In short: So much promise deflated by post-race shambles In full: A nice email from Sweatshop Events today:
"We've had lots of positive feedback about the event already and we'd love to hear yours."
Conveniently side stepping all the negative comments about the baggage claim nightmare or the drudgery of walking back to the town centre after waiting for non-existent buses.
It's a real shame because the friendly Reading folk are so welcoming and the race has so many good things going for it. The course has PB potential, the crowds & music are great, the race village is entertaining, the medal (this year) was a real treat and the goody bag was really thought out.
I did feel a bit sorry for some of the pacers, who had to hold up small whiteboards with their time scribbled on, but those are the breaks when you get a free race spot in return.
The baggage claim though... unforgivable.
I get that not everyone had to stand around in the rain for an hour, huddled in a foil blanket, while their core temperature plummeted but to the guy who helpfully reviews the race with the "vast majority of other reasonable and grateful runners" and tells us that we just "want all of the big race atmosphere and perks of such a massive race, but don't accept any of the disadvantages"... well... nice one mate.
I guess I fall into the unreasonable and ungrateful runners who likes to collect their bag in under an hour so they can get changed and contact their friends. Maybe it's because I'm just a soft southerner and should be thankful that I don't have to wake up in a shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, work twenty-four hours a day at the mill for four pence every six years, run a half marathon and then use the rain as a cold shower while I wait an hour for a change of clothes.
I'd like to think Sweatshop Events will take some notice and sort out the baggage system but this event sells out every year regardless. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Crafted with love In full: The 'race for runners by runners' only explains a fraction of just how special this event is. The day is more than just a race and everything about it is clearly crafted with love from people who respect, value and cherish their local community.
The infamous Ealing 'undulations' were present again but there was something glorious about crossing the crest of an undulation and admiring the sea of runners in front.
The drink stations were once again supported by the local churches and youth organisations. The marshals were plentiful and friendly while everyone in the race village was efficient and courteous.
A fantastic medal and a lovely touch that the half, mini mile and volunteers all received a distinctive medal dependent on their event or role.
The support from residents around the course was phenomenal and I loved the household that held a barbecue outside for their neighbours.
Fantastic use of social media leading up to the race and some more established races could learn some important lessons from the Ealing Half crew (Run To The Beat - I am glaring at you).
Without doubt one of the best half marathons on the road racing circuit. Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: Fantastic race from the welcoming Ealing Eagles In full: This is a great little race in leafy Ealing, which is suitable for all abilities. A good race last year made great this time around by positive subtle tweaks.
Great value for money, flat enough for a fast time, free photographs to download, wide range of pacers, after race massage, so many cheerful marshals, free drinks, distinctive medal, great goodie bag... and the list goes on.
Forget your big crowded 10k races with extortionate entrance fees and make your way to Ealing. Date of review: May 20, 2013
In short: Glorious run through a beautiful park In full: A great value race that is extremely well organised with some of the friendliest marshals you will ever find. This really is a hidden gem on the marathon calendar. Date of review: May 7, 2013
In short: Get that Ealing feeling! In full: Superb organisation, fantastic location, and an outstanding début for a race that I hope cements itself onto the annual racing calendar.
Many have already commented on how well organised the event was and I have to add my congratulations to all those involved in the race; the race organisers, the marshals, the volunteers, the spectators, the runners, and the wonderful people of Ealing who cheered everyone on.
The route was definitely undulating and bordering on the hilly at times but to be honest I hardly noticed because I was too busy exchanging greetings with the cheery spectators and giving high-fives to all the kids. In fact I blew my PB out of the water by getting caught up in it all and not checking my watch.
In a year when the word legacy has been prevalent the community of Ealing has really done themselves proud. Churches impacted as they sit next to the closed roads? No problem. They just set-up food & drink outside and ask for donations in return. My family enjoyed themselves cutting around the route to cheer me on while mingling with the natives and sampling lots of cake.
I hope this race returns in 2013 and I will be signing up for my place before the wider running community starts to realise just how special this event is. Date of review: September 30, 2012
In short: Superb Organisation, friendly marshals, and PB potential In full: The Ealing Eagles are a friendly bunch and they put on a cracking race. Registration was seamless with so many smiling volunteers offering to help at all time. The race takes in a small lap of the scenic Gunnersbury Park and then 2 larger laps until you reach the finish where there were plenty of cheers for all the finishers.
I brought along a friend who had recently started running so this was his first race and he loved it and is already planning on taking part next year.
The course itself is flat so there is definite PB potential although some of the paths in Gunnersbury need some repair work so you do have to watch your step on some parts.
Overall the organisation was superb, the plentiful marshals full of encouragement, water available on each lap, and drinks / fruit available at the finish. There were volunteer Ealing Eagle photographers dotted around the course and all pictures are published on Flickr to download for free - something I have never experienced at a race before and something other race organisers should take note of. Date of review: September 10, 2012
In short: Great in 2011, Awesome in 2012 In full: I loved this race in 2011 and it was great to run again on an improved course. Everyone involved in the organisation & running of the race deserves a big thumbs up for their dedication and friendliness. The route has been tweaked (for the better!) so the 10k runners avoid the walkers on the second lap and the finish area is much better placed. My family joined me and completed the 5k walk, which they loved, and it was great to have an event where we could all take part. Once again I enjoyed the bacon bap at the finished! We will be back in 2013 and I will be recommending to friends & family to take part. Date of review: May 21, 2012
In short: Charity fun run: nice route and scenery but you won't get to run very fast In full: Advertised as a race but really just a glorified over-priced fun run so avoid if you have any thought of hitting a certain time or get there early and very near the front. I was very uncomfortable with all the links being made to 2012 Olympics, with a price hike for next year, when quite clearly there is no association. Date of review: July 11, 2011
In short: Excellent organisation, marshals cheering you on all the way round, will be back next year :-) In full: Extremely well organised thanks the Ealing Eagles and a great atmosphere for those tackling their first race or going for a PB. The course takes in several loops of the popular Gunnersbury Park and offers PB potential with a near flat course. A big thanks to all those involved and despite the hot weather I Date of review: July 3, 2011
In short: Well organised and friendly day for the whole family In full: A mainly flat two lap 10k through residential streets, part of Alexandra Palace, and a start / finish in Priory Park (North London)as part of the local YMCA festival. Fantastic organisation, friendly marshals, and some good pockets of support but the route does suffer from lack of scenery.
A great day for the family with organised chip timed 1m races for boys and girls split into their respective age groups. Water, banana, and free doughnut at the end thanks to local retailers. I avoided the doughnut but lots of people seemed to want it! Date of review: May 23, 2011