In short: Good flat course but very poorly organised start. In full: This race, on a flat and fast course which should have been good for PBs, had high potential but was let down by a badly organised start.
There was an elite pen at the start but it would appear that unless you stated that you were going to do under 40mins (a feat which only 161 of the 4,207 entrants actually achieved!) you would not get one of the yellow number bibs necessary to get in! The rest of us had to fight to get into the very over-crowed start area. This was subdivided by boards stating â€˜Under 50minsâ€™, â€˜60minsâ€™ etc. However there were clearly people severely kidding themselves and standing too near the front. As a result I, and many others, had to spend the first mile running round fancy dress clad fun runners and fat ladies in lycra before finally being able to settle into race pace.
Organisers please next time why not have a number of pens and associated bib colours related to anticipated finish time and allocate runners accordingly, as they do at some of the major marathons. This would help the flow of runners at the start and help them to achieve their true potential. Fortunately as it was I still managed a 41min 44sec run but had it not been for the start I could have done so much better.
The start aside the course was fast and the support from the crowds good. The finish was well-organised, the medal very nice, but the goody bag disappointing.
In short: A challenging course but a well-organised and fun event. In full: A well-organised and enjoyable event. The course was challenging - a couple of tough hills - but despite them still managed a PB! The pre and post race administration was very good. Also a nice technical T shirt and a goody bag at the end. I will be back! Date of review: March 8, 2010
In short: A good fun and varied full marathon In full: My first full marathon and managed to do it in under 3hrs 30mins. First half was crowded with full and half marathoners running together. Was a little demoralising to pass the finish at 13 miles and have to run out and back again, but second half very flat. Lots of water stops with Lucozade and gels. Agree with someone above that a couple of the mile markers seemed out but all in all a fun event. Date of review: September 14, 2009
In short: Good PB course but the weather was a challenge! In full: A good, pretty flat, course which, had it not been for the very hot weather, might have allowed me to get a PB!!
I agree with previous comments that the start needs some improvement. The road was narrow and made even narrower by some parked cars.
The waterstops were plentiful but the first one could have been sooner, bottles would have been more use considering the weather and despite being advertised on the pre-race information there were no sponges.
Not withstanding the above I will be back again! Date of review: August 10, 2009
In short: A well-organised event that, whilst not easy, was also good fun. In full: A very scenic course that was not without its challenges - some hills and undulations throughout. However, the friendly atmosphere and good organisation made it a pleasure to compete. I will be back next year. Date of review: October 27, 2008