In short: One of my favourites but getting too big for the venue In full: I have ran PW for many years and have seen it grow to the present level in this time. Sadly the race start facilities are not up to handling this many people. The queue for the loos was simply unacceptable - more loos need to be provided for a race of this size. I was pleased to see they had a marshall directing runners to the nearest empty loo (this works so well as Tunbridge Wells) but this was not enough. I knew of fellow club runners who had to give up trying to use the loo before the start.
The baggage drop-off was well managed by the volunteers but, again, far too long a queue to get to.
Parking for PW is OK but you have to either work out a route to get out after or be prepared to hang around for the duration!
The reason above mean you arrive an hour or so early and can just about fit in parking, loo, bag-drop in this time but then the next challenge. How do you get to the start-pen for your anticipated time. This is a massive problem and the only option was to try to get through the spectators then to climb over the barrier.
It is difficult, the race is so good that more want to run it but something needs to be done to accommodate such a large number of racers.
As for the race itself I love this one! The fast, flat lanes are perfect. Some don't like the fact it goes on for miles without much contact but I enjoy the countryside and the scenery where you can see for miles! Weather was perfect.
Thanks PW - see you next year but I will have to set my alarm to get to the venue a lot earlier than the usual hour unless you want to take part int he crush. One last thing - clocks went back the day of the race so why was it 9.30am! 10.00am would have helped deal with the shock of the loss of the hour! Date of review: March 31, 2014
In short: Tunbridge Wells Half gets better and better In full: Brilliant race - absolutely love this one even with Spring Hill. Changes this year were good (more loos!). Otherwise it runs like clockwork with good marshalling, great support on the course and plenty of closed roads. Some nice points around the course such as Penshurst, Fordcombe, Langton, Rusthall (well the edge of it) and next to the Spa where you get some great support.
Only change I would make would be to change the course slightly - how about a run through Rusthall or through the centre of Tunbridge Wells - would be great but, I guess, too disruptive. Then again we start at 9am now so who knows!
See you next year - fantastic stuff. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: The highlight of the year for me In full: What a fantastic race yet again put on by Albert and the team. Very, very hot but this just added to the village like atmosphere at the end when you can lie in a hay field with a pint of Harveys listening to the band while you recover. You need your strength back in order to cart off the loaded goody bag!
Extra loos this year (nice to see) and a piper who led the entrants down to the start line plus was there to greet us at the Rosemary Lane section.
This is how you put on not just a race but an event for the whole family - fantastic. Date of review: July 7, 2013
In short: Great value race - a few extra touched would make it even better In full: Really like this one although the quiet country lanes with few spectators are not for all. Personally this is one of my favourites and back most years when I can. Superb value too.
Improvements that would be nice to see include extra marshalls for the loos like you see at Tunbridge Wells! There were two separate queues at one point and a few people getting a bit irate!
Otherwise bottled water would be good and worth adding a pound or two to the already low entry fee to cover.
Biggest improvement though is for the traffic - how the hell do you get out of Paddock Wood after the race?! Best to bring a picnic or go shopping for an hour or two rather than sit in the traffic jam!
Otherwise great stuff, see you next year. Date of review: April 14, 2013
In short: I like this one but more needs to be done to make this an 'event' In full: Race itself is fine - would rather not have the lap of the field first (extend elsewhere) but things like just 7 x loos for 700 or so runners smacks of using this for club revenue generator. This is also shown in the finish with the worst medal you could hope for (I would rather nothing - save the medals for the big races and give us a cheaper entry) and half a banana. Come on for £16/18 and 95% of the race on a prom where is the money going? At least provide some more loos perhaps...
Nice and flat route with a good view out to sea to occupy your mind while you plod on through the 4 x mile straight route along the prom (and back again). Marshalls were all great and you always have the chance to post a fast time here (depending on the wind direction!). I will be back but hope to see some improvements next year. Date of review: March 30, 2013
In short: Brilliant race with some of the best organisation out there In full: Fantastic event - have done this race several times but always look forward to it and 2013 was no exception.
