In short: A great event - highly recommended! In full: Second attempt and beat last years time by 17 seconds! Had hoped to do a bit better this year due to knowing the course. I intended to keep a steady pace all the way round - felt really good up to 17/18 miles and thought I had cracked it and then found the last 7 or 8 miles a real struggle (as I did last year!). Despite this I really enjoyed the event and thought the organisation was superb. Date of review: May 22, 2010
In short: Very well organised and great location - this marathon has it all! In full: I may have a slightly different view on this event because I stayed at Brathay Hall the night before the race (having driven up from West Sussex early on the Saturday - traffic free almost all the way - set a pb of just under 5 hours!). Therefore being on location I didn't encounter any of the parking problems that others have mentioned. I took the opportunity on the Saturday morning to drive around the course and stopped to cheer on some of the 10 in 10 runners who were out completing their ninth marathon. The atmosphere at Brathay Hall was clearly building as competitors turned up to register and the final preparations were being put in place for race day.
It was nice being able to roll out of bed and already be on the start line on the Sunday morning, and there was a real buzz around the place. It was a nice touch to applaud the 10 in 10 runners in front of the Hall as they made their way to the start line an hour before the main race.
Being led to the start line for the main race by the drumming band added to the sense of occasion. The route was extremely well marshalled and support along the way was fantastic although sporadic in places but that is only to be expected on the route (rural first half/main road second half). Drinks stations were well situated and the 200 yard or so advance warning that they were coming up was was useful. There was only one station where they had run out of sports drink which was the second to last one (mile 19?) - admittedly I was towards the back of the pack but then even more important to have it available if you are on the course for 4 hours plus. Even as a more moderately paced runner I don't like to stop, so personally I would like to see the sports drink available in bottles as most of it just gets spilt when it's in cups and you can't run with it - my strategy would then be to alternate between picking up water at one station and sports drinks at the next - maybe an option is to provide sports drinks in bottles at every other station? (By the way, I am pleased that the original plan of water in cups was changed).
I personally found the traffic courteous on the second half of the course and had no issues with it - however, there was a slight problem in Bowness where the route was blocked by pedestrians despite the marshal shouting his loudest to ask them to keep to the left - I think they must have thought the cones and tape were for their benefit!
There was good support in the final approach to Ambleside and Clappersgate (some from runners already in their cars returning home - I know this because they were proudly displaying their medal!).
I wasn't quite quick enough to beat the rain, achieve a pb or get a medal on the day(!) but that doesn't change the fact that this was a brilliant event and one I would definitely recommend. An e-mail the following day from Scott apologised for the medal fiasco and said that one will be sent out as soon as they are available. I would add that I didn't run the race to get a medal but it is a nice memento and if nothing else is a nice talking point when showing friends, colleagues or maybe those who have sponsored you if raising money.
With regards the entrance fee, it may seem expensive but as someone who doesn't have the outlay of fees from racing too regularly and who loves the Lake District it was a price worth paying. The London Marathon is a similar price and I know which one I would rather do. Also, as the event is organised to raise money for the charity they do need to cover their costs.
When trying to decide if I was going to enter this race one of my main concerns was how hilly it was. Luckily I have some mapping software so was able to create a profile of the course which helped to ease some of the concerns I may have had - it would have been nice to have had this available on the website. It is an undulating course with a couple of steeper hills but it is a road race not a fell race and therefore with the right approach and training is definitely achievable - and you can't beat the location! Date of review: May 28, 2009