In short: Fantastic value - can't fault it In full: This is an ideal marathon build-up, and the past couple of years have seen glorious spring mornings and high spirits. Not so this year, as the the bitter big freeze brought temperatures down and a chill to the bones.
It didn’t bring spirits down however, and it was only this year that I fully appreciated just how many kind organisers and volunteers gave up their Sunday to stand in the freezing cold to marshal and give out refreshments – always smiling and always encouraging.
Let’s remind ourselves – this race costs £12. That’s TWELVE QUID. You get 21 pretty challenging miles for that (or 15 if you prefer), great organisation, and a really nice friendly atmosphere. Unmissable.
In short: Tough - but muddy good fun In full: I found this a really tough and enjoyable half - I soon realised that the limit of my ambitions was to complete it in one piece!
The majority of the course is off road, and with the wet weather it made for slippery going. The parts that are on the road are mostly uphill (or so it seemed!), and gives the legs a fantastic workout as a result.
A couple of tweaks to improve for next year would be not having to walk so far to the start of the race, and slightly better marking in places.
But neither of these detracted from the overall enjoyment and it's clear that the organisers really put a lot of enthusiasm and passion into organising this - they also sent lots of communication in the build up which was a nice touch and so a big thank you to them. Date of review: May 6, 2012
In short: Ok - I'm writing this after 4 pints of Guinness - but I'll be back next year! In full: I approached this race with a fair bit of trepidation, being a bit off my best, and with it being a pretty hilly effort. But I enjoyed it! The scenery is spectacular, the banter is good, and the course is very challenging.
Only the very hardest will run all the way - for most mortals, from the halfway point, inclines are treated with disdain and a walk - declines are reluctantly shuffled. By the end, parts of me hurt that I didn't know existed.
It was really good. Lovely, friendly, attractive marshals. Thank you guys! And well signposted and organised. I can't imagine doing this run in the rain - it'd be mind-bendingly horrific. But on a gorgeous sunny autumn day, it's the kind of day when all is right with the world. Lovely t-shirt and medal too, a great memento. I didn't stay for the breakfast, but I am sure it was pretty damn good.
Just follow my example and book the Monday off work, so you can slip into a Guinness-fuelled stupor by evening. Date of review: October 23, 2011
In short: Great day at the seaside In full: I've only got London to compare this with, but I found this to be not far behind in most respects.
The atmosphere was excellent, and for supporters it's a far easier marathon to navigate.
I didn't experience any of the organisational problems; only queued for a couple of minutes for the loo at the start. Slightly crowded course for the first couple of miles but nothing unusual.
The power station area around 20 - 23 was pretty soul-destroying BUT knowing that it was the final mental hurdle before the finale along the seafront made it bearable. And look - it's a marathon, it's not meant to be easy.
Overall a great day, well organised and no complaints. Date of review: April 11, 2011
In short: Enjoyable race, well organised, excellent value. In full: A pleasant race, with some nice scenery. I was a bit surprised to see it described elsewhere as "fairly flat", although it's never exactly hilly, it certainly rarely stays level! Marshalls all very jolly and a nice crowd at the end cheering runners through. Date of review: March 20, 2011
In short: Typical Portsmouth weather made it a real challenge! In full: The wind and rain made this race a real challenge, but also added to the atmosphere as runners looked at each other with "what on earth are we doing??" expressions.
The multi-terrain element made it a lot of fun, and combined with the weather I'm surprised that anyone would get near a PB, but I didn't have any expectations of that.
I found it to be well organised, decent medal and reasonable goodie bag, and a very fair price. I'd love to try it again on a sunnier day when the scenery might appear to better advantage!
No real gripes - it was a tough run and something different from the half-marathons I've done previously, and although the field seemed to be mostly experienced runners, there was certainly a smattering of fun runners too and the overall atmosphere was one of good cameraderie. Date of review: February 13, 2011