In short: Lovely location, shame about the organisation In full: What should have been a great race was totally spoiled by the fiasco which was the lack of portaloos.
Brighton has the potential to be a really great marathon. Great location, I really liked the course (despite the switch backs) and the crowd support was just amazing. However, it was completely let down by the organisation on the day.
I did not find the number pick up too difficult, but I got there early on Saturday morning and the queue wasn't too bad at all. The kit bag was ridiculous - I'd already seen a lot of comments from people on social media about this but honestly, nothing prepared me for how small the bag actually was. I only put a jumper and some leggings in it but it split and needed taping up on the day of the race. As did most other peoples.
On race day, I got to Preston Park by 8.30am. Got straight in the queue for the portaloos. Still had my bag at this point. Surely 30 minutes would be enough to get through the loo queue? By 8.55, the queue had hardly moved and a lovely lady held my place while I dropped the bag off. There is nothing more irritating than being in the toilet queue when the race starts, and then your corral goes. At 9.30, I finally got to the front of the queue. Raced to the blue start (which clearly had already gone) and ended up amongst the yellow start in the mud. To be fair, the organisers couldn't do much about the downpours of the previous day, but they could have put matting down. To add insult to injury, the chap on the tannoy at the start was going on about how the organisation had been superb. There were still hundreds of people in the the toilet queue 20 minutes after the race had started!!
All of this meant I was amongst much slower runners, had to weave around them and the early miles were too slow. I missed my sub 4hr goal by 23 seconds. If I had been in the blue corral at the start I am pretty sure I would have got it. To be in the toilet queue for 55 minutes was totally unacceptable. They need to have more toilets and marshalls to sort the queues out, and to stop non-runners from using them.
Once I actually got across the start line, I thought the course was really good. Hillier than I had expected but it was gorgeous by the sea. Power station section was hard (and a bit smelly) but there is always one bit of every course which is less interesting. The crowd support and volunteers on the water/gel stations were fantastic. Would have preferred bottles to cups as I have to walk to drink out of cups but I know that there is less risk of breaking your ankle on a cup. The finishing straight was really great, loads of support. I liked the medal and t-shirt but why the tiny bottles of water? Especially as the small bags meant you couldn’t fit a drink in them. A banana would have been nice. And then for some reason we were funnelled into a really narrow section to get out (that was before the village)at a point when you need to keep moving. They need to sort that out. We ended up walking across the beach as we could not get out at all through the village, it was sheer gridlock.
They have however got the app right – it actually works (take note Manchester and London) and that was really helpful for my husband who was tracking several people.
Would I do it again. Possibly, but I would definitely pay for the VIP tent to avoid the toilet situation again.
In short: Fast, flat 10k In full: This is the first time I've done this race and I will definitely be back. A PB for me and it was a lovely mainly flat course, well marshalled. Fantastic medal at the end and the mars bar as well as the banana was very welcome. My only gripe was the slight incline in the woods at the end which meant I slightly lost my momentum towards the finish. Will know for next year though. Date of review: October 7, 2013
In short: Very well organised, very hot day for the end of September In full: My first 10k race and I was very nervous having found out about the hill after I registered to run. The hill is tough (it starts at around 3.5k and finishes at 5k), but I did run the entire course. It was very hot but the atmosphere at the start/finish was great and the water and banana very welcome. Wasn't expecting the medal so that was an added bonus. Would definitely do again. Date of review: September 27, 2009