In short: A nice marathon prep day in Windsor In full: Runnning at Dorney Lake in Windsor (the site of British Olympic triumph at 2012) always brings a smile. There are 16, 20 and 24 mile options for this event: this race is billed as a warm-up for the spring marathon season. I chose the 20 mile.
Fairly well organised, with good use available of the boatclub's changing facilities and showers. Good waterstops and food available round the course, and nice goodie bag at end. As this was a nice day, very pleasant run: if wet and windy would be a lot more exposed, be warned!
Minor caveat:some more portaloos at the start might have been useful, as long queue for women (I'm a guy, but had sympathy for the women waiting, especially if it's close to the race time).
Major caveat: NO MEDAL! TIGHT, TIGHT, TIGHT!!! Seen as you're running the equivalent of 3/4 of a marathon, and certainly any runner will be doing more than a half marathon, a medal should really be mandatory. No excuses. If for example you can't make do another race due to injury, or other circumstances, a medal from this event would be an important keepsake. As it is, nothing. For a few quid more, happy to cough up, but unhappy this was excluded.
This aside, quality race. Sucker that I am, I'll probably race this again, because of the race's general quality and organisation. But please get medal issue dealt with. Date of review: April 5, 2015
In short: Intimate, pleasing half marathon In full: I enjoyed this race - first time running it. Organised by a branch of the local Mormon church, and so a prayer at the pre-race runners briefing was had, which was a little unusual! Use of their building also made faith obvious, but if you don't have issues with these, very nice race. No major complaints at all in terms of organisation: for a small event (less than 100 running) was exceptionally well marshalled, with enthusiastic support from marshals all the the way around. Good water stations, and decent t-shirt and medal (medal needs the date and year engraved on next time though guys!).
A few whopper hills, but if you're aware of this, shouldn't be a big problem. Only major tweak I'd make would be presence of a couple of portaloos out on the course - a couple were in the start venue car park, but considering the small number of runners, might have been better having them out periodically on the course. I needed to stop at one point, and have a kindly café owner to thank in avoiding a difficult moment!
Would happily run this again. Date of review: March 22, 2015
In short: Good in weater conditions - would have been very difficult in wet In full: I did this in a mankini for charity (yep, that was me!), and first time I had done this one. Good start and finish, with great Tenby and Pembroke crowds, and regular water stops. But I'd echo previous poster on a couple of points - gels seemed to be only at one stop, rather than at several ones, as advertised. Mile makers also seemed to disappear mid race, and come back towards the end - not good. I wasn't measuring progress by them, but if you were, it would have been very irritating.
I expected a hilly course - that was fine. But to have a huge hill coming into Tenby, on the last stretch of the last mile - organisers, what were you thinking? You can't exactly finish with a flourish. I'd also say roads were MOSTLY closed off - though to be fair, it was clear that some drivers were simply, and stupidly, ignoring the instructions of certain roads to be closed on the route. That wasn't the organisers' fault.
Timing this race in June I think is important -course would have been pretty miserable in wet and windy conditions, and it becomes rural very quickly, with little people for long stretches. If it's placed in winter for any reason, I probably wouldn't do it, but for a summer's day, very enjoyable.
Overall, liked this race a lot, and was fun to get some seaside chips and a pint by the seaside afterward! May well do this race again. Date of review: June 11, 2012
In short: Bad weather - unavoidable. Prep for weather, and baggage collection - inexcusable In full: For a race that had a lot of potential to be great, this sadly was let down by some very poor organisation on the day. My first UK marathon this year, having done races in Israel and Holland. Sadly, British organisation, in comparison to these races, was shameful that day.
First, I’d have preferred to get my Race Finisher t-shirt AFTER the race, not at the Expo BEFORE it – simple logic, no? On race day, I got to the race village in plenty of time for the start. But the queue for dropping off baggage was colossal: organisers had obviously not anticipated it at all. Last thing you wanted to do was to stand around in cold and wet for half an hour (or more) before the race. Finally organisers said just dump your things - that doesn't reassure you much!
