In short: Very little road, lots of loops In full: It's never a good start when the race director says before starting the race "not everything is quite how we wanted it to be". I did the marathon - there were nowhere near enough toilets at the start even for the 700 runners doing that race - so I dread to think what it was like when the 10k and half marathon runners started an hour later. The first three miles of the marathon went through Kew Gardens - crashing into the 8000 or so people arriving to start the 10k and half an hour later. From there it was on the Thames Towpath (mainly) to Hampton Court, and then turning round, to come back again. But, on the way back, there were several loops where you ran in the wrong direction, only to turn round and go back again. Long sections of the course had no support - a couple of the water stops weren't there at all - and then the final three miles were dreadful - a short section on a narrow pavement (single file) trying to weave past the back runners in the 10k and the half marathon (some of them literally walking.) The final mile you could see the finish - every time you got close, you got diverted off. When I finished I crossed the line around the same time as half marathon and 10k runners - would have been better to have separate finish funnels. Also, on the course the mile markers were sporadic, and placed almost randomly (according to my Garmin some were 400yds early, some half a mile late.) Instead of getting a goody bag at the finish it was 'help yourself' - but no bags available. I got the distinct impression that the Marathon was an afterthought on the day. Date of review: September 21, 2016
In short: Well run, fast course In full: I'm in the middle of training for the London Marathon, so this was one of my tune up races. Although it was a rather hot day, the race organisers made sure there were plenty of water stations, and the event was well organised. It's a big race, but it never felt as crowded as Reading has done. And to cap it all, I smashed my PB by seven minutes! Date of review: March 18, 2014
In short: Slayed the demons of two years ago In full: I last ran this race in 2011 and suffered really badly in the heat. This time it wasn't as hot, I paced myself better and came in 30 seconds slower than my PB set at the far flatter Reading.
The race gets great support from the villages on the route which makes it a lot of fun. Date of review: October 6, 2013
In short: Not as well organised as last year. In full: I ran last year and thought it was a very well organised race. This year was a disappointment.
1) I paid for a car park that was supposed to be 5 minutes walk away from the stadium. It was more like 20 minutes.
2) The Mizuno VIP access was a shambles. We were supposed to be sent wristbands before the race - then we were told to collect them on the day - and there was ONE person issuing the bands with a queue about 30 minutes long. I ended up not bothering.
3) Baggage tent was a mess at the end of the race. There was a marshal telling the long line to keep moving forward, and other marshals inside the tent keeping people out. It took 25 minutes from crossing the line to actually having my bag.
4) Too many runners started in the wrong pen. I was a blue start - I spent the first 3 miles dodging people with orange numbers stopping without warning in front of me. (And people with red numbers who were walking)
And yes it did rain, but that's always a risk! Date of review: March 18, 2013
In short: Hard work in the heat In full: It's a hily course, and combined with unseasonal temperatures, it made it a very tough run. lots of support on the route - most of the people living in Cliddesden, Ellisfield and Farleigh Wallop were out cheering the runners on - and many had hosepipes and supersoakers. They were also offering water and jelly babies. Hopefully it won't be as hot next year. Date of review: October 2, 2011