runners after he had crossed the finish line. A tragic thing to happen & my thoughts are with his family.
The was my 13th half marathon and I loved it - the atmosphere was astonishing all around the course and hats off to the people of Reading who were out in force to support us!! From reading other people's comments, I think I was quite lucky with my experience - I didn't have to queue long for the pink car park, I didn't need to wait for a bus, the people in my starting pen all seemed to be running at about my pace, and although there were a couple of pinch points on the course (one where I actually had to stop) generally it was fine and it made such a difference to be running on a course with no traffic! The stadium finish was as good as expected, although couldn't believe we had to wait so long to get to the water at the end and after crossing the finish line there was definitely a bit of an anti-climax. Medal was the biggest I think I have, even counting my marathon medals, and I was amazed to run 1:48:08, a PB by 2 minutes, but I think because my Garmin starting bleeping mile markers earlier and earlier than the signs, I ran faster for fear of missing a PB because I just didn't know how long the course would turn out to be! Think I'll probably be back though :) Date of review: April 3, 2012
In short: Well organised, great atmosphere & the best race memento ever :) In full: Absolutely love my little shoe trophy - incredibly generous race memento, thankyou! Marshals were excellent, and enjoyed the course. A perfect race to end the year. Date of review: December 28, 2011
In short: Fast course, excellent marshals, great atmosphere In full: Really enjoyed this race - although obviously a fun run for the charity, the whole event was really well organised and suited more serious runners too so I had fun, but also managed a PB. Special mention to the marshals who were all great - enthusiastic, supportive, and so many of them! Really couldn't fault it & hope there's a half marathon option for next year. Date of review: November 20, 2011
In short: Disappointing. In full: The amazing location and beautiful scenery couldn't make up (for me) for the negative elements of this race. Being held for 20 minutes to start late in the blazing sun didn't help, and then around the course there was little atmosphere or support, very few marshals and pretty much all of them (except the lady at the lap 1/lap 2 split who I do remember) seemed disinterested/bored, and although it probably didn't annoy most people, not having mile markers (only km markers) really threw me. I don't think there was enough water for such an incredibly hot day. The end of the race seemed a bit shambolic, the goody bag pointless & the chocolate bar was a bad choice - needed some crisps/banana to replenish all those sweated out salt & minerals! The medal (and lanyard) are exactly the same as one I got for doing a BHF 10km earlier in the year. What a shame - this was my tenth half marathon, my family came to watch, and I was expecting it to be a fantastic day, unfortunately it really wasn't. Date of review: October 3, 2011
In short: Decent, hilly race but needs work to make it great In full: There was much made about the fact that this race is in it's 35th year, so it surprised me a bit that it wasn't that slick an operation. From the big queue to drop off baggage because we had to wait for a label to be written for each person, to the unclear, poorly signposted winding route in the last mile, to running out of goody bags at the end of the race (and I finished in 2hrs so wasn't one of the last) - it just didn't seem as organised as I'd expect when everyone's had so much practise. However, the marshals were excellent, the water stops frequent (and even stocked with bananas), the locals were very supportive and the hills, although horrendous, were a positive challenge...and the medal was pretty good too! Generally the route was around pretty countryside, although I didn't particularly enjoy the narrow path along the main road. All in all, a good morning's work, but glad I didn't have to travel too far for it, as this wasn't the historic race I was expecting. Date of review: July 25, 2011
In short: My best marathon experience - thank-you! In full: This was my fourth 26.2 after three years of running large city marathons and I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable marathon I've been involved in - really couldn't fault it.
The scenery, organisation, stewards, local support and the other competitors were all wonderful, and I'm chuffed with the quality of the medal too :)
Thank-you to everyone involved in arranging and supporting this race - I had an unforgettable day :) Date of review: May 24, 2011