Once out on the course, although it was very cold and wet conditions throughout and scenery was a bit average at times, the Manchester public came out in droves to support us. And they were tremendous. The crowd I think were the one element that may make me come back to do this race again. Made me proud to come from the North of England (and I live in Wales now!).
As some people have said, mile markers seemed inconsistent along the course (they could have done with being much bigger for a start, displayed above ground level). Lack of First Aid at times as far as I could see (I note some people needed the Red Cross in these weather conditions, from other entries). Good number of portaloos on route - I didn't need them, but I imagine some other people did. Marshalling was bit thin at times, but what marshals were there were very encouraging. I appreciated the energy gels they gave out around the course (even a chocolate one, which was new to me!). Stupid plastic water packs were not good - they didn't open properly, and you didn't want to concentrate on ripping one open when you were running. They need to be more accessible next time, or else back to water in cups next year please.
In the bad weather conditions, was great to get to the finishing line. But unfortunately, this is where things really went downhill. Think given the cold weather, investing in better foil blankets for next year for the runners is essential - thin ones we got barely gave any protection from the cold weather at all, and some runners you could see were really going to need it.
And as already well mentioned, what people will always remember from this race is the baggage collection farce. The baggage collect area became a rugby scrum - no organisation at all. People jostling and waiting for their bag, in weather bad enough to induce hypothermia at the end in just that thin layer of foil only to protect you: you just did not need this. To their credit, race organisers issued an official apology for it - and boy, they needed to.
One thing that was nice was money off for post race meal in the Printworks area of Manchester afterward, if you had a finisher’s medal. Had a nice free veggie burger in Henry J Beans pub, which was a nice touch. Keep it for next year.
To summarize: obviously, organisers could do nothing about the weather per se. But they could have been far better prepared for it, and for this race generally. This is a PB potential course - were it not for weather conditions, think I might have beat my PB. With some important organisation changes, and better weather with any luck next year, this could be a very enjoyable weekend.
In short: Warm, friendly race event. A different way to spend New Year's Eve... In full: A nice, small scale event, and a good race generally. My first time doing this one. I only did the first day (to the brave souls who did the second day as well: I take my hat off to you!).
Running along the Liverpool waterfront all the way is certainly different from most other runs. Since this was a lap race (4 laps in total, and virtually straight paths all the way along the waterfront) there were no marshals along the route, except at the turning point of the lap. But in all fairness, they weren't needed for this type of course anyway.
There was a good amount of support from fellow runners. You'd see other runners passing you in the opposite direction, and most of them would quite happily give you encouragement and smiles, wherever you were on the course. I wasn't feeling quite 100% on race morning with a cold. But one group of brilliant fellow runners in particular kept me going: through strategic high fives, and shouting at me to keep at it. You know who you are guys: thank you!
Despite a prior warning that drinks might be scarce in the race, they did very well with this actually, in terms of supplying water at least. Thanks for the snack bar as well :)
• This was concrete surface ALL the way, so be prepared for it possibly being a bit hard on the old joints by the end.
• Scenery as I've said was different, and certainly interesting to look at initially. It was starting to feel a bit monotonous though after a bit (i.e. the third and fourth laps!).
• The Liverpool public were out in force on the path. But they seemed totally bemused, rather than encouraging of our efforts. I didn't see or hear a single one of them cheer on any runner at any point, which was a bit of a shame. Come on Liverpool!
• No showers at end. I've said this before, but to all race organisers everywhere, please give a little thought about what all participants are doing after the race, and how far we might have to travel to get home that day, still stinking like a sewer from the run. I'm happy to pay a few quid extra in race fee, to have some kind of shower available.
• We got a bit wet towards the end from rain, but in fairness you couldn't pin this on the race itself.
Nice finish when you got to it, with a warm congrats from the race timer (race organiser Kaja's fiancee!). Him putting a nicely designed medal round your neck personally was a good touch, which I'll remember - it can mean a lot at the end of a run. Much preferable to simply lobbing a medal at you, as has happened to me a few times on previous races! He had to have been there a while that day too, waiting for runners to finish for a good while in the cold Liverpool coastal winds. So well done chap.
