In short: A bit on the average side of average. In full: These ratings are all very subjective, each entitled to their own opinion and those can be effected by their own expectations, previous experiences and many other factors, not just the race or organisation. I took a few days to consider how i felt about this event and ny comments reflect my own personal opinion, some will agree others not. This was my 5th different marathon and the support from the crowds was the best i have experienced but I fell slightly jaded and let down by the event organisation which for the size and profile of the event should have been a lot better. The course is supporter friendly with runners passing through the same point several times making life easy for runners to be seen at different places all along the route. I wasn't too concerned about water in cups, there was plenty about and preparing for the heat I had also carried a small bottle to fill up along the way. I found the use of headphones, people stopping in the middle of the road to take selfies, camera sticks and the gatorade to be far more objectionable. The Expo was a bit of a farce, had no choice but to travel down the day before to pick up numbers and pay extortionate hotel prices, it would have been good if the expo had at least something to offer and pass the time in. Toilet facilities at the start were poor and the people handling baggage didnt really have much of a clue - leaving runners to drop their own bags behind the railing rather than taking them off and actually checking numbers to runners. Slight bottlenecks at a few points around the course - not helped by those selfie takers with no thought for others. Nothing really remarkable along the route, quite enjoyed the road to hell as it marked the 10k to home point, although having the commentary on the screen saying that it was only 3 miles to the finish might have confused some runners at the start of the road. The finish itself was a bit of an anticlimax, we shouldn't expect great rewards but given the entry fee I feel that the orgainisers could have done better than the poor quality T-Shirt ( even the volunteers thought they were bad and slightly embarrased to be handing them out ) a banana, chocolate biscuit a bottle of gluggy gatorade and standard quality medal. The baggage at the finish was not great, some bags left on the lorry others on the floor, not in any particular order and volunteers not able to locate easily. Then the long walk to the meeting point followed by every marathon runners nightmare steps, hundreds of them, back up to the sea road searching for somewhere to sit down and have a drink. I guess that there was an Aladins cave of wonder in the tent at the end of the exit walkway, unfortunately it didn't seem that easy to get into. At least there wasn't an old lady driving her car towards the runners. Date of review: April 15, 2015
In short: A run with more bonuses than Goldman Sachs In full: Bonus hill for 2015 and the rare bonus of being able to cross the River Mole stepping stones. Great organisation, wonderful marshals, fantastic atmosphere from fellow runners and supporters along the course. Slicing my finger off earlier in the week numbed the pain of all the ascents and also helped me to get into character, all those in fancy dress really brightened up an overcast morning especially the team of red arrows. Hope to start 2016 in the company of all you nutters!
In short: Better than anticpated event In full: Reasonably good organisation, nothing special but they managed to cope with the large number of runners, there was no need to rush to do all the usaul post run things, loo, baggage etc before the start. Contrary to comment below there were plenty of toilets in various sections of the Embankment start area including two male specific urinals. The first few miles were on wide roads which gave room to pass slower runners but although the event had a no headphone policy, it would have been good if this had been enforced especially for those runners who decided to veer off to the right and cutting up those behind at the water stations despite shouts that there was water on both sides of the road. There was plenty of encouragement and support along the route building up to a wonderful atmosphere along the final kilometre to the finish. It would have been great if more had been made of the finish area - the local running retailer had aready packed up before half of the runners had finished, making this into more of an expo village would have given a better post run experience. Definitely an event to enter again in the future.
