In short: Fantastic Support, but organisation could be better In full: The support from spectators marks this out from other half-marathons. Quite simply the support was exceptional!
Scenery-wise there is one spot where views open up over the countryside. Unfortunately it was a really grey day so the view was a little disappointing. The same applies to running along the sea front. It would have been more appealing in better weather.
There is potential for a personal best as the second half of the course should be pretty fast, but only if you are towards the front of the pack; otherwise slow runners mixed in with faster runners will slow you down.
Atmosphere would have scored better but for the weather - it was just too gray/overcast.
The course is a mixture of challenging and frustrating. The hill around three-six miles adds challenge without being too tough. From about seven/eight miles until the sea front is a little frustrating as the course twists and turns so much you are never quite sure where you are going. It is also a mixture of downhill and uphill which adds to the frustration.
Organisation-wise this could have been better. After 26 years some things are right, but there is no supervised baggage area (despite what it says in the RW listing), and like many races the ordering of runners according to finish times is at best optional. Even the pacers started in the wrong places. I started in the correct place for my finishing time and only caught up with the pacers for that time at the 4 mile mark. In addition, the area around the start/finish line is just to crowded for the number of runners/spectators.
Overall I would be tempted to enter again. As with all races there were some frustrations, but many of these could be improved relatively easily.
In short: Poor Organisation In full: I was really looking forward to being able to run my first half marathon in Leeds, but was very disappointed with the organisation. The Council has not learnt from feedback over the last two years. The start was chaotic, the location of one of the drinks stations was positively dangerous, two of the drinks stations had packed up before most of the runners reached them, not all roads were closed, and having a corporate relay race running at the same time was sheer lunacy. Plus the route still has all the defincies of the last couple of years. Some people have commented on the route being hilly. There are some sections that are a bit steeper, but these shouldn't cause a problem unless your training has all been on the flat.
Having said all of this I did enjoy running around Leeds, but this was more due to having lived there for 21 years than the organisation of the race.
This could be a fantastic race, but at present it isn't. If the organisation and route were improved it could be great. Date of review: September 8, 2008