In short: Well-organised and a quick course only let down by poor finishing funnel In full: This is my third time out at the Colchester HM and it was a lovely day for it. The stadium makes for an appropriate start/finish venue and the marshalls on the whole appear well-motivated and encouraging. The medal was really good (and heavy!) with a typical goodie bag offered on completion of the event.
The closed (road) section of the course is well-organised and marshalled although when you leave the town for a more rural environment, the traffic can become an issue to run along with. The crossroad junction at mile 11-12 was particularly messy and needed appropriate traffic management, not marshalls watching the chaos!
The funnel at the finish line was ridiculous! I was stood in a queue for around 25 minutes and really needed to be sat down in the shade somewhere, not stuck in a crowd! All the goodie items should be in a single bag, offered from both sides which would help disperse the tired crowd. Having runners re-enter this area (along with spectators) made for a very messy arrangement.
More toilets ahead of the race would be useful although it is good of the stadium organisers to allow use of their facilities.
I would be happy to do this event again, just some continued teething troubles to sort out. Date of review: March 17, 2014
In short: Very well orgainsed event, challenging but definately worthwhile. In full: For the fee, this is a very well organised and generous package. Transport, medal, goodie bag, support, organisation - even the weather was decent for November! Massive credit goes to the race organisers and marshalls for their support throughout - always clapping and encouraging. This was my 4th consecutive outing to Stevenage and will be glad to do no. 5 next year. Marshalls held traffic well although despite the warning, a lot of runners wore earphones. The inclines were energy sapping which is more a statement about my current level of fitness although the last 0.1 mile around the track is fun! Date of review: November 4, 2013
In short: Great atmosphere, good conditions, hilly, good day out! In full: This was my first run in St. Albans and I look forward to entering again next year! The whole event was extremely well organised given the number of people participating over several events although the only difficulty was with the baggage store - an extremely long queue! Otherwise this was a really good day out on closed roads with an abundance of water stations and numerous cheery marshalls. A nice little medal and goodie bag (plus lolly!) rounded off a good day out. The hills were quite tiring though and the last mile or so made more difficult as you weren't aware of where the finish line was. Running through the oark was particularly crowded at the beginning including some awkward surfaces which couldn't be seen given the number of people. I was informed by a parking stewards however that the car park at the school would be locked up by 1.30pm. This meant having to rush back and leave the event early - surely parking facilities should be open all day? Overall I'd be happy to run this again. Date of review: June 10, 2013
In short: Good course, organisation to improve for next year. In full: My second attempt at this event, definitley has PB potential. The stadium setting makes a great location but the queues getting in! Learning from last year, I left early so I wasn't getting stressed whilst having to wait to get into the complex. On another event I did, a coach shuttle service was put on - this could be arranged from the train station to the stadium (a short drive along the bus route) which would certinaly reduce the number of cars trying to get in. Baggage area didn't appear overly generous (this is a football stadium!) and I thought the number of toilets were pretty low given the capacity entrance field. Marshalling was great and generally improved upon over last year but again aggressive drivers were my biggest concern. Being a road race we all have to be that extra bit careful particularly on the second 'country' half of the race. The road closures that were present appeared effective, but the traffic leap-frogging groups of runners along the main Boxted straight road in the final 2-3 miles i think is asking for problems. It encourages drivers to overtake at speed to get past as many runners as possible only to enevitably brake sharply and force their way into the running pack when a vehicle in the opposite direction appears. That being said, some runners need greater road sense as they could help themselves (and others) by keeping to the left. A great finish to the line, altough with the encroaching crowds made for a tight finish. There also needs to be more space after the line for the chips to be removed and collection of goodies etc. A good medal although a date on it would be nice. Traffic leaving the stadium was possibly more difficult than entering! Will look to do this again next year. Date of review: March 20, 2013
In short: Great value, great marshalls, with PB potential. In full: Despite the poor weather, the whole event was well organised. I understood that a lot of people mugged it off due to the rain which was a shame, but overall it was a good day. Loads of credit goes to the marshalls, who were friendly, smiley, ever helpful and encouraging. One was even singing! Not what I would call a flat course but negotiating the underpasses is much better than being on the road! Nice little medal too - will be back next year! Date of review: November 6, 2012
In short: Reasonably quick and well-organised event, albeit traffic problems. In full: Overall this was a really good event. My first time in Colchester and a well-organised race starting/finishing at the football stadium made it even better. I ran a PB so really quite happy with that however there were a couple of niggles. Early on in the race (first half or so) marhshalls were really good at closing roads and junctions etc. Later on, impatient drivers were causing difficulties. As a road race, there is an extra level of awareness runners need, to keep themselves safe. That being said, and as I saw posted on here already, if the race organisers feel that junctions merit having marshalls to control the traffic, they need to marshall EFFECTIVELY. Not an easy job I'm sure particularly with 'difficult' drivers but a lot of marshalls appeared quite young. I had a near miss with a car that although initially stationary when I decided to cross the roundabout, wasn't actually looking at me but rather the car that had just been let through and so pulled out (aggressively) in front of me - could have been a very different outcome! Living to run another day, the mile markers didn't feel to be quite right and an additional water station in the last quarter would have been useful. Medal was nice although a date would've been good too. Very popular event and I look forward to running it again next year. Date of review: March 13, 2012
In short: Great value, well-organised and good atmosphere. In full: This is my second go at the half-marathon event in Stevenage. A well-organised event by the club (as usual) with a great show of support from the large volunteer group. Definately possible for a personal best time over a reasonably level course. Decent scenery away from the roads and good encouragement throughout. Queuing for the toilets in the last 20 mins before the race start could be more of a pain, but that little niggle is more than made up for with a quality little running shoe trophy/memento for this 25th anniversary half-marathon event. Well done Spartans! Date of review: December 5, 2011
In short: Lovely views helped with the forecast bad weather staying away for long periods. Instructions appeared detailed but when read in a large field, quickly became ambiguous. Inevitably, several miles were added which increased the frustration. In full: Being an Ultramarathon beginner I had high hopes for this event. By the end I did not feel that it was the distance that got the better of me however. Whilst the course instructions appeared detailed, it became clear early on that there was plenty of room for interpretation when faced with tracks through fields, following hedgelines and the like. It would be easy to blame the runners that got lost that they wern't reading the instructions clearly. However whilst many finished without these apparent problems, I got the impression they already knew the course (at least partially) which obviously helped! Sections of the event were held on country lanes (60mph territory) which in the absence of paths had the potential for serious safety concerns. The volunteers were great with their well-stocked checkpoints making for welcome sights! As for suggestions, I think there is a strong need for course markers particularly between checkpoints. There was too much opportunity between them for getting lost. I think it would have only required minimal effort to put down posts, flags, ribbons tied to trees etc especially when the course was followed to write the instructions. Date of review: July 18, 2011