Special note to the marshalls who were brilliant throughout - especially those managing the huge queues for the loos. Great system used to ensure runners progress through quickly!
There is just the one change that I would make to this race - water in bottles please. The cups are so hard to drink from - perhaps introduce just 2 x drink stations with bottles? The other downside with cups this year was the bitter cold - spill it on your hands and I froze! Wow, that was cold yesterday.
Well done again TW - see you next year. Date of review: February 25, 2013
In short: Fantastic race that spans countries! In full: Really enjoyed this one. Chester is a great place to visit anyway and having the race so near the city centre made the whole thing even better for runners. It is clear the race has been put together by runners as they have thought of everything to make this a special race.
Only changes I would ask for are the standard more loos please - the queue was really long! and not so keen on the grass track but not sure how they could fix this as it starts and finishes on Chester racecourse!
Much more bumpy than I expected - sure they were not big hills but there were lots of them and 2 or 3 at the end which made it extra hard! The cobble stones were fun too! Good support from the villages which you found every 5-miles or so with a couple of 2m straights which meant you could see way off in to the distance! Water, gels, isotonic drink stops were frequent and very well managed - think London Marathon and you get the idea. Please change the Sainsbury's orange though - it is so sweet you hate the sight of it by the end! Names on vests meant you got lots of support too.
Great finish with handshakes and a nice welcome from the finish team.
I am sure I will be back for this one (travelled 200m or so for this) so thanks again Chester - great stuff. Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: Well done to all for a superbly organised half marathon In full: First time for this race and first impressions from West Kent College race HQ were superb. A great location with warm, indoor, areas for changing, warm-up, drinks etc., and very friendly and efficient bag storage - special praise to the lady who looked at race numbers on your vest and directed you left or right to the drop-off area!
This also has to be the first race I have ever been to that had too many loos - no queues! It threw my pre-race build up - felt I had to form a line somewhere for that authentic build-up!!
Course was quite a challenge with lots of hills but all fairly tame - my Garmin registered it as more a series of bumps than hills! Weather turned out OK for a race in the end but felt for the supporters and marshalls who were all brilliant.
Someone else mentioned the markers - I also noticed the half way point was far too early and the last mile seemed a bit long. I registered 13.22m for the course.
Great to see Kaddy Lee Preston and Dame Kelly who was, as always, fantastic and stood in the rain for ages putting medals over the heads of so many very wet (sweaty!) runners!
In summary, superb location, organisation, facilities, marshalls... I could go on. Brilliant. Date of review: September 24, 2012
In short: The best 10k in my race diary! In full: Absolutely love this race. The organisers put on a great even with the centre of Battle closed off to cars for the start which sees a fair amount of the local residents come out to cheer you on. Superb stuff and well worth looking out for this race next year.
The course has a fast downhill for the first third then up you go before a gently downhill to the finish where you find a huge number of supporters and a band to welcome you home.
In terms of improvements I would suggest posting the results as they come in rather than to wait until the last runner is back. Otherwise perfect!
See you next year - thanks Battle. Date of review: September 2, 2012
In short: The best organised race there is! In full: OK, I may be a Wadhurst Runner but I ran the event and therefore qualified to review! For me this event is the best there is - the attention to detail is simply stunning with so many plus points for both the runner and friends/family it is hard to detail them all.
Special mention though to Albert for the hard work that goes in to this event, the girls (girl guides?) who ran the 5m water/lucozade station (with great encouragement given to the runners) and the beer at the end!
The course was trick today with some mud around and a tough call in terms of road/trail shoes. I went with road but wish I hadn't! Otherwise everything lick clockwork - perhaps too many drink stations as I felt guilty wasting so much and 2 x sponge stations too - was looking out for the on-course massage but no trace!
The finish is great with a brass band, cakes, beer (new for 2012 and very nice) and a goody bag that is well thought out. Plus more drinks/bananas should you need them.
I encourage anyone interested in this type of race/distance to come along next year. You will not be disappointed. Thanks again everyone. Date of review: July 1, 2012