In short: Great race as always but issues at start and finish In full: This was the ninth time I've run in this race and it's always been run like clockwork but something wasn't quite right this year.
I grew up in Helsby so I despite travelling from Manchester I know the good places to park, meaning I didn't need the bag store which, judging by the queue backing up to the main road as I left, was a godsend.
The start area needs sorting out; people were trying to join from amongst the parked cars at the side which was really dangerous, Asics tape 10 inches off the ground isn't enough to keep people in line. If someone had tripped there would have been an almighty pile-up.
The race itself was the usual glorious experience with enthusiastic and helpful marshals, efficient water stations and great encouragement from spectators.
The finish area was a bit chaotic due to the number of runners milling around despite being told to keep moving.
Overall this race still offers great value for money I was again impressed by the medal and goody bag.
I finished in 1:39 which is my slowest HM since the same race in 2006! I'll perhaps do some training next year. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: Pricey but probably worth it In full: I last ran this race on the 'old' course in 2004. The new route is not as scenic but at the end of the day it's a race not a stroll so I'm pleased with the new route as it's flatter.
Organisation was generally excellent and I thought the water pouches were a nice idea though a few people were a bit too heavy handed and ended up soaking fellow runners!
The only issues I had were runners repeatedly cutting corners which should have been taped off. Also I'm pretty sure that the end of the out-and-back section by the river between 12 and 13 miles was taped incorrectly
For £30 the goody bag was less than generous and should really have included a t-shirt. Medals were nice though. Date of review: October 1, 2012
In short: A good attempt at a first time race In full: Good to see someone make use of the paths through Kingsway, they're ideal for racing. The amtmosphere was great and it was clear that there were lots of first-timers there which is good to see. The hills were killers!
Couple of gripes. Insufficient marshalling/signage has been covered but the medal tent should be further away from the finish line and the out-and-back setions needed organising more closely. Date of review: September 24, 2012
In short: As flat as you're ever going to get In full: Second time running this race and despite it being such a warm day I thoroughly enjoyed it and ran a surprsingly good time. Apart from being pancake-flat (or as close as a half-marathon is ever going to get to it in the UK) they had BOTTLED WATER at the water stations! Other organisers take note, runners can't drink from paper cups! Organistaion of the car parks was excellent and toilet queues were not too bad. Only minor gripe was the start and the rather obscure starting pen signs. This needs to be policed more effectively as such a narrow start can be rendered lethal by selfish, thoughtless people starting too close to the front. Sure enough, one poor guy took a tumble leading to a nasty gash on his head. Hope he was OK. Date of review: September 12, 2012
In short: Watch out for The Orme! In full: Apart from The Orme the route is almost completely flat but I still don't see how anyone can set a PB here! This is a great race but there's a few minor problems; there's nowhere near enough toilets for the amount of runners, the first couple of miles is too narrow and the sand in the last couple of miles is a nightmare for tired legs. I'm sure there was no sand in 2010. I'll be back for my 3rd go in 2012 though! Date of review: March 9, 2012
In short: Flawless as always In full: Maybe I'm biased because I grew up in Helsby but this was my fifth time doing this race and once again it was a lesson in race organisation. The perfect weather helped, of course. Date of review: January 18, 2010
In short: Always a winner In full: It was my fifth running of this race and they even managed to drain the flooded roads this year. Rain stopped for almost exactly the duration of the race and as ever, the organisation was flawless. Date of review: December 7, 2009
In short: Well organised once you got there In full: A very well organised race, loads of parking, excellent goody bag and plenty of signage and support around the course. Only thing missing was directions to the parking. The guys manning the roadblocks didn't seem to have a clue and there was nothing in the race pack. Apart from that, I'll be back next year. Oh and I went sub-40 for the first time. Date of review: October 4, 2009
In short: Unbelievably well-organised In full: Given the amount of people involved I am amazed at how smoothly everything went on the day. The streets in some parts seemed narrower than I remembered from 2003 which led to me having to dodge a lot of people struggling in places (I somehow managed a negative split).
I also returned home carrying my body weight in free stuff!
Oh, and it was hot, hot, hot!! I'm blaming the heat for my missing my target of 3:30 by 3 minutes. How can the forecasters get it so wrong from only a few hours out? It was supposed to be 16deg and overcast. Date of review: April 27, 2009
In short: Superbly well-organised. In full: Flawless apart from the lack of signage at the end to direct finishers back to the Rugby Club. New PB for me but missed out on a 90-minute finish by 37 seconds Date of review: March 29, 2009