In short: the crowds make the difference In full: had to pick my number up the day before...it's Manchester and weather forecast was accurate...so XtraMile obviously decide to us the smallest tent as pickup and leave you queing in the rain for 30 minutes....obviously learnt very little from 2012's fiasco. However, the day after was excellent. Free on the tram, plenty of loo's, good buzz at the start and away with similar paced runners in my pen. Although the first 5/6 miles are fairly sparse in the support stakes, it's more than makes up for it for the rest of it. Lots of noise and encouragement from spectators and marshalls alike. Same again next year. Date of review: April 8, 2014
In short: cracking race to keep you good over Christmas In full: having missed it last year due to the weather, i last did this in 2010 when for the start you were walked out the back onto the road. Could have done with that this year as the start outside the clubhouse was very cramped and lots of people were edging between cars before passing through the start. That said, the rest of the run for me was really good. Great route and plenty of views. I had forgotten how undulating the course was, and felt the hill at mile 11....but the run down Tower lane after that was just what i needed. The finish was a little cramped though, with lots of people milling around rather than clearing the way. A reasonable goody bag and decent medal. i'll be looking to do it again next year. Date of review: January 29, 2014
In short: 'Great'er Manchester marathon...shame about the chip timing issues In full: Missed last year due to injury, but friends who did both said that as poorly organised as it was last year, it was as good this year. I have to say that i was fairly impressed with the Race village, plenty of space, loads of toilets, changing and bag drop\collection all good, and it was outside the home of gods own football team. First 3 miles of the course were fairly dull, out and around the fringe of the Quays industrial estate…but they served a purpose of stretching out the field and letting you settle your pace. From 6 and a bit onwards the crowds came into their own (apart from rural miles 20 to 21) the streets were lined solid….huge amounts of noise and encouragement couple of sections were deafening (Sale, Brooklands, Alty, the last quarter mile etc)….I felt the support was very similar to my experience in London! Good tech shirt to finish, and the biggest medal I’ve received for any run at the end…nice! The promise of the flattest UK marathon was true, and it was a definite PBfest!.....i knocked 46 mins of my previous best! And everyone else I knew also took minutes of their PB’s. However, the times I have used have come from my own watch and Runkeeper….because my chip time is completely wrong…..it states I finished 55 minutes earlier than I did. Obviously from some of the other feedback I have seen, there have been significant issues with the timings. Think it would have made more sense to put out a holding statement on the results and get them right before publishing so many incorrect ones. That won’t put me off applying for next year though!!
In short: nails In full: First timer on this type of event and I loved it. Never been so cold, filthy, tired and chuffed after a 'run'. An absolute challenge...hills, trails, mud, hills, water, hills, mud, slips, water, trips, mud, hills, cuts, bruises, cramp, water, mud, swearing, smiles, laughs and a sense of proper achievement at the end. Organisation was pretty spot on. The goody bag, tshirt and medal were cracking (as a ‘larger’ runner, this is the first tech T that fitted, they actually had XXL sizes!!!) Only a couple of suggestions to make…. I will echo some concerns at the 200\300 meter water crossing. Although I was happy to try and push on through, the number of people bunched and static meant it still took me nearly 20 minutes to get to the other side. Would have made sense to stagger people going in or offer a shorter alternative for those that struggled. Also, could do with an additional tent (near the baggage drop?) for changing after the run. Considering most parking was at least a 10 minute walk away I was starting to shut down….had to change in the mens porta-loo as I would have really struggled to make the car. Other than that a quite brilliant event. Now, I did say I loved it…..but enough to do it next year?....we’ll see.
