In short: Great course, wonderful crowd support as usual and good organisation. In full: My first half marathon in nearly 3 years following radical surgery to Achilles and Peroneal tendons. I had meant to mark my return to half-running with my local Tun Wells half but was too ill to do it. In retrospect this was a much better race to re-start with. I've done it before and was awed then by the level of crowd support, which, as someone else said, rivals that of the big national events. Support was even better this time as the weather had brought more people onto the street.
It's a challenging course with a fair bit of uphill, mostly in the first 5 or 6 miles, but the town seems to breed liars after the 5 mile point who tell you at the top of each rise that this is "the last hill"! Don't trust them :-)
The bands, the orange segments, the jelly babies, the high-fiving, etc, all make the run go quickly...but then you're hit with that last 2.5 - 3 mile drag up the Esplanade as a real sting in the tail. It's virtually flat, but in the sun (as yesterday was) it's really energy-sapping and just goes on forever. And the best of the crowd support's now behind you. At least there wasn't the huge headwind that we had last time I did it.
Still, a fantastic race, without doubt the best half I've ever run, though not for me a good PB prospect. No goody bag but I'm not worried about things like that...I'll trade that for good organisation, a nice course and brilliant crowd support any day! Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: Nice route. Hilly but do-able. Organisation needs a bit of improvement. t In full: The 2008 event was my first ever race (well, since 5th Form cross-country in 1971!). This year my time was a bit slower due to it being my first race following almost 3 months off due to tendonitis.
Great atmosphere and a friendly bunch of runners (being home turf I knew a lot of them, so this may be biased). Good course...interesting route with plenty variation in scenery and contours. The main uphill bits being at the end isn't great, but I'd rather it that way round than run UP Tea Garden Lane at the 6 km point!
Much nicer running it just the once than running it 3 times on the trot as marathon training, which is what I was doing in Feb and March!
The start always seems to be a mess, with runners crowded between parked cars and not much in the way of announcement or countdown before the horn. Organisers should consider starting it on the lower cricket ground itself, rather than on the road.
Similarly, marshalls clearing the finish line at the end would be a good idea. It was horribly crowded at times and probably spoiled the finish for some people.
Marshallng en-route was good, and the number of inconsiderate motorists definitely lower than in 2008.
Will be back (I have to, the start's only 5 minutes walk from my house...but I'd do it again even if I lived much further away. Date of review: September 21, 2009
In short: Well-organised race with good support In full: My 3rd half-marathon, and I shaved 3 minutes off my Hastings time. Crowd support not *quite* in the Hastings class, but very nearly there. Thanks, Reading.
Course a bit boring in places but fast with plenty PB potential. And the finish in the stadium is just *so* uplifting. Your spirits soar as you come through the tunnel to face the crwod and that final half lap to the line. You can't help but put a spurt on!
Organisation was great. The pre-booking for the car parks worked well, queues for baggage and toilets were minimal at the times I needed them. The queue for the buses into town was a bit long, but kept moving.
Marshalling and helpers were very friendly and did their jobs well, and the medal and goody bag was excellent (I'm not bothered about a T-shirt personally...the nice salty crisps were more necessary yeaterday, IMO!).
A fantastic event. I'll be back in 2010 for sure. Date of review: March 30, 2009
In short: Lovely race. Suited me, sir! In full: Glorious weather, superb crowd support, good organisation and a challenging but potentially fast course combined to make this my most enjoyable race to date (except maybe The Grim).
The course suited me, with the hills out of the way in the first half leading to only my second "negatve spli" in a race. Knocked 5 minutes off my half-marathon PB!
The crowds were superb. Out in force (nice day effect?) and often well-placed near the brows of uphill secions, o give you just that "lift" at the time you most needed it.
Loved the availability of the orange segments en-route too.
Goody bag pretty-well non-existent, but that just wasn't relevant for me. A superb day outand I'll definitely be back next year. Date of review: March 15, 2009
In short: Excellent race. Well-organised and a great route. In full: My first half-marathon and in my home town too would have made this a special race for me whatever. Trying to be objective, the route was excellent...challenging and through a good mix of urban and rural areas, with some superb views in places.
