In short: Great race, well organised, avoidable baggage problems which won't happen again I'm sure. In full: This is the second year I've done this race (last time 2012). It was cancelled in 2013 due to the weather, but came back this year. It is a lovely well organised event, which is on undulating roads in the countryside. The main hill comes near the end, but there is a great run down to the finish...
Although the race itself was well organised, there were a number of problems at the finish. Firstly, the medals were on a separate stand which I couldn't see because of crowding, and I assumed it was in the bag, so I had to return to the finish from the baggage area against the flow of traffic to get hold of one. This may have been my inattention, but I was exhausted and it would have been easier if they had been placed in bags.
Secondly, the baggage was poorly organised. I was looking at an hour and a half wait to get the baggage while standing in the cold. I retreated to the clubhouse to drink tea until the line disappeared. Not immediately clear what happened, and sad to hear that the volunteers got direct abuse from some runners, but this needs looking at for future years (It didn't happen in 2012). If it had been raining it would have been an appalling day. That said, the organisers have addressed this in a follow-up email to all participants and I am reassured that it won't happen again.
I have no hesitation in signing up again for 2015! Date of review: January 23, 2014
In short: Great organisation In full: Possibly tough for a first half marathon, since there is little crowd support until the last 200 yards. However, a great chance to race through one of the green arteries in the decaying West Midlands industrial heritage. After this summer's deluges the towpath was muddy underfoot. All things being equal this should not be a pb potential race, but people do get them here all the same. Largely flat, some steep short bridges. Can't say enough about the race organisation - excellent. If you are worried about overtaking or being overtaken, don't. It is perfectly possible to overtake safely. The tunnel is a bit dicey, keep your feet up, and perhaps reduce your pace a bit.
Can't believe people wore headphones on this, communication essential when overtaking.
Great Race. Thanks to all involved. Date of review: July 7, 2012
In short: A blustery day out, but a lovely race. In full: A well organised race, and a good route. Strong winds some of the undulating sections between 7 and 10 miles tough. Nice views along route. Last couple of miles running down to finish brilliant. Nice medal. Didn't get my pb here, but did a decent time despite hills. Date of review: January 23, 2012
In short: Nice start, terrible finish In full: Start was well organised, bag drop easy, and getting to the correct pen was simple. No complaints.
Route: weird cone loops to make distance were poor design feature. Lack of mile markers - I had a Garmin, but without it I would have had no idea were I was between 13.1 and 19 miles. Loved the views out across the sea, but fairly lonely for a beginner/charity runner - more like a harsh training run. Passing the finish at mile 9 was something that might have been avoided.
Finish: Good point -> Got my bag back easily. Bad points? Medal has no year on, I know it's a small point, but it looks like some sort of generic one to be used over and over again. After getting water/sports drinks, the crowd came to a sudden halt (not good being forced to stand still for 20 minutes!) in the narrow street at the goodie bag/T-shirt section. Luckily I got one of the last Large marathon T-shirts, but many were told they only had small or medium. Showers extremely cold in sports centre. Didn't mind walk to buses - but did mind the length of the lines to get on, Gave up, and got on the packed train to Edinburgh - which was only running hourly (couldn't organisers have asked rail company to put on extra?). Finishing so far away from the infrastructure of Edinburgh is a really bad idea.
Suggest organisers book a trip to watch the finish areas of Berlin or Paris (as just two examples) to get some hints on organisation.
In short: Great race. Last few miles across the bay were awesome, Fast, but narrow in places. Let down this year by a short course, which hopefully will never happen again. Date of review: October 28, 2010
In short: Start crowded, with poor use of pens. Course narrowed into tight bend immediately causing immediate stop. Finish also dreadful, with no run off. leadng to back-up at finish line. Please fix next year. Please. Date of review: October 25, 2010