In short: Excellent for a first-time event with great support In full: Well done to the organisers for getting such a huge event off the ground. The organisation was excellent, especially at the start, and the atmosphere was great both there and round the course.
A few small things to work on for next year, most of which have been mentioned elsewhere: 1. More access points to specific starting pens 2. Water pouches - great in principle, and have used them successfully before, but these ones seemed particularly hard to get into. I had a couple I couldn't open at all and another which exploded (which at least gave me a cooling shower). 3. Plenty of parking at Westfield as advertised, but it was hard to find the way out (more signage?) and the walk was more like 30 than 20 mins so might have been a problem if running late 4. Course was mostly very enjoyable, but all those switchbacks in the last 2-3 miles were a bit dispiriting. 5. For some reason the baggage drop for low numbers (0-1,000) had long queues both at drop-off and pick-up, whereas others seemed to be moving more freely.
All just minor teething problems though. Well done and thanks to all the marshalls who gave up their Sunday morning and were so cheerful and encouraging. Date of review: June 25, 2014
In short: Superbly organised and very friendly race In full: A very enjoyable event, excellently organised and an attractive course. Starting on the airfield means there is plenty of space and no crush at the beginning so you can easily hit your pace from the off. Thanks to all the cheerful and encouraging marshals for turning out on a cold day. Very nice to get a handshake from the race director as we crossed the line - can't remember that ever happening before. Well done everybody. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Superb event, brilliantly organised In full: Hard to believe this was a first event. Everything at the start and finish worked like clockwork and the marshalling was superb - thanks to you all for being so friendly and encouraging. Only very minor comment would be that some of the mile markers were easy to miss. But overall, a great run and managed a PB, undulations notwithstanding! Thanks to the organisers. Look forward to next year. Date of review: October 22, 2012
In short: Excellent organisation, moderately challenging course, good day out In full: Thanks to the organisers and especially the marshals, all of whom were helpful, friendly and encouraging. I last did this race in 2010 when the weather conditions caused a lot of problems. Well done on all the improvements and for making the sun shine! Date of review: February 26, 2012
In short: Otherwise enjoyable race, marred by poor organisation at the finsh In full: There was a great atmosphere and good organisation at the start and I enjoyed most of the route, especially running along the coast for much of it. Main gripe was that mile markers were too small and hard to spot (were there actually any at all in the last few miles?). Also, the two "about turns" later in the race were strangely dispiriting. A course needs to have a sense of travelling somewhere to be really memorable. The positive side of this race, as compared to somehwere like London, is that you can run at your own pace for most of it without too much congestion (and without the glitz and overt commercialism). The marshals and support crew were helpful and enthusiastic, though not always plentiful.
But the finish... what more can be said? Having got through the chaos of the actual finish area, I queued 30 mins for a beer, 45 mins for a burger then, after a 20 min walk, 45 mins for a bus, which then left me in a part of the city I didn't know, another 20 mins from my hotel. I got back at 6pm, having finished the race around 1.30. It left an unpleasant memory of an otherwise enjoyable day, and the atmosphere during the interminable wait for buses was, by that point, understandably very sour.
There does seem to be a problem with undercapacity of staffing, facilities and general provision at the end - almost as if the organisers were taken by surpise by the numbers. But then, really, how could they have been? Date of review: May 25, 2011
In short: Excellent organisation, friendly marshals, attractive course, enjoyable atmosphere. In full: Flat first half, then a few climbs, but nothing too extreme. Perfect way to spend a spring morning - and a PB to boot. Date of review: April 3, 2011
In short: Tough, hilly race but attractive course with excellent organisation In full: A very tough race but it was a lovely day, the scenery was often beautiful and the marshalls were plentiful, courteous and encouraging in equal measure. Thanks to you all, but especially the two at the top of that brutal hill at 9 miles who applauded us for getting to the top, but were kind enough not to let on that there was another one to follow. A real challenge and unlikely to be a PB course for many people but a really excellent event. Date of review: November 10, 2010
In short: Chaotic start and moderately hard course, but v difficult conditions for the organisers In full: The wet weather made it very difficult for the organisers; the marshalls who turned out to stand in the rain deserve our thanks. There were problems with loos - a huge queue in the gents and no urinals meant many must still have been there when the race started (I gave up five mins before the start time because there was clearly no prospect of getting in). The start itself was chaotic and seemed to involve two laps of the track followed by five hundred people trying to force their way through a narrow gap in a hedge. In retrospect this was obviously because the intended route was flooded and people at the front headed for the nearest alternative route they could see. From further back in the field all you could do was follow the crowd, with the messy results which followed. It really needed some clear signage or marshalling to indicate where we were supposed to go, though I'm sure resources were over-stretched at that point.
Thereafter the organisation was good and the marshalls were very encouraging. From conversations afterwards, I think there was a bit of confusion about what we were being told to do at the point where we had to cross the main road twice, but again the poor conditions meant communicating wasn't easy for the marshalls.
It's not a pretty run, but challenging and good preparation for longer distances to come.
Again, thanks to all those who gave up their time (and comfort) to make it happen. Date of review: March 1, 2010