In short: Excellent for a first running In full: First things first- the 2013 edition is a brand new race and totally unconnected to the 2011 race- different organisers, different course.
Also- I am a local so have a vested interest in seeing a successful race in Cheltenham so I was very pleased it all went off so well!
For a first race, the organisation was absolutely superb. Actually I thought there were plenty of toilets! At the start, the only minor quibble was that the start 'pens' were too small so too many runners tried to crowd towards the front.
For ten miles, the course was excellent, going right through the centre of town, out on a loop and back across town, then up to the racecourse. There are a few ups and downs but no difficult climbs.
There were quite a few spectators throughout the course and good crowds in certain places- a good turnout considering the weather wasn't great for spectating.
Then, from 10 to 12.5 miles, we ran around the racecourse. I can see why this appealed for the route- 2.5 miles where no roads had to be closed, plus it must have seemed like a great idea to send the runners round the actual course (well, the path inside the course, we didn't have to jump any actual fences).
However, the racecourse is emphatically not flat, and very exposed, and with the wind blowing, there were two gruelling climbs into it. At just the moment in the race when you're tired and struggling, and with no support, it did feel very hard.
As other people have suggested, I would like to see the race run in the opposite direction so the racecourse section is at the beginning.
All in all though I really enjoyed the race and it was an excellent first effort for a true Cheltenham half. Date of review: September 19, 2013
In short: So much wasted potential... In full: Any new race is bound to have teething problems. Add this to the truly appalling weather on the day and some things are forgiveable. But the baggage pickup? Bordering the criminally negligent, as others have said.
No one could help the weather. As it happens I had a very good race with a massive PB and achieved my GFA target. A very flat course with just one hill (straight up, straight down again) has the potential for a very good time.
Unfortunately, the very narrow section from 14-16 on a narrow road- then a track- then a path- then cobbles- then a muddy stream (which must have been a path once) was unacceptable for a race of this size. I was very near the front- God knows what it was like in the middle of the field.
Given the wind and rain, the support from spectators was superb, particularly the truly uplifting 'wall of noise' in the centre of Altrincham. Well done too to the marshalls and the drinks stations, well stocked when I came through at least!
I can't ignore the baggage shambles. I won't describe it as others have done so very well already. My points would be these: - when I saw on friday that runner numbers had been allocated by expected finish time, I thought 'I hope they've got the baggage sorted out' - when I arrived on Sunday and saw the one small tent for baggage, I couldn't believe it. It was obviously not nearly big enough. - As I was on my own I had no choice but to leave my bag. They promised it would be sorted by the end of the race. - So- if I could see these issues at a glance, why did the organisers not see them? - Worst of all, mistakes can and do happen, but no one was available or prepared to take responsibility for sorting the situation out, which in my view is the most damning charge against the race organisers.
I will remember the race fondly for my PB, but it was badly spoilt on the day by the most disastrous situation I have ever encountered at a race. Date of review: April 30, 2012
In short: Fantastic organisation- but that's the best thing about it In full: First of all, like many others I must praise the great organisation and especially the army of volunteers who enable the race to take place. Many people don't realise just what hard work it is to put an event of this size on- so thank you to all those people.
Loved the t-shirt and the medal, but please ditch the pointless 'goody bag'- not worth having it!
The course- given Bristol's topography this is perhaps the only way of doing it. I, however, didn't like it. The long drag up the portway seemed to take forever, and there appear to be longer, harder inclines than there actually are. Also I didn't really like all the twists and turns through the city in the last few miles.
Not a good race for me, a bit too hot and windy, but you can't blame the organisers for that!
Lastly, this event is very expensive, and given the slightly flat atmosphere for a big city race, I wouldn't rush to do it again.
In short: great event- but never again! In full: Another beautiful evening race, great route, well organised (although I wasn't too sure about the start on a well-used road) and I did enjoy the beer and roll at the end!
As ever thanks to all those who volunteered to put the race on (and made the rolls).
I must remember though, I hate hills. And there are two biggies (for me at least) which I found extremely painful.
Also, price (at £14 unattached) is a bit steep- I have not done the race before but I think from previous comments it used to be a bit better value. Date of review: August 4, 2011
In short: Hugely enjoyable In full: Really enjoyed it last night- lovely run round quiet country lanes. Excellent organisation and great to see a smile on the face of everyone involved from organisers to marshalls to runners. What more could you want from a sunny Monday evening?
It was a bit windy in places, and there is one longish incline (not really a hill) but some nice downhill stretches as well. I managed a good PB and was still well down a pretty strong field! Date of review: May 24, 2011
In short: The hills, the hills... In full: My own fault I guess, but I seriously underestimated the steepness of the course, and consequently suffered quite a bit.
Organisation was faultless- I enjoyed parking so close to the start! Support was superb, people obviously enjoying their local race even in the furthest reaches of the course, which it goes without saying is beautiful, all off road amongst the trails and trees of the Forest.
Wouldn't do it again, call me a wuss if you like but I'll stick to flatter climes... Date of review: May 18, 2011
In short: massive PB In full: Really enjoyed my day, particularly knocking six minutes off my best and getting down under 1.35!
Organisation was good- I enjoyed the comedy messages before the start. Actually, the course itself is generally very flat, but with two inclines and one reasonably testing hill- although you do get a nice steep downhill immediately afterwards.
I rather liked my medal and it was a really nice touch to have it handed over with a handshake- made it worthwhile! Date of review: May 18, 2011
In short: Fantastic first marathon In full: My first marathon. I'd love to say I enjoyed every minute, but the last five miles were not funny (at the time).
Absolutely excellent organisation, I would like to give special thanks to the feed station at 11 and 20 miles, making so much noise it cheered me up no end, and the lady marshall with the ghetto blaster, but all the marshalls and helpers did a fantastic job. Thank you very much!
This race really is perfect for beginners, with very few inclines.
My only sad point is that I appear to have missed out on a t shirt in my exhaustion at the end... Date of review: October 17, 2010
In short: Tougher than expected! In full: The good- it is a beautiful setting and a great course, and I did enjoy the run (in the end, although I hadn't appreciated just how hilly it would be!)
Not so good- I know, it's my own fault, but I had not appreciated just how early I would need to get to the car park, especially given that I registered late and had to pick up my chip and number. Queue for the car park, 20 minute walk to the start, long queue to get my number, more long queues for the loos... I just made it to the start on time, but near the back, and with no 'filter' in place I struggled in the first two miles with some VERY slow runners blocking the road. Date of review: September 15, 2010
In short: fun and friendly In full: At the risk of repeating what everyone else has said, the organisation was superb- big thanks to all the marshals and volunteers, who were without fail helpful and friendly.
I managed a PB, but for me, the long, long uphill incline from 9.5 to 12 miles was less than ideal... Date of review: September 15, 2010