In short: A good attempt for an inaugural event In full: It's a brave move startting a new event and opening it up to 12,000 runners (I believe 9.5K toed the start line), and overall the organisers pulled it off, with just some minor issues to address.
The Good: The Start/Finish Area - Hackney Marshes was an ideal venue, large and flat, plenty of room to spread out afterwards. Closed Roads - probably taken for granted by some entrants but this all takes organising. Goodie Bag - I've seen some unfavourable reviews but there were plenty of much needed snacks in there. Plus there was a banana and a drink at the finish. Atmosphere - Some good support on the way round, plus entertainment laid on at the finish.
The not so good: The water pouch things - you had to squeeze them to get the water and that seemed to work ok until you actually tried to drink from one. There's nothing wrong with a sturdy plastic cup! The mile markers - agree with other reviewers. The section through the olympic park - I was looking forward to this part of the course but the organisers could not have chosen a more uninspiring route arount the park if they'd tried - please improve that section for next year :)
All in all a good race with definite PB potential. Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: Some great marshalling and support, let down by finish area and chip timing. In full: Lets start with the bad – From very early on I noticed people stopping dead and retracing their steps in an oncoming wave of runners to retrieve the timing chips that had fallen out of their flimsy plastic covering. Certainly not an efficient system, and not great for the safety of runners – although this was not the greatest safety concern. The bigger problem was that you were playing with the traffic on some sections – to be fair the organisers did well to cone off sections of the main roads, and the marshalling of the crossover points was done very well, but these sections still felt dicey. The route itself while pleasant in some places, was grim in others. Once you’d got back into Leicester City Centre you couldn’t help feeling that you were getting in the way of a normal day in the City. Also if you’re going to use a path that’s barely wide enough for a runner to get along (7 miles-ish), at least trim back the vegetation! The finish area was poorly organised and confusing. The literature beforehand said water and a banana at the finish. No banana. Just as well I had a carb gel left. I could hardly see in the dark tunnel of the tent where you collected the t-shirt and had your chip removed, and the baggage tent was chaos. If there’s one thing you don’t want to be doing after running 26.2 miles, it’s trading carefully over other people’s bags to retrieve articles that have become detached from your own bag. A bigger tent, with bags placed in number order, with some adult supervision would be my advice to the organisers. The army cadets were doing their best but needed support. The good –Considering the weather there was some great support along the route – the couple that cropped up three times being particularly memorable! As mentioned previously the marshalling was very effective – there was little chance of getting lost as the field thinned out. The water stations were at regular intervals with no wastage problems you get with bottles of water. Gels were also plentiful and appreciated! The medal was also good and I liked the technical running vest – with a humorous nod to the city's recent historical discovery. Overall, there were some good points but a city the size of Leicester deserves a bigger and better event! Date of review: October 15, 2013
In short: An enjoyable event over an interesting and challenging course with plenty of support along the way. In full: The main feeling I got from the event is how smoothly it ran, from the baggage tents which were very well organised to the start line and then the finish area afterwards. The course itself has plenty of turns with a good mix of uphill and downhill to keep things interesting. I liked the three way bit where you passed/ got passed by runners on three different areas of the course. The support along the way was very enthusiastic and came as a pleasant surprise as being a local half marathon I expected empty streets. water stations were plentiful and well manned - could have benefited from smaller bottle sizes? The medal at the end was great and the Clif bar was superb, plus you could grab some free samples from the Clif tent. No need for a goody bag full of mostly bits of card that you would end up chucking anyway. Access to the start/finish area was just around the corner from a couple of tube stations too which made getting there/away straightforward. If there is one thing the organisers may want to look at it's a staggered start - the first couple of miles were a bit bunchy, but that's a small criticism of what basically was a very good half. Date of review: September 30, 2013
In short: A great scenic course with the right amount of challenge. In full: The start/finish venue was easy to find and easy to get to from Weymouth where I was staying. There were around 200 competitors, mostly from local clubs but the atmosphere was welcoming. The size of the field was just right for the course - it was never too bunched but never too empty either. The course wasn't traffic free but felt safe - Marshalls were posted at all major junctions. The water stations were plentiful although the cups were a bit flimsy and difficult to drink from. The only problem was the last 50 metres or so which was actually quite dangerous - a stretch of grass riddled with potholes which upended one runner, and nearly brought down a number of others. All in all well worth doing and I'll be back in 2014. Date of review: July 9, 2013
In short: A good flat half with a big field and a decent atmosphere. In full: This is the third time I've taken part in the Southend half and I've noticed improvements on the previous occasions. The biggest positives were the marshalling and the water/sponge stations which were plentiful - it was easy to stay hydrated. After the start it was a bit bunched for the first few turns, but after a while there was enough space to run in comfortably. There were some decent pockets of support along the route which was good considering it was a cold day.
The medal was the best yet, and hopefully not develops the rust spots of the previous couple I collected. The only thing left to improve is the finishing area which was fairly confused, and I noticed a long long queue develops at the baggage collection tent. The finish area was good though - nothing like a cup of tea and a burger at the end of a race! Date of review: June 11, 2013
In short: A good local 10k around a scenic route In full: An enjoyable race with a decent atmosphere with the course based mainly around the Lodmoor country path. Good mix of terrain, mostly flat with very little traffic to contend with. The only downside was near the start where some idiot had blocked off part of the course with his van and then stood with his dog in everyones way! Date of review: May 26, 2013
In short: A very well organised half marathon In full: This is a home fixture for me, I run the route or parts of it regularly throughout the year. So i'm familiar with the hills and the traffic you need to negotiate to get round, and that's where this race really succeeds. There are no road closures, but the fantastic marshalling (they don't have an easy job), ensures runners get around safely without any interruptions to the race. The undulating nature of the course makes it challenging but not too difficult - there is definate PB potential. Water stations were well placed with bottles, which are always better than plastic cups which spill 80% of the water. The use of the Woodford clubhouse is also a plus and there was a good selection of reasonably priced refreshments, as well as a secure baggage drop facility. Decent medal at the finish and a sports drink plus a mars bar in the finishers bag, everything you need really. With chip timing as well, this is definately a half worth doing. Date of review: March 3, 2013
In short: A good challenging race, well organised on the whole In full: I scored this with top marks for PB potential, since I actually got a PB in this one, which was a surprise to me, as there are a couple of challenging climbs. The scenery is good and I encountered hardly any traffic which is a big plus for any event. The start and finished were well organised and there were plenty of marshalls around the course. Liked the dri-fit t-shirt at the finish. Just a couple of niggles, the organisation of the baggage facility leaves a bit to be desired, plus when I got my bag back it was covered in mud, Not impressed. Also would it have been too much to put a flapjack or something in the finishers bag? Date of review: February 3, 2013
In short: A good challenging 10 mile run, scenic in places and well organised In full: This is a small but well organised run, taking you along the entire length of the sea-front and back, via a broadly circular circuit that is repeated twice. Be warned, there is a #### of a hill on the circular part which is a real ball-breaker. Saying that the view from the top is impressive. Needless to say there is some stunning secenery along the seafront section also. The course is well marshalled and there's little chance of getting lost. If there was one slightly disappointing element it was the size of the field, a bit small at 203, which surprised me as Weymouth is not the smallest town. Will definately do this again next year. Date of review: October 24, 2012