In short: I don't repeat many races, but will be back for this one In full: As a seasoned half-marathoner, this is my kind of race. Cheap entry; cheap accommodation locally; beautiful town to visit for the weekend; easy parking; good starting area - seats, changing tents, lots of loos; good size of field - not cramped on the course, but never on your own; beautiful country roads; fantastically fast downhill finish that really gets the last bit out of your legs; fab medal and tee... If you are a beginner, I'd suggest you aim for 2hr or less or parts of the route get lonely. And the name caller as we were finishing - nice touch but there's not much point if you read the names off like a school register - please be a bit more enthused and encouraging!
I vaguely remember being around mile 7 to 9 and wondering a couple of times if I was going the right way as there was no-one around for what seemed like ages - luckily there were no turns without marshalls!
I'll be back again as races like this are very few! I hope it gets it rightful placing in the top 10 halfs again. Date of review: September 16, 2013
In short: Half Marathon Magic In full: The residents of High Wycombe were amazingly welcoming and gave amazing support. So many people out on every corner cheering us along.
Some lovely stretches of the course showing off High Wycombe and its local villages.
The set-up was impressive, great family day out. All went smoothly. An abundance of marshalls for at least the first 9 miles / couple of hours.
Loved the wet sponges - just what was needed in the humidity. water in plastic cups but seemed to work ok as there were plenty of them.
Would be nice to have a fuel station but my fault for not bringing any gels.
Fantastic goody bag and medal and tee for a super cheap price.
My own gripe (cause I can always find one!): Wish the road closures that had been planned / had signs up for until 1pm had been kept open bit later than 11am. Us slower runners had a couple of long stretches of road around mile 8-11 I think with not much support, few marshalls and fast cars whizzing by. Always makes you feel slower and/or not part of the race when plodding along on your own and the marshalls / support is almost gone and the roads have been re-opened early! Date of review: July 22, 2013
In short: Unique great first race. Only hope it attracts the bigger crowd it deserves! In full: What a unique and fantastic scenery. The air base hasn't been touched since it was used as part of the gulf war. The bunkers with overgrown meadows and huge abandoned hangers give an errie and hugely unique feeling to this event. Historical and educational, it has been left as it given it has the ability to be re-vamped in a few days if the nation needs it. I was fascinated by it and it's fun to have a completely different scene to run in - not your usual town or park 10k! The marshalls were great. I agree that a few more on the course would have been nice - even just for the odd cheer. Course was marked out on each km and being mid-park meant I could follow the crowd. The bottle of water at 5k was most welcome (as it looked like they were planning cups but changed their mind in the heat) - good call! The spray mist from the fire truck at the end was amazing! Absolute bargain price given the timing chip and t-shirt - would have paid a couple of quid more. Almost as flat as it gets, some gentle includes and declines. It was hot and a bit windy but that could change any given day / weekend and am pleased it wasn't wet or gusty winds! Fab for the family with the playbus, some food vans and fire engines to play with while we were off running and loads of parking right on the line. A few stalls which would have been nice if there were more to hang around afterward. Small crowd given Thame and Watlington were the same day and they have club champs rating but only hope that having proved themselves yesterday that this event gets the attraction and numbers it deserves. Will defo come back if they are here next year. Date of review: July 1, 2013
In short: Can't find fault In full: I'm normally one to review pros and cons, but I really can't fault this one anywhere.
I had an issue with my bike and the marshalls were incredibly helpful and went out of their way to help me. Marshalls were also fab at cheering us on and knowing what's what, running/cycling the same route was managed well and really good to keep passing the crowd near the school for cheers. Free technical tee was an added bonus. Everything was smooth, ran like clockwork, really easy signposting everywhere, burger van for my specators, got in and out the car park with ease despite being so busy, juicy oranges at the end were yum, fab wave timing for start meant competitors were around to help out and cheer before and after their race, a good mix of begineers and elites, great competitors cheering eachother on while passing, a welcome hot shower for afterward, the bike route was incredibly scenic round fields and the neighbouring village, a couple of challenging hills made it interesting...
A perfect event for first timers and elites a like. Date of review: September 26, 2011
In short: Expected more In full: After a huge number of halfs this one was a shambles at the start, a nightmare for specatators but couldn't fault the red arrows and cheering crowds.
I was an orange number. I arrived at my pen 10mins before close and was physically pushed back by a man in high-vis and told to go to the crossing. Got to the crossing and another man in high-vis was closing it early. Went back to the orange pen high-vis man who had then sealed the entry and started physcially pushing away runners - hard enough to knock a young girl down and make her cry.
As an organge runner planning on a decent time race I then had to walk passed the whites who were also now sealed and ended up waiting outside the end barriers to filter in to the start. A hugely stressful start. And to the reviewer who said he was upset that oranges had given incorrect times and he had to overtake them all - that is why. I was not the only person starting in a random colour pen.