In short: At the top of one hill I looked up and thought 'that is the best view in the world' In full: I was wrong, the view from the next hill was even better! Fantastic run, wonderful scenery and a great time spent with 1000 chilled out runners, some more chilled out and relaxed as time ( and the wine stations )passed by. This is a half marathon to savour and take your time over, plenty of water/food/wine stations to pause at before heading along the next trail. Hilly but don't let that put you off the atmosphere is so relaxed and you have plenty of time to make your way around the course. Some spectacular fancy dress, particularly those groups who themed their costumes - herds of cows, cowgirls and squaws, several sheep and a huge wedding party. Being a non-drinking, veggie I did not partake in the added wine stops and post run BBQ but the spread put on by the Denbies Estate looked fantasic and there was plenty of other goodies along the route to top up the energy levels not to mention the entire fruit department of a local supermarket at the finish. Medal to cherish and a good tech t-shirt added to the haul of goodies but the real star of the day was the wonderful atmosphere created by runners, supporters and the sound of bagpipes drifting across the Surrey hills. A very well organised, family friendly event. Thanks Alan, Nick, ETL, Guides, Denbies Estate and all the fantastic marshals. Did I mention the cakes? Date of review: September 15, 2014
In short: Not as intimidating as it seems In full: At first glance it seemed that the event was just catering for the faster club runners - and there certainly seemed to be a lot of those lining up and the fact that i appear on the last but one page of the results, despite just dipping under 3 hours, shows the quality of runners but in reality the organisers and Reading Roadrunners made everyone welcome. We had no problems with the car park - one of the first to arrive which we were quite surprised about - perhaps others weren't quite as organised or just didn't want to arrive more than an hour before the start. We were also one of the last to leave and the marshals still had a cheery attitude despite having had a long day. I guess that the impression you get at an event comes out of the way you approach it, all i can say is that i had one of the most enjoyable runs i can recall thanks to the company of those I was running with and that all the facilities were still open and although they started to start closing down 4 hours after the race start ( as noted in the race instructions ) there was still plenty of marshals and support about when my wife finished - slightly after the 4 hour mark. Would like to applaud the group of runners from Slinn Allstars who stayed at the finish long after most of the main field had finished to cheer on and encourage all of their members and every runner along the last few hundred metres to the finish as well as the support given by the marshals and Reading Roadrunners to those following the pack at a slightly slower pace. Making an event attaractive to non club runners has to come from those taking part, as well as the organising club, after all running 20 miles is a bit of a challenge for many. In this case the club appeared to be working hard to encourage and help those running their own race no matter what pace. That said a loo on the route would have been appreciated :) Date of review: February 17, 2014
In short: The Spartans could have learnt a lot from Dr.Rob In full: Really pleased that Dr Rob hadn't called off the event despite the conditions and fact that much of the surrounding area was sealed off and on a flood alert. At first I thought the shorter route was a safety measure - having seen most of the event equipment get blown across Boxhill but then I started to get dark thoughts, waiting for the bonus hill to appear, Thankfully it never did and to be honest on a day like today the short distance was enough of a challenge. Hats off to the three special runners who knackered and knickered their cracker by going back and completing the full course. Big thanks to the Marshall's who had to stay out in the elements longer than a spartan baby on the side of a hill. Thanks to Dr,Rob for pointing out that I was showing signs of hypothermia and suggested I sit back in the car - and that was before the start! The soup dragon and roblets for administering warm soup, carrots and shiny things. And finally to the snowman - if you could still make the effort to be out in those conditions marshalling then it is only fair that we runners do our best to take part. Date of review: January 1, 2014
In short: 10 mile hilly challenge with rewarding views In full: Another well organised event from Alan, Nicky and the Events To Live crew. First opportunity to run this, after spending a few years supporting my wife. I now appreciate what she faced between Mile 7 and 8. Lots of respective to all who finished. Plenty of vocal support all the way around - thanks to the marshals and girl guides - pleased it stayed dry for all of of you. Hard challenging run but the organisers and fellow runners are very welcoming and supportive. Not a PB course, you dont run this for that but excellent for those wanting a true test over 10 miles - more taxing than a flat half marathon. Bring on The Three Molehills!
In short: Samosa-tastic In full: So, you run for 10k, up and down cheeky little hills, along paths, around trails, through woods, little riverlets and across mini lakelets all in the pouring rain passing lines of cheering marshals and supporters who are soaked to the skin, local residents picnicking in their front gardens and then they give you samosa's when you finish. What is there not to enjoy!
Never has a somosa tasted so good before, free bananas, lots of post run water in cups just in case you hadn't sucked enough out of your shirt on the way round and a lovely medal for those who like that sort of thing.
Huge hug to all the PWR runners who manned marshal points and took care of things at the start/finish assisted by a few familiar faces from Bromley parkrun most of whom were still around at the end to cheer in the kast few sodden runners.
The look on the petrol station attendants face when I filled up on the way home, standing in my shorts, socks black with mud and dripping on the shiny, clean, M+S floor was priceless. Are you cold she asked? Nope, I have just run 10k around Petts Wood with lots of warm, happy and friendly people. Date of review: October 14, 2013
In short: Great atmosphere which made a very cold morning glow with warmth In full: A big thank you to the people of Hastings who came out in large numbers with rattles, claxons, saucepans, church choirs, oranges and jelly babies to cheer us on. A great event that runners should support, if you haven't run the Hastings Half before make sure you do next year, it is the 30th anniversary. Date of review: March 24, 2013
In short: If there is a better way to start the year I haven't found it yet! In full: Fun from start to finish. So good to see a higher percentage of runners than normal in fancy dress and the oufits seem to be getting more and more complicated. No bonus hill this year, thankfully but Dr Rob did his best to add to the muddy conditions by having us all parade up and down several times before the start. Not an event to be rushed but well done to the guys and girls who made it back to the finish in under an hour. And congratulations to the lady taking part in and finishing her first organised event. Support from runners and marshals was superb and as always Dr Rob, the Roblets and Soup Dragon put on a very good post race spread. Medal, T-shirt, cap, sandwiches, carrots and of course the soup all appreciated. This event leaves you with a very warm, happy feeling. What other event also gives you the chance to win a luxury, catering size block of cheese or jar of Branston Pickle in the free post run raffle :)