In short: Best marshalled race I've run In full: Seriously impressed with this. Excellent marshals--loads of them and all incredibly supportive and friendly. Sensibly laid-out and equipped starting area (way better than e.g. 2012 Manchester marathon). Lots of water stations, too. Top marks to all involved in the organising. Date of review: June 10, 2013
In short: This is for the coastal half, run in February In full: Third time I've done this (first in fancy dress). The course is lovely. I managed to run a bit more than I should have at the second turning point--a bigger, clearer sign next year might be nice. A lovely medal, and though at the back I had food, sports drink tablet, water, shampoo sample and 15% off voucher for a local sports store in my goody bag, which seemed reasonable (I got nothing but adverts in a carrier at a 10K that cost more than this a couple of weeks ago). Many more people on the course at the end than the first time I ran it (2010, when the driving wind and rain might have made an impact), but to be fair that is mentioned in the race literature as a possibility. All in, I love this one, just for being something so different and friendly. Date of review: February 19, 2013
In short: Terrible organisation, verging on misselling. But the people of Manchester RULE. In full: As many have already said, human goodness was on display for this one, all around the course and at the end - but not from the people in charge... Spectators and marshals were marvellous, but the organisation was appalling. The maps provided were risible (no detail on the 'race village' at all, and no info about e.g. loos - I queued for one by the 'baggage drop', ran to the start and found a bijillion unused ones - a sign might have helped). The course was poorly thought out - if you're selling a course as one of the flattest and great for PBs, then having areas that are narrow, muddy and likely to fill with water in rainy weather in a race being run in April in the north of England is VERY STUPID. I know the organisers aren't the weather gods but you'd hope they'd have enough common sense to work that out. I'm a southerner, and I know that mud paths in the north are likely to be hard to run on in April... The underpass was also ridiculous - I am very slow so had plenty of space, but I can imagine it would be horrible for the pack at the front, and certainly not what you needed of you were on for a PB / GFA but the last couple of minutes were crucial.
And then there's the 'baggage area'. It should be pretty clear by now from other comments how appalling it was. I count myself lucky because I only lost a bottle, I only waited 30 minutes to get the jumper that had fallen out of my bag and it may be coated in mud but it'll wash ok. That was after waiting at least 30 to get the bag in the first place. Fortunately, my girlfriend had come with a couple of fleeces anyhow, so I could wear something warm and also lend something warm to the poor bloke next to us who looked on the verge of hypothermia. The race booklet had promised a foil blanket at the finishing line, but I didn't get one, and there were plenty of other people without them waiting around me (I didn't get the banana that was promised, either. So I could have been freezing and without any food for half an hour after a marathon in the driving wind and rain. Thankfully I wasn't, but it looked like lots of people were). This is a basic, and as many people have said, getting it wrong is dangerous. There are going to be a lot of people feeling dreadful today who would have been fine if the organisers had simply looked at how a few other races do baggage and copied it (Loch Ness, they have to drive it down a sodding mountain, yet I got my bag in no time at all at the end). There is no way I would do this again while it is being run by the same people. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Really well organised, fun and friendly race and day In full: This was great. Fantastic organisation, lovely course (pretty tough for a bit of an amateur like me, but plenty of water stations with free gels and jelly babies made it easy to perk up after the trickier climbs. I only had wine at the last one, but that was a great touch too) with extraordinary scenery--the view just after 12 miles was just gorgeous. The downhill finish made looking good in front of my other half very easy... Great medal and t-shirt. NIce also to be given a free training diary. The fruit, cake, tea and coffee at the end was grand enough, but the huge pile of pork and crackling and glass of wine was even better. Next year, the pair of us might walk the course instead (she's not so into the running thing). Top notch stuff. Date of review: September 13, 2011
In short: Really lovely, friendly race. In full: I loved this. Brilliant organisation, really friendly people and atmosphere, nice little medal, bagel very thankfully received, and a great goodie bag: the towel in particular was genius. And actually very stylish, too. Def. want to do this again. Many thanks to the organisers. Date of review: August 20, 2011
In short: Great time in the face of the wind In full: Bloody hard work because of the weather, but really well organised, and very friendly marshals. Currently plotting how to carry a windbreak on the next one... Date of review: February 13, 2011