In short: Always good In full: The great thing about the Hastings half marathon is the atmosphere. The other good thing is that whilst there are super fast Kenyans etc this is a real community event. Frankly, as someone who not yet received her charity vest for the VLM yet and who was therefore running for herself it felt a bit lonely as there were so many groups for the hospice, a little boy called Christian who was being pushed round in his wheelchair, a couple of boobs ( yes really) for breast cancer care and numerous other local events and being cheered for . But that is what makes it. There is a long but gradual hill which seems to go on for ever with quite a few little sharp upturns around not he course but all the way you are being cheered and there are jelly babies, jelly beans etcetc offered by supporters. It is great! The other thing is that because it is a community event there are quite a few slow ones at the back unlike some other events where, even at 2 1/2 hours you feel pathetic and frankly that is not horrendous . The last time I did it someone took 8 hours as they had gone to every pub for charity!
Oh the brass memento is brilliant!
Any downsides..... The only one I can find is that I had to hunt for water at the finish. Most other races give you a bottle of water as you cross the line which I could really have done with.i eventually found some cups of water at the side somewhere with spectators all around the table. I also understand there was a cup of tea which I would have liked as I was caught in the hail storm literally as I finished and was very damp and cold....but that aside...a great race!
In short: Always good! In full: This is the third time I have done this and Spring Hill lengthens and steepens each time...having said that, at one point I was on for a PB but it all went downhill(!) from about the 10 mile marker.
Organisation is always excellent, everything runs like clockwork ,the marshals are always smiley and encouraging and if, like me, you come in near the end you always get a name check which those in the middle don't! The only downsides from being near the end are that I understand there were bananas which had all gone be the time I got there. I was only given water. In addition you have to battle your way down the A26 on the pavement against the hordes who finished ahead of you and who are leaving.
That said..I still loved it and personally really liked the early start, but I am local. I can see that this doesn't work for those who are not.
In short: Brilliant! In full: What a great race. Sadly I was injured and so couldn't live up to my start pen and may have held a couple of people up. Frankly if slower runners kept to the left ( as I did and thus completely missed Mo coming in the opposite direction) it would not be a problem. Even with my injury I had to go on the pavement to get past a row of ladies walking in a line across the road and having a chat! I loved the whole thing, the atmosphere, the empty roads before the start, watching tourists standing in the normally traffic bound Westminster Bridge, the finish, the medal....have already booked for next year! Date of review: June 8, 2013
In short: Lovely run in forest setting In full: This is my third time, albeit with an injury and so v slow. I love this as it is local to me, indeed this is where I do most of my training! It is very well organised although I do think that it starts late. Most 10ks start at 10 and I have started in one at Bedgebury at 9. The first wave left at 11 by which time it was already starting to heat up. The final ( and slowest) wave left at about 12.45, certainly well after I got back. It must have been very hot and actually it means that the race takes up the whole day ..
In short: Excellent fun in the rain In full: A very friendly fun race. It felt more like fun run than a proper 'race'. You were even allowed to bring your dog along which was a first! My dogs loved it, although they were very very dirty and loved the attention they got. The only thing which was a bit annoying was there were no 'race loos' although I know we weren't far from the visitors centre Date of review: March 16, 2013
In short: Once again, brilliant fun! In full: As a local this is a forest I know well. Enjoyed the course and, as one of the slower ones really appreciated the encouragement. The starting in waves is a good idea although by the time the waves for the slower people have started the whole day has gone. The organisation was excellent and the start is made to be fun. This is the third Rat Race event I have done ( including the much missed this year Green Belter) . Yes it is a race but it is made to be fun for those who may not be the fast. The technical tee is very useful, very chunky medal and well stocked goody bag. The only thing is that I see from the trusts That 40% of the finishers were women.... Not sure I can really use the shaving cream! You do women's tee shirts ( although they are very short I had to have a man's) why not a women's goody bag? Or better still a unisex one!!
In short: What about us back- markers??! In full: This is the second time I've done this race, the first time was 2010 in the pouring rain and this time the weather was glorious. Although I'm am very very slow, a real back- marker I really enjoyed it. I am reasonably local and train on hills, so whilst That Hill is a bit of a killer it is actually quite enjoyable.
The organisation is, I think, excellent. Other reviewers have mentioned the queue for the loos but there were marshalls moving the queue on and although it was about 30m long when I joined it it moved v quickly.
Comments have been made about the medals.. I think they're great. Not pretty but certainly big and clunky and worth having!
Plus points for those of us at the back - everyone knows you are the saddos at the back so you get lots and lots of cheers and lots of encouragement . One lady even gave me a cuddle! - I bet the Speedy Gonzaleses at the front don't get commentated by name over the finish line, well except for the real winners
Minus points: - the goodie bags have been mentioned loads of times. I did have to hunt out some water and a banana myself but frankly I was quite happy to do without the other rubbish you get in these things - I understand that the earlier finishers had their medals handed to them by Dame Kelly. I know that she had to get to the prize giving but those of us at the back worked just as hard as those at the front, in fact we probably found it harder so it would have been nice to know that we were recognised too!
Overall a great event and I'll be back next year.... I Date of review: March 6, 2012