In short: Hilly race that can net you a PB if you train appropriately! In full: The second Basingstoke Half didn't disappoint. Cool and misty weather rather than last year's boiling hot conditions should have suited most runners, and gave it quite a different feel. I actually got a PB (1.20.20) and improved on last year's result by one placing. As my subject indicates, if you train by going up and down hills, or ramp up the treadmill gradient then you'll be ready for this race. Running alongside a Kenyan lady for most of the distance definitely helped propel me to a PB as well, but I couldn't keep hold of her coat tails towards the end! My only slight grumble is that although there were more water stations this year, there was a strange absence of an energy drink station. I resorted to carrying my own for pretty much the whole race and used a gel near the end, and that helped me out! Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: Excellent. There's more to Basingstoke that concrete and roundabouts! In full: The three key points about this new half marathon are firstly that it's very well organised, secondly the locals were very friendly and supportive, and thirdly it takes in some very attractive local country roads and villages. It's barely in Basingstoke at all but I'm not complaining!
On an abnormally hot day the three water stations weren't quite enough - a final one a couple of miles from the finish would have been beneficial, as would an energy drink or gell station half-way through. The official race t-shirt (£10 extra) is a nice quality technical item but all the interesting stuff is on the back, giving no indication from the front what it's related to. I'd happily pay an extra tenner or whatever to get a shirt and energy drink thrown in next time around, and perhaps a slightly more interesting "goodie bag". There could have been instructions on what to do with your unused space blanket as in 25 degree or warmer heat it wasn't required! I suspect most of them will go straight in the wheelybin, which is a shame.
Don't want to sound negative about this event, though - that was just constructive criticism as there's virtually nothing the organisers need to improve on next year. They've set themselves a tricky challenge for 2012! Date of review: October 3, 2011