I probably wouldn't recommend this as your first race if you're looking for one to do - it doesn't provide a whole lot in the way of variety, and the surface and lap format might put a first timer off from doing more runs. But if you've got a few races under your belt, and you fancy doing something a bit different on New Year's Eve, think you could do a lot worse than this.
Well done Kaja. Already thinking about doing both days next New Year's Eve :) Date of review: January 2, 2012
In short: Fine as a race - shame about the marshalling and race directions In full: Decent race, and some nice coastal views along the path, but there could have been improvements. At the start, I got my timing chip successfully at the race centre, warmed up, and then was chatting with some fellow runners to await the start. But suddenly: off! Usually, you get a pre race briefing, a countdown, and then a horn blast to start, but all these were AWOL. Maybe I was just too far back in the pack to hear them, but then other people I was with heard nothing either.
The coastal path is very narrow in places, which lead to a lot of bottlenecking. Also some narrow gates to pass through at times, and a very odd climb up a steep hill by side of a river: you had to wriggle through trees uphill in a stopped queue of your fellow runners, and climb over the fence to get to the main road. Not marshalled this bit at all, and if you hadn't been following other runners, you wouldn't know where to go or what to do. Def bit of an oversight on organiser's part. Glad other people have echoed my thoughts about marshalling and directions - I got lost and disorientated at one point as well, and wondered if I'd done the right route exactly. Definitely would have helped if there had been some more on the course to help.
Perhaps linked to this: was it just me, or were there a few mile markers missing along the way? (which I was timing my progress by, so that hurt!). Stolen by local scallies? Chances of a PB then were not looking too promising, and I didn't get it.
Some good points though: good water stops, nice reception at the end finishing, good medal, scrummy vegan friendly energy/protein bars at the finish (which i was pleased about: I'm vegan, and races don't usually cater too well for it), and the best race t-shirt I've yet seen. Lovingly made, and one you'd be proud to wear at the gym a few days later.
However, just when race may have redemmed itself a little at the end: no showers!!! Not just this race I've got this barney with, to be fair. I'm getting a mite fed up with race organisers everywhere generally ignoring this. If you're travelling many miles sometimes for a race, you can't always jump in the shower at home that afternoon! I'd wait half an hour for one after the race if need be, but provide them. Please!
(I did find some nearby with some effort in the end, but had to pay extra. Really, no "spirit of Xmas" generosity, or "season of good will" from local leisure centre staff, for some hot water...)
Might do this again, but I can think of other better races I've done. If you're local though, probably worth a shot. Date of review: December 20, 2011
In short: 4.5 out of 5 - a great race to do In full: Really, really enjoyed this race. Some lovely scenery along the way, and finishing with whole Eden Project laid out below you is near priceless. Free entry to the Eden Project for you and a friend, as part of the race entry price, is superb value is well.
I'd recommend only tackling this course as a beginner if you've trained well in advance, including hill training, otherwise suspect you'd be hurting a lot at the end! If you're good on hills, you'll love it.
Good marshaling, atmosphere and a good day out. Any downsides? Well, lack of showers afterward was major thing they could put right - not as much fun going round Eden later smelling! I'd happily pay a couple of extra quid in the price for them. They could have made the free pasties at the end as well something other than steak or cheese - if you're not able to have either one for some reason (I'm a vegan) - stuffed really. Wouldn't take too much effort to make a few suitable for all diets.
Also, get there super early in the morning if you're going there next year. There was a long traffic queue getting in, which delayed the start of the race slightly, and meant was a bit of a rush to get to the start line - not good if you like to take your time preparing like me!
Otherwise, chocca race - may well do next year's. Date of review: October 31, 2011
In short: Very respectable, and very scenic In full: Nice race, although don't expect a personal best on this course - takes in forest and hills. Probably challenging for a beginner. Great refreshments - they're there at the end of every lap of this course (every 3.5k). Brill chunky medal. Only fault is lack of showers on site. 2nd time I've done this race - would enjoy doing it again. Date of review: October 31, 2011