Support locally was good. Not so strong in the town itself, but excellent through the villages. Marshalls were friendly, there in large numbers and did a great job. The rolling road closures worked superbly.
Start/ finish organisation was excellent, with a decent goody bag, an excellent t-shirt and a really nice medal...complete with on-site engraver to personalise it at the end. The results were posted page by page in the hall amazingly quickly. Mine was there within 6 minutes of me finishing.
Two minor niggles were the queues for bag-drop at the start and the toilet queues. A couple more people taking bags and 10 more toilets wouldn't have gone amiss.
Overall, though, a brilliant experience. Date of review: February 16, 2009
In short: Excellent event. Brilliant atmosphere. Great running weather In full: Well, the Sunday weather couldn't have been better...cold and frosty when I arrived but warming up as the sun gained elevation. Just right to avoid overheating. In fact I ended up running without my hat and gloves.
I agree that there could have been a staggered start for latecomers...the chip timing allows for that, but the half hour delay wasn't really *that* inconvenient.
I found it less intimidating than I'd thought it would be. A lot of the wading could be avoided if you wanted to. Some of the frozen ruts were potential ankle snappers, but anyone doing this race really should expect the water, mud and ruts: the literature hardly hides it!
I loved it. It made a real change from the road races I've done recently. The atmosphere was superb. They ought to have a go at sorting out the eccentric mile marker placements next year though...it's not rocket science these days!
I'll definitely be back. Date of review: December 7, 2008
In short: Good "local" race. Wouldn't travel miles for it. In full: Good organisation. The organisers worked well with the limitations imposed by the split site (toilets at the finish but not at the start, etc).
The hill on Palesgate Lane was good value: a nice challenge, but steep enough to spike most peoples' aspirations for a PB.
Good marshalling with plenty encouragement from them. Welcome tea and cakes at the end. Not worried about the absence of a goody back, but would willingly have paid a couple of £ more for chip timing.
I live locally so will almost certainly do it next year, but I probably wouldn't travel the 50 minutes each way that I did for Leatherhead a couple of weeks ago. It's good, but IMO not worth a long journey to attend. Date of review: November 30, 2008
In short: Great race. Great weather. Great cake! In full: Excellent race. The weather was just right and the hilly first section was nowhere near as bad as I'd thought it would be (maybe having done the Seven Sisters both ways last Sunday coloured my impression!). Organisation was good and the Marshalls friendly and encouraging. Could have done with a couple of portaloos for the men, as well as a couple more for the ladies.
And afterwards...that bread and butter pudding was just superb. Hit the spot perfectly! Date of review: November 9, 2008
In short: Good race for first-time 10-milers In full: I avoided the parking hassles by parking at gunwharf. Expensive but worth it, though it does mean a 20 minute walk on tired legs to get back to your car.
I thought the organisation was pretty good really. I had thought the "waves" idea wouldn't work seeing as how predicted times didn't seem to match wave positions very well, but I maintained my position amongst fellow "Orange B" runners until about mile 8 when those doing negative splits were overtaking me in droves...we were thinned out a bit by then and I don't think I got in anyone's way. I can appreciate that fast runners starting back in White B or C might have been frustrated though.
Considering the weather, a good number of residents had turned out to support us and gave people a real boost.
I'll do it again, for sure. Date of review: October 27, 2008
In short: My first ever competitive race and only second time over the distancee. In full: Hilly, certainly but last time I ran up Castle Road (near finish) I was on a British Military Fitness session and carrying someone on my back, so it didn't feel too bad! As a newbie, my assessments may not be accurate, but I felt it was well organised and friendly. There was one piece of poor marshalling where a car was allowed to push into the pack, but we boxed him in and made him crawl along for around 3/4 mile! I'll certainly do it next year. Date of review: September 23, 2008