In short: Great race with the usual Chester hilly sting in the tail! In full: Brilliant race and a good half marathon for all abilities. I would warn everybody of the last couple of miles though; there is no getting around it, you have to climb to get into the city centre. The climbs arent steep, but on a hot day like today they can sap the last of your energy.
It is a fantastically organised race with literally hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers doing everything around the course.
There are a couple of little niggles, but please bear in mind these are just what I think they should try and improve, even with these niggles it is still a fantastically well organised, friendly race.
So, the niggles, the drink stations seemed to be struggling a bit even throughout the latter half of the race; nothing major, but I would certainly not be looking to increase numbers any more as they were a bit congested.
If you want people to use the park and ride then you need to get in touch with the council and ask them to improve the signage and the frequency of buses going back to Wrexham Road. People were starting to get a bit grumpy waiting around and if I was going to do it again, without assurances that the park and ride would improve, then I would suggest to people to get to the racecourse early and park there - which I know is not what you want. Also, it would be useful to sign people to where the meeting points are at the end, if you dont know Chester it is a bit confusing and the two very friendly marshalls I asked werent too sure either.
As I said, these are minor niggles and should be taken in a spirit of positive criticism to improve future events; as my overall marks show I still loved the race and would recommend it to others Date of review: May 18, 2014
In short: Not enough went wrong...try harder Stockport!!!! In full: Absolutely brilliant, from Chariots of Fire to Benny Hill about sums it up. I broke my pb set in Llandudno on a perfect May day on a flat course, I'm still nto quite sure how. Probably something to do with the little quiet smile that you run this race with.
It really, really shouldnt work, it is hilly, apart from the park the scenery is nothing special and it is in winter and the weather is invariably rubbish. And yet, it stands out as one of the races of the year. Stockport really put so much effort into this that they deserve the good reviews they keep on getting.
I've put it down as beginner friendly just for the superb support shown around the course by the marshals. It has to be said those hills are tough. New Zealand road seemed a bit easier this year though, maybe as I could fully hear the sounds of Tony cheering everybody in by name in the park.
Yes the goody bad is comedy gold (it really is rubbish and brilliant) and it is another excellent t-shirt. But I try to take those items out the equation when rating races as they are really just the sprinkling on the cake. What makes this race and a few similarly sized races like it stand out are the superb organisation that is all based around giving the runners the best experience possible.
Thank you again Stockport for another fantastic race. Date of review: December 9, 2012
In short: Another great Torbay HM In full: Had a direct comparison to the Freckleton HM the week before and I cant quite decide which was my favourite! Torbay has the advantage of closed roads and lovely seaviews for most of the course. Against that you have the hills on the second lap around at Torbay which are tough. Excellent organisation again, seemed to be some improvements over last year in both the water stations and the organisation of the two laps (not that there was much wrong last year!). Friendly marshals, loads of support and a fab day out. Well done Torbay. If forced to pick I'd have to say Freckleton, only because I ran it a second quicker though! Date of review: June 25, 2012
In short: Freckleton delivers the goods...and the sunshine...again! In full: Bias out the way first, I got a new PB by 30 seconds, so chuffed with that! But taking that out the occasion there is something a bit special about Freckleton. It seems to retain the charm, quaintness and seemingly shambolic nature of a village fete, yet at the same time as keeping that tradition manages to run a slick, professional and modern race with excellent organisation and now with chip timing. I really wish they could bottle that atmosphere for some other races. My wife and her friends came to enjoy the day out, yes the sunshine helped, but they had a lovely relaxing day cheering people on with plenty to do in the meantime whilst waiting for the runners. Although the general atmosphere means that I would class this as a beginner friendly event you need to respect the course. Although there are no climbs there are several long gentle slopes that can really sap the energy out of you in the first half of the race and you can end up hanging on a bit towards the end. Yes, it is on open roads for part of the way, but it seems to be such a long term fixture that the local residents seems to be very generous and polite in getting past the runners, I've never seen a problem. A quick word has to go out to all the marshalls, very efficient, friendly and encouraging. But that does not really tell the whole story; as far as I can tell the whole community seems to get involved in this, if they are not out helping with one of the very frequent (and needed!) water stations they are all waiting in the last mile to cheer you home - not forgetting that every village on the way seems to be out in force cheering! This along with Torbay HM are probably my equal favourite HMs, both well organised with unique and welcoming atmospheres. You will no doubt shortly be seeing some posts on here decrying the lack of a tshirt and goody bag at the end as Freckleton have always gone their own way (although I quite like the mini kit back we got this year); but to my mind the most important thing is that they continue to deliver a well organised race at a reasonable price, I'm not that fussed about a few vouchers, tshirts and mini bits and pieces. Well done to all concerned on another excellent Freckleton HM Date of review: June 17, 2012
In short: Great fun, the wind stayed away, the dogs came out to play. In full: Cracking 10k, another one of these slightly smaller races that bigger ones could learn lots off. Well organised, plenty of marshals, wide space for running, no wind today meant a course just set for PBs.
Also incredible value for money with a very generous goody bag, medal and one of the best tshirts I've received.
There were three of us that entered and one girl was doing this as her first race and didnt realise she needed a number! Realised this last minute that she hadnt received it and Adrian the race director managed to get it sorted for us. Apologies for the cock up and not checking sooner, but was really nice to see it sorted so easily when we should have checked days ago!
One very minor gripe would be it all being a bit squashed up at the end, not necessarily for the runