In short: Great Finish - route under development In full: Despite the fantastic organisation, the great finishing location, and the sunny weather for 2015 – this still feels like a race in development. Much is made of the chance to run in the Olympic Stadium – indeed the final 300m are special and worth the price of the entry fee alone. What lets it down, however, is the fact that the Olympic Park still has the feel of a place undergoing redevelopment – nothing the organisers can do about that though.
Start – the location is really good, in an open grassy area near the Orbit. Plenty of room to meet up with people, stretch etc. Plenty of toilets on site, so the long queues didn’t take too much time to get through. Bag drop was a bit small – could do with a larger space and better marshalling…no one challenged me to make sure I was collecting the correct bag – hope no one had anything nicked.
Race – after the group warm-up, and an interview with the Mayor, we were set on our way by Paula Radcliffe. The route itself is fairly flat, however what inclines there are certainly have a little kick to them…keeps you honest! As mentioned earlier, the race takes you through the sites of London 2012 – Velodrome, Copper Box, Aquatics Centre etc, erupting into the stadium after running along the transport tunnel. This section of tunnel was actually really atmospheric – with audioclips of Crammy and Foster at the 2012 games, and Chariots of Fire blaring from the sound system it certainly helped prepare you for the burst onto the track. 300m round the track was great – chance to take in the venue, see your name/image on the big screens, and then cross the line. Great stuff. I, however, raced with a cracking hangover so was glad to stop running!
Apres Race – After the line you were ushered off the track, and back out of the stadium to collect your goodie bag (medal, PUMA event t-shirt, lucozade, water, snacks, adverts etc). Getting away from the event was a doddle too.
All in all – a well organised race. Over time, and as the redevelopment completes, this will be a great event. I hope the organisers continue to push the event and maintain it’s ‘specialness’ – even though in a few months time it will be more closely linked with West Ham! Booo!
In short: What goes up must (eventually) come down In full: Second time doing the Hastings Half - a real credit to the seaside town. The course provides a good challenge for all runners. The first 5-6 miles are uphill - nothing too aggressive, find a rhythm and stick with it! Then a few undulating miles, before a hairpin turn at around 9mi and then downhill to the coast for a 2mi dash down the prom.
Great organisation, great 'Brass', plenty of support, plenty of jelly babies, what's not to like? Date of review: March 24, 2015
In short: Hot trot by the Thames In full: Second time doing this run, last was in 2012 on the adjusted route due to Olympics at Eton Dorney.
Start in Windsor was well organised, leaving promptly at 10am. Despite most of the run being on narrow trail, the wave starts made sure it wasn't too crowed. A couple of kissing-gates and road crossings didn't make too much of an impact - the steps over the bridge at about 11mi certainly woke the quads up!
All in all a good race. A tad too hot to be pushing for PBs, especially the final third once leaving Cookham in the exposed fields...unrelenting sunshine! Nice for a stroll, not so good after 9/10 miles of hard running!
See you at the startline again soon. Date of review: July 28, 2014
In short: What goes up, must come down In full: First timer! Been bugged into doing this race for a few years but it never fitted into my plans.
Pre race - pack was sent out well in advance, and an excellent set of notes to let you know all you needed.
Pre start - They have created a small running village on the green near the start line where you find all the usual stalls, massage, baggage drop. One thing, it would be good if the baggage drop could be a bit more secure...leaving it around the edge of the marquee was a bit unnerving. Issuing a baggage label linked to you race number could be a good option (see Tunbridge Wells HM). The lineup pre race was good, and the start was given extra atmosphere with a rendition of Chariots of Fire booming from the speakers as you crossed the line.
Race - Well, the first 6 miles are generally uphill. For me that is fine, causes me to regulate my pace/effort a bit more! Whilst the incline isn't riduculous on the main drag up Queensway (3mi - 5.5mi) it does go on...and on! The support throughout is fantastic, plenty of drinks stations manned by local scout groups, slices of orange/jelly babies/etc are in abundance too. The last 2mi down the promenade are a scenic slog, but make for a nice finish (although some had a hailstorm to contend with just after 2hrs).
Post race - cold and hot drinks are plentiful. An nice horse brass makes an unusal memento, but one which I'll look forward to adding to in 2015.
In short: Great organisation, good support, friendly atmosphere In full: First time doing this race. Thought the communication from Nice Work in advance was excellent, keeping us abreast of the enforced (weather) route changes and amended parking arrangements. Both changes did nothing to impact the run.
The route was switched from a big loop into a 5k out, 5k back run - sounds dull but actually was really good to look out for fellow runners on the home leg. Date of review: February 4, 2014
In short: H4 put on a great race, impossible not to embrace their energy In full: Really enjoyed this race. My first time running the Harvel 5, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. The organisation, both before, during and after, was excellent – and the atmosphere was suitably relaxing, not too clubby despite a good turnout from local club runners. The route itself was a bit more off-road than I expected, but that’s good in my books – although the recent rain had made it a bit boggy and slippery in places. A nice fast last km certainly lifted my mood having been in the doldrums in the middle mile…a combination of heavy cold and hayfever is not the best mix for hard aerobic activity!! A nice medal too – if you like that sort of thing.
In short: Well organised race, made even better by a PB (despite the big hill)! In full: Fantastic race, all down to the smooth organisation. The club seem to really care about the runners, and make you feel like you're wanted...as opposed to some of the mass city races I've done elsewhere.
Yes, it undulates - with a 1mi climb up Spring Hill to test the legs just after halfway. But get to the top in decent shape and the reward is what seems like a progressively downhill run for the last 4mi
So, cut to the chase - a PB at last! Knocked 6 mins off my previous to dip down to 1h35. Unfortunately a lot of runners are still missing official times (inc me), but this is a fault of the timing company rather than the race officials Date of review: February 25, 2013
In short: Nice to have it back on the calendar In full: An enjoyable run through the Kent countryside, with a few testing undulations along the way. The crippler at 10mi forced me and my running partner to adopt a run/walk strategy (even with an on looking camera! We’re no heroes!) but I still dragged him along to a sub 2hr PB.
The map on the website didn't really give you a full appreciation of the route to be tackled, so here is something I knocked up before the race http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/129279965 Date of review: August 28, 2012