In short: Good atmosphere, well-organised, very special event In full: Held on Clapham common over 2 laps of a course that was, by necessity, extremely winding to fit the whole distance in. This meant you were often doubling back on yourself but not to an extent that became irritating or depressing, though the constant turns might have an impact on PB potential for very quick runners.
The scenery is nice though not spectacular, and the support was good although mainly around the finish plus occasional cheers from random people wandering around the common.
The course is not fully closed and other runners, cyclists and dog walkers were on the route but politely got out of the way of event runners.
Organisation was generally good and the whole course was well marshalled, although the information I was sent in advance was a bit lacking in detail (and focused mostly around fundraising). Only one water stop (though you pass it twice) but frankly that's plenty for a 10k, even on a warm day. Unspectacular goody bag but (water, mars bar, cereal bar and a women's health magazine) a nice little medal.
Best thing about the event is probably the fact that everyone is supporting the same charity, and it's hard to forget the important cause that is being supported. All runners are given the details of a missing person to pin on their back, and many runners clearly had personal connections to the cause. This made it a particularly poignant event.
Nice run, would certainly do it again. Date of review: May 31, 2013
In short: Beautiful scenery, fun course, great crowd In full: I knew running in the Great Park would be good, but I hadn't anticipated quite how spectacular the course would be. It really helps with the mental aspect of a run if there's always something nice to look at.
The course is undeniably hilly, but it's not as tough as you'd expect, and there are as many downhill sections as there are uphills.
The organisation was generally good, although the first bit was extremely crowded, and I was forced to go well below my planned pace for a mile or so, and use up a lot of energy dodging round people. That's the case with any big run, though, so was no big surprise. The water stations were well-manned and run, but cups are a real nuisance and very hard to drink from while running, so bottles would have been a help, and it would also have been good to have had them on both sides of the road. Sports drinks would also have been good, but that's no massively big deal on a relatively short run on a cool day.
Medals were nice, although there was no 'goody bag' as such. I don't see that as a big problem, since the goody bags rarely contain anything worth having except a few freebies from the sponsors. A bottle of water and a mars bar was all we got and all I really needed.
All in all, a great run and definitely one I will do again next year. Date of review: October 8, 2012
In short: Well organised, interesting race in pleasent surroundings In full: My first half marathon, and it's got quite a clubby feel, with lots of runners from a few local athletics clubs. Despite that, it doesn't feel cliquey or unnatractive to outsiders. The timing seemed odd to me, with no chips meaning that timing must have all been done manually, and presumably there cannot have been any allowances made for people at the back of the pack who crossed the start line later. It's not a big deal, but I'd have liked more information about exactly how the timing is done. Aside from this, the race was very well organised with great marshalling, lots of help from Kent police, plenty of distance markers and well spaced drink and sponge stations. Also a fair bit of support from local residents who popped out of their houses to cheer us as we went past, which was nice.
The course is slightly hilly in places, so is unlikely to be the fastest 1/2 marathon you could do, but it's nothing too difficult.
All in all, a great first 1/2 Marathon and one I would gladly do again. Date of review: July 20, 2009
In short: Absolutely brilliant for beginners and experienced alike In full: This is the first running event I have ever done (school steeplechase aside) and it was certainly tough going, with numerous steep ascents, and narrow trails, not to mention the notorious pools of waist deep mud. However, the variety of terrain keeps it interesting, and the race is undeniably fun, which probably can't be said of other events of a similar length. Aside from that, the event was meticulously organised, and I really couldn't fault a single element of the organisation.