In short: The first 2 miles are poor...but the other 11.1 are fantastic In full: This is a cracking run. Really well organised, good parking, chip timing, brilliant marshalling, pretty much "the works". That said, the first couple of miles let this event down a bit in my opinion. several hundred runners crammed on a pavement next to a busy A-road. Pavement just wide enough for 2 shoulder to shoulder, over a busy roundabout and then up a hill where the pavement narrowed even further. Caused a real bottleneck as the field hadn't had chance to thin properly (both half and quarter marathoners at the same time), and was forced to stop , walk, stop, run several times. From 2 miles on though, you're off down country lanes and into the sticks. This is where Congelton comes into it's own....although you would have to take my word for that, because due to the fog (which made perfect running conditions!) you couldn't see much further than the hedgeline for most of it. For those that have done Macclesfield, this is a far flatter course, apart from "the sting in the tail" at 12miles. getting your goody bag at the school at the end was really good, as all the t-shirts were boxed and they handed them out in the correct size....Macclesfield take note!!!!! I'll be back next year. Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: Tshirt malarky and parking let it down this year In full: Fell lucky with the weather, perfect for running. slightly cool, just a hint of rain every now and again, and the wind kept itself to itself. I love the course, challenging and never dull. Great marshalling and good support. Nice track start and finish. few issues though this year. Parking: they changed it this year. All Half marathoners were directed to the rugby club 1/4 of a mile away. Ridiculous, especially when you consider there was plenty of space available at the leisure centre and the school, and the fact that they don't operate a baggage drop facility. And considering how poor the weather had been of late, it could have lead to manchaster marathon-esque issues. PA System was poor. 1 loud hailer for a few hundred runners and supports? talking into the wind?...no wonder so many people were unable to hear the call for a minutes silence in respect for a local runner. Tshirt. why the chuff do all of the XL and L shirts get handed out to the early finishers? 6ft, 16.5 stone runner gets handed a medium shirt at the end, only to see the quicker whippet framed men and women walking around in their outsized finisher threads!!!!!! I finish the run and the only things i can take from the goody bag is a bottle of water, a banana and some bloody shower gel. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Date of review: October 1, 2012
In short: not a flat piece of road in sight! In full: Glorious views throughout the whole route. really warm and friendly support. excellent marshalling, encouraging and positive. and you star\finish at a brewery! result!. The hills are an absolute killer though. if you're not running up you're running down, no respite at all....but i suppose that's part of the challenge, ( would set that expecation when advertising for next year.). I ran Windermere marathon last year, and this was a heck of a lot harder. My only suggestions for organisation improvement would be the muster at the start, as it was 1/4 mile away, no one appeared to get people together in good time and people were still milling around the brewery a few minutes before the scheduled start. Also, you need to look into some road closures, from 23 to 25 it was pretty hairy with traffic (esp large trucks and fast bikes). Overall though, a cracking event. Well done to everyone involved. Date of review: June 25, 2012
In short: Hard work and pretty challenging. your either running up or down...only the track is flat In full: ...oh, and the Marshalls are excellent. Everyone of them friendly and positive. A credit to the event. The kids loved the 1mile fun run too. Date of review: September 26, 2011
In short: Awesomesauce! In full: amazing scenery, killer hills, fantastic organisation and atmosphere. As hard as it was and as sore as i am, i will definately run this again and would recommend it to anyone. Well done Team Brathay and utmost respect and admiration for the 10 in 10 guys and gals....utterly inspiring. Date of review: May 24, 2011
In short: room for improvement In full: First time at this event. Cronic traffic problems on way to stadium, had to hop out of the car and walk there. Massive queues for the toilets. Far, far too few of them and woefully under signposted. No pins available for race numbers! The race organisers offered me 2 of the metal pin badges with the metal fasteners....no thanks, ouch! i felt that the early part of the course had too much street furniture in the way. Perhaps better marking or stronger marshalling could have kept everyone within the course and we wouldn't have had to dance around groin and head height bollards and signs.
However, having moaned about all that, the track start and finish was good. The route is pretty flat and quick (new PB), and the Goody bag was ok (i didn't miss the medal, but could have done with a snack rather than jelly beans), and it's cheaper than the BUPA one.