In short: Testing In full: This is my local race so I have to do it, even tho it's quite tough! Pretty, well organised, with a monster hill just after mile 6, and then a few climbs through woods, before you're back on the canal path. It's not a PB course but it is one I'll do again. Well organised with great marshals.
Just one tiny criticism, the new start in the school field didn't work so well, with the exit onto the canal path becoming a very slow bottle-neck. Date of review: November 18, 2013
In short: Really very bad race, astoundingly bad In full: Really badly organized race. Won't be back next year. One of the worst I've run; there were major issues with traffic and drivers driving round "road closed" signs and bollards as well as ignoring marshals asking them to stop; a number of marshal's were unsure about what to do when faced with traffic trying to cross a line of runners and the final insult was running the last section through a busy pedestrian shopping street - there were many shoppers who didn't appreciate they shouldn't cross in front of the runners, but then again, they probably weren't expecting to find 500 sweaty runners panting through the town, interfering with their Sunday morning shopping.
Woeful lack of signage around the course too, no directions for the runners and no "caution runners in road" signs for the drivers (who weren't supposed to be there if you believed the pre-race advertising). Course was also really hilly - lots and lots of hills (some little, some definitely not), all the round way and the route was contrived, with lots of twists and turns, so no chance of building up a decent rhythm.
There was carnage at the finish, with no one seeming to know where to go to meet the bus back to the start. Once on the bus, I was horrified to see it went up a hill where people were still running.
The only good point was the support along the course. And despite warnings in any communication before the race and at the start, loads of people were wearing headphones and appear not to have been DQ'ed. Date of review: October 27, 2013
In short: Well organised, fast(ish) and friendly In full: I first did this race back in 2009, with all the controversial bottlenecks. The new course is an improvement, but unfortunately, there had been very heavy rain before and during the race, so new bottlenecks were formed as people tried to avoid puddles. With the course being multi-terrain, trail shoes are a must if it's muddy. Mostly flat-ish, but with a long, draggy hill at mile 3 that cuts the pace a bit. Lots of good vocal support as you run through the housing estate and excellent marshals throughout.
Only flaw was the massive hold-up as we tried to leave the station car-park. Sitting in traffic in cold, wet, muddy kit for half an hour wasn't pleasant. Date of review: October 14, 2013
In short: Loved it! In full: This was my first marathon and if they were all like this, I would definitely become addicted!
The best bit was the crowd. So enthusiastic in their support, they were obviously out to enjoy themselves too. They made the race for me.
There are a few inclines in the first half, but nothing too challenging really. Once you're past 11 miles, it's all downhill or flat. The section out by the power station isn't pleasant, but the stretches through Hove or the sea-front definitely make up for it.
Organisation was slick and efficient, can't fault it. If only this company could organise all the races in the UK, running would be much less hassle.
A couple of things on the downside tho; the race rules ban iPods but there were many people wearing headphones. If they're banned, they should stay banned. And with the race being in Brighton, you have to contend with the problems of Brighton - it's one of the most densely populated places in Europe, car parking is a nightmare and hotels are pricey and the staff rude. Date of review: April 18, 2012
In short: Good race, well organised, slow in places, fast in others and proper pretty. In full: Hilly, yes, but the downhills are great and very fast. Probably the prettiest race I've done. Well organised with lots if marshalls and fair local support. Weather was bad when I did it, but that can't be helped.
Goodie bag is minimal but my major gripe is the number of people wearing headphones, when they're expressly banned in this race. If they're banned, then runners wearing them should be disqualified. Date of review: March 5, 2012
In short: Perfectly acceptable In full: My second time racing at Stanwick. Nice flat course (apart from one tiny incline around 2 mile). OK organisation, easy parking, good cheerful marshals. Can't fault it really. Date of review: December 18, 2011
In short: Fast flat and scenic In full: The park is ideal for racing on, wide enough paths and pretty much flat. The area is pretty enough to keep your attention. Reasonably well organised and a good crowd of supporters. I'm going back for the June 12 race too. Date of review: April 24, 2011
In short: Hilly side of undulating. In full: Described as undulating, but I would describe this is on the hilly side. Well organised, with lots of friendly marshals. The route isn't traffic free, but the marshals let you know when traffic is approaching, so I wouldn't recommend wearing a ipod. Nice atmosphere too. There's a steady climb from around 2k to 5k, with a fast down-hill at 7k and a killer hill at the end. Despite the climbs, I managed a PB. Date of review: February 27, 2011
In short: Described as flat when it was anything but In full: I chose this race because I wanted a flat race. My Garmin said the total elevation was 377 metres, not flat. The hill at 5k was steep and challenging and from then on it was a steady uphill until the last k (where there was an amazing but shouldn't have been there on a FLAT race). Also described as being on trails in parkland, well for some of it, yes, definitely less than half though. Underpasses and road bridges are not trails or parkland. Water station at 5k was a girl sat on a cool box, no indication that she wasn't just one of the marshalls. Goody bag was several flyers for Movember and a snickers bar, not great if you have a peanut allergy. Hated this race to be frank, I chose a flat race because racing up hills makes my asthma flare up. I feel the organisers should have been honest, especially considering the price. Very poor show. Date of review: November 15, 2010
In short: Crowded, hilly and deeply frustrating In full: I was told by some people this was a hilly course and others said it's a gradual up-hill gradiant. It's hilly, without question.
Like all big races, it had its fair share of people in fancy dress and people who didn't realise it's a running race and take to walking from about half a mile. Some great support at places but there were points in the race when it's dead quiet and not a little dull. Start and finish very well organised but the whole thing was let down by the hour-plus wait to get on the Metro at South Shields. With this being one of the most famous races in the calendar, I am pleased I did it, but the hills and the queues mean I'm unlikely to do it again. Date of review: September 20, 2010