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.