In short: A tired race that needs a revamp In full: Pretty boring, but quick, course. Dull for 80% but good on the town Don Valley closing could be the best thing if the course is completely revamped to take in more of the city centre crowds.
In short: Very friendly enjoyable race In full: Super fun spring run, over a great distance which fits perfectly into the training plan for a spring marathon. Well organised and good course. The tech t shirt this year is even more reason to do it. Date of review: March 4, 2013
In short: Brutal brutal brutal In full: Hardest run I have ever done. I am not a slow runner (sub-3 marathon, 1:20 HM) but I ran this at 10 minute-mile pace to mile 18.5 (knocked out in edale) and was DELIGHTED by this '"slow" time. It was ridiculously tough-hilly, muddy and no area you could get a rhythm. At midday I was never running again. 9 hours later, I'm looking to sign up next year!
Organisation was amazing and the scenery was awesome (I'm biased as I'm local, but it was stunning). Good stuff. Date of review: October 7, 2012
In short: The highlight of my running year...again! In full: At first glance, the rough urban landscape of inner Stoke-on-Trent coupled with torturous uphill climbs scattered throughout the race, one could be forgiven for thinking this is a race you should give a miss to. However, to do so would mean you missing out on an absolute highlight of a runner's year.
The slick organisation, the excellent marshalling and above all the AMAZING support throughout the race make this a real "must do" event. By the time you have scaled Milton Road (at 11.5 miles) you will feel like a proper runner, however fast or slow you have got to that point. And the finish down past Sir Stan and into the Potteries cannot be beaten (even by London's famous sprint down the Mall).
I may have run more picturesque courses, and I may have finally broken the 3-hour marathon time this year, but yet again running the Potters 'Arf is my favourite run of the year.
In short: Enjoyable, but I didn't use the bag drop! In full: I really enjoyed the run in spite of the weather and a massive thanks to all those who turned out to support. That includes my wife who looked after my bag-from the other reviews, probably the best decision all day!
Scenery was quite good. Yes it is urban, but most of the London course is too. No complaints there. Dunham Massey was a lake, but not anyone's fault!
Not sure if the 3 hour pacemaker will have got people round in that time? I left that bunch at 24.5 and only just dipped under 3.
For a debut race, there were enough good points for me to consider it again. I did not leave my bag though so my experience has not been ruined by that Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Enjoyable race, well worth the entry fee In full: This was one race too far for me this year (debut marathon and 6 other halves) and even though I was disappointed with my 1h24, I don't want that to cloud my review of a very enjoyable and well organised race.
The course is varied, undulating (hillier than I remembered!) and suitably challenging to make for an interesting run. The final mile downhill into town is great and the support at the finish (and throughout Clumber Park) is good.
The goody bag was probably the best I've had all year and the Technical T-Shirt is a nice touch (it will get used, rather than being left in a drawer!).
I'll definitely be entering again next year and would recommend it to others. Date of review: November 2, 2011
In short: Nice flat course through suprising scenery In full: Thoroughly enjoyable race. COuld do with slightly more drinks stops and better marshalling (I got sent the wrong way!) but a great "flat" race with good PB potential. I smashed my PB by 3 mins down to 81 mins, so very happy. Date of review: September 19, 2011
In short: Undulating varied course which you can run quickly on In full: Both my wife and I managed to hit PBs today so this is definitely a course you can run quickly on if the legs are fired-up enough. That said, it is not an easy course, and the first 3 miles feel quite uphill. The scenery is varied and keeps your interest, and the organisation was reasonably good. More toilets (or at least better signage on arrival at the top of the market place to mark where the toilets that are there are!) would be better, but the race was away on time and well marshalled/organised throughout. A nice autumnal half marathon. Date of review: October 31, 2010
In short: Great race, well organised, but BRUTAL hills In full: Really well organised and friendly race, but be under no illusions about the hills! The whole course is either up or down; I didn't remember any flat bits at all!
Really well organised though and a good race to add to anybody's summer calendar. The 15k distance is unusual but a good mid-way challenge. Date of review: August 8, 2010