Course was nice, crowds were good, bands were good, fun water fights with kids squirting bottles. A crowded course so no huge PB potential (unless you are lucky enough to get in your pen up front maybe).
Got to the end and was disappointed to see the crowds at the finish line were held way back by fences. No grandstand, no big finish, no-one volunteer saying well done, just sort of done. Got my bag, medal etc then went to try and exit - I couldn't. The exit was so narrow I got kicked and pushed. The reunion area was chaos, couldn't see my boyf anywhere for the crowds around my letter and almost started crying. Luckily he found me. He had only just got there. It took two hours to get from the start to finish for him. There were no signs for him to get to reunion area from the station, nor any signs to the big beer tent he could have waited in while it rained.
The instructions that arrived said the pasta party the day before was at gateshead quay. That's it. The place is huge and took ages to find where it was amongst the chaos of crowds, and then it wasn't really worth the effort.
The ferry took 90mins to queue. The metro took 2 hours. The queue was still there at 6pm as we watched from the pub.
I get it is a big event and difficult to organise and I get the busy course makes it a big slower, but I really did expect more from a 30+year iconic race that charges so much.
Want a good quality organised half, try Reading or Coventry or Nottingham instead. Has all the pros and is far more slick. Date of review: September 23, 2011
In short: An amazingly race in every respect. Even more credit down to it being the first In full: Pros Great start location People of Brighton supporting everywhere and were lovely lovely course, rare to find a road race with such lovely and varied views at every mile I went to one of the information days in the January before - highly recommend this for the people, info, talks. The organisers mum did a talk on training which was one of the best talks I've ever had. There guys had everything covered - everything! Fab website for info, even an iphone app which was great for updates and getting info.
Cons Pens too small at the start and took us near the back about 15mins to get to the start. Maybe a waves in future?
Whoever spray painted 'the wall' on the arch near the power station has obviously never experienced the wall. I was unfortunate enough to hit it round that power station and seeing that did nothing to help my mind and my attempts to force positive thoughts.
PS The one thing I might add, which it by no means suffered for being without, but an event of this size in this location would do a fab evening post-event party or evening fireworks or something. Date of review: October 3, 2010
In short: Quiet local race In full: Pros Nice route, pretty and quiet. Some lovely marshalls. One lady called my name (by looking u my number) on every lap. Nice T Good weather (bit hot) nice shady parts of routes.
Cons Would the man who kept bugging us about it being the right distance please be quiet?! I just wanted to enjoy my race and was asked 3 times by the guy about 'was it 13.1?' and kept hearing him shouting to ask people and making extra annoucements about it. Yes, I got 13.1 on my garmin, leave me alone!
The start line was non-existant. I'm 5 foot and started at the back... wasn;t quite sure when to start my garmin as it was just a sort of crowd 'go'.
One marshall was rude when I didn't want water and kept stepping in to my path trying to shove a cup on me, I stumbled and almost tripped. I know my own hydration thanks.
When we finished, I was looking forward to chilling in the park. I got up and left sharpish as the poundingly loud reggee music was not exactly post-run relax music.
The guy who did the warm-up?! Do I really need to learn a new handshake? Do I care you were on gladiators a million years ago? All my legs did was march a bit, my arms got warmed up more.
No medal on finish - had to go and collect it from a table. I like my moment of pride having someone put the medal on me. Date of review: October 3, 2010
In short: Good value, crowds, organisation, race T's, medal and not too crowded a good all rounder In full: Pros People of Coventry are lovely! Not a mile went by without local supporters. Smiley, cheering marshallers everywhere. Good spread of faster and slowers runners. Lots of space, not much crowding.
Cons Race village a bit cramped. Same lady as lady as last time with the warmup - she's rubbish! Goody bag a bit poor for a half (but then it is a cheaper race)
In short: Expensive for what it is, but a nice weekend away In full: Pros Good race village Events for the whole family Plenty of toilets (at start and managed to not queue on route) Good crowd support (although only because it was a nice day in the park)
Cons Messy start, delayed, without communication, and barriers blocking people out. All the food vans in the race village were junk. Sweets, burgers, doughnuts, friend food. Had to walk miles to get something half healthy. Could get out the finish. Got my medal etc, then went through the tunnel to the village. Crowded with people looking out for finishers that wouldn't let me though! Like I have the energy to get through a 10 deep crowd that won't budge?!
In short: Well organised, good atmosphere, lots of space on route In full: Good race as a first half, well organised, nice wide roads to run, bit dull scenery and buses back to reading queues were massive (I walked back to town - I don't recommend this, it's a long way!). The stadium finish is unforgetable. Date of review: November 10, 2009