In short: A few glitches this year, but still a great race In full: This is my favourite half marathon and once again provided a memorable race day experience. The organisation (with the exception of the goody bags), course, marshalling and enthusiasm of the local support are all of a very high standard.
It was disappointing to hear that so many runners missed out on a goody bag, though at least the race organisers have acknowledged the problem and promised to rectify it for next year.
One other gripe - I finished in a low 1:29 and passed the official 1:30 pacer walking down the finish straight just so he could say that he'd hit his target pace. There's no point having pacers if they're not going to do the job properly. Date of review: March 8, 2012
In short: Ideal warm-up for London In full: Friendly, well organised warm-up for those running a spring marathon.
Although lacking the bells and whistles of other races (no chip timing or goody bag), the race offers very good value for the £10 entry fee with a scenic course and on-the-day choice of running 15 or 21 miles.
In short: Better weather this year, same great organisation In full: Other race organisers would do well to study the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon as an example of how to put together a great run.
The many plus points include slick organisation, friendly staff, a tough but scenic route on a well-marshalled course with good crowds, Dame Kelly Holmes handing out the medals and an excellent goody bag. (The organisers are even posting me out a race T-shirt after I forgot to pick one up on the day).
A couple of minor quibbles... the 1.30 pacer hared off at sub-1.25 pace and was never seen again (even though I finished in just under 90 minutes) and I would've preferred an energy drink instead of a gel. Date of review: March 9, 2011
In short: Overpriced and soulless In full: I had heard good things about this race's springtime equivalent (the Kingston Breakfast Run), but this was a massive disappointment.
The race was two 8-mile laps, each consisting of 3 miles along the Thames Towpath (past the admittedly very picturesque Hampton Court) and 5 miles of dull pavement bashing back round to Kingston.
Given the minimal road closure required, it's hard to see how organisers Human Race can justify a £25 entry fee, though presumably the marshalls were being paid to stand in silence (volunteer marshalls tend to do unprofessional things such as smiling and offering encouragement).
Other annoyances included having to dodge backmarkers from the earlier 8-mile race on the first lap (running in pairs of course to fully cover the width of the pavement) and paying extra for an open-air bag drop.
Still, at least finishers get a nice souvenir mug with which to scoop water out of a basin.
Next time I'll do two laps of Richmond Park and save myself £25...
In short: Friendly, off-road 10k In full: Enjoyable and well-organised race on the Epsom Downs. The course is a testing mixture of tarmac, trail and cross-country with several hills and a sprinkling of snow thrown in. Date of review: February 1, 2010
In short: Good race, but organisation (and the weather) could be improved In full: Pre-race organisation left a lot to be desired. Timing chips could have been sent in the post, and the race guide would be improved with a street map of the city centre clearly showing the start, finish, car parks, bag drop etc.
The route was on the whole scenic and challenging, and the crowds in Wetheral and Scotby enthusiastic (esp. given the weather). Didn't enjoy the section on the poor paths in the park around the 11-mile mark, nor the energy-sapping gym mat on top of the cattle grid!
Marshalls were friendly and helpful, though the water stations could have been better situated. The first three were all at the foot of a hill.
Goody bag & medal were ok, nice t-shirt. Date of review: October 27, 2009
In short: Good atmosphere, decent (but not a PB) course In full: A good, local 10k in & around Wimbledon. Nice atmosphere in the start/finish area and the organisation was generally friendly and competent, though a few of the quieter road junctions towards the end weren't marshalled. The cool weather meant that the lack of water en-route wasn't a problem. Some of the km markers were in the wrong place though. Date of review: October 19, 2009