In short: Felt like a club run but good scenery In full: The run was nice enough and I ended up getting my second fastest time. However the lack of road closures meant it felt a little bit like a club run on a Sunday morning (albeit one that cost £20) with everyone having to dodge past shoppers, dog walkers and other actual club runners. Another gripe was the twisting and turning up narrow side streets, which was obviously factored in to make up the 13.1-mile course but it isn't much fun to run like that. The marshals were really good but when you run on roads that aren't at all closed you wonder just exactly what it is you're paying for. Date of review: October 20, 2014
In short: Lovely scenery and a great race In full: Loved it. Henley is a picturesque place and the route made the most of it. The hill was an absolute beast but it just made it all the better when I got over the line for a long overdue new pb. Well organised and the beautiful autumn weather certainly helped. Would recommend. Date of review: October 20, 2014
In short: Beautiful scenery and a great run if a little hot. In full: Loved this run, the scenery was magnificent and it was great to take part in a point to point for once, rather than the usual circuit or laps. The summer heat made it tricky - I'd love to do the same route in the winter but it'd probably be too dangerous because of flooding. Date of review: September 25, 2014
In short: Beautiful scenery for a fast Half In full: Enjoyed this one a lot. The Thames was in full splendour and the mixed marathon/half field didn't effect the quality of the running. Highly enjoyable. The only small nag was the lack of mile markers but as I had a GPS watch it didn't bother me personally. I may have struggled without it though. Great medal. Date of review: September 25, 2014
In short: Nice race but not as special as I expected In full: I haven't got a great deal to complain about here. It was well orgnaised, it was pleasant enough, I could maybe have got a pb if I'd trained harder. However the big talk-up from Runner's World made me think it was going to be out of this world and it wasn't quite that. Date of review: June 9, 2014
In short: Well-organised and good fun. In full: I didn't go for the VIP parking so can't comment on that. I thought it was extremely well-organised, especially as it was the first time this race has been run and because it ran alongside a full marathon. I didn't have an issue with the lack of pens - just line up near the front if you're fast and near the back if you're slow! The route wasn't especially scenic but, ladies and gents, that is what Milton Keynes looks like! The course was challenging but fast with a great pb potential. I only missed out on mine because the hot weather (and lack of shelter from the sun) slowed me down a bit. The heat was taken into account though, meaning there were plenty of drinks stops. Stadium finish was fun and - as I said - for a first-time event this was marvellously well organised. Date of review: June 9, 2014
In short: More races should be like this In full: Loved the scenery, loved the terrain, loved the tough but achievable challenge. I run a lot of road races and although the crowds are great etc etc at those events, I just loved being set free in the forest. I especially enjoyed it when it got a bit wet and muddy. This is what trail running is all about. It was hot but the trees helped shield from the sun and the start time was sensibly early. Also the marshals were very good. The only gripe I have is that the official time seems to be the race time rather than the chip time. I started at the back and my watch had me running two minutes quicker than what it said on the website. Usually events have both a 'race time' and a 'chip time' but not here. Has anyone else noticed this? If you aren't going to publish chip times then why have chips? Date of review: June 9, 2014
In short: Great homecoming, very fast race, but was it 13.1 miles? In full: Have been looking forward to this for a long time. As an experienced half marathon runner originally from Bristol I couldn't wait to ply my 'trade' in my hometown. The plan was a pb as the course is flat and the weather turned out to be good for running. I can't really complain about anything with the organisation and the course (perhaps the hefty price was the reason the race didn't sell out). My only gripe - and this may be down to my technology - was that according to my Garmin I ran 13.27 miles. I missed my pb by 58 seconds but as I got to 13.1 on my Garmin I had nailed my best ever time. Throughout the race up to around 9 miles my Garmin was roughly tallying with the race mile markers, but for some reason when I got to 10 it was way out and it took me a couple more minutes to get to the 10 marker. I subsequently felt a little flat when I crossed the line, having believed for most of the race I was at long last going to get my pb. As I said it may just be me and my inferior technology (plus some inevitable weaving on the road) but it'd be interesting to see if anyone else using GPS experienced the same issues. Date of review: September 17, 2013
In short: Quite challenging and very scenic In full: This was a tough course, especially in the hot weather (although considering some of the scorching temperatures this year we were lucky really) but I'm surprised some people on here found the elevation surprising. Firstly on Runner's World it was described as 'undulating' rather than 'flat' (always a good clue that it won't be a pb course). Secondly on the race website there is a detailed course map with the total elevation marked in the bottom left so the hills weren't a surprise for anyone who had looked at the course (I've been caught out too many times by not looking in the past!).
I do agree with some of the other comments here. There was a bit of confusion at the water stations. I was handed an empty cup at the first one and because I didn't want to stop I went without until six miles when I was pretty parched in the heat.
I too thought it may incorporate the castle at least a bit (seeing as it's called the Kimbolton 'Castle' half marathon) but the scenery was beautiful none-the same. If you want crowds throughout the route you need to run in cities - it's really one or the other with these events. Huge supportive crowds in built up areas or quiet beauty in the countryside.
The toilet situation was a bit annoying but to be fair most new events get this wrong in the first year. We all need to go in the half hour before the race so make sure there are enough loos.
I thought the threat of disqualification for littering was a bit silly. Most runners are decent people who care about their surroundings. We don't need to be threatened to do the decent thing. But it would have helped if the bins were indeed a bit further along to enable us to drink some water first.
One further gripe - and this is maybe just a personal thing - but there was no date on the medal or the ribbon. It's nice to remember when the race took place.
All in all though an enjoyable day out. The challenging nature of the course and the weather made it all the more satisfactory when I completed it. And the marshals, announcer etc were all helpful. We knew beforehand that the roads were not going to be closed so I think runners have to take it upon themselves to be vigilant. Also, great value for money and decent parking, which is far from guaranteed these days. Good luck next year. Date of review: August 19, 2013
In short: Surprisingly pretty and well organised In full: Really enjoyed this race. Despite being in a largish city there was plenty of parking, no extreme queues at the toilets, and easy to understand directions. The weather was glorious which helped make the views and the scenery look really pretty and the terrain was challenging but didn't impede anyone who had trained hard and was looking for a good time. The only slight gripe I had was I wore off-road trainers as the pre-race notes suggested it would be a mud bath and there would be lots of off-road running. In fact the vast majority was on concrete and the off-road bits would have easily been dealt with in my normal trainers. However this was a small issue that (only) I had so no real complaints. Date of review: February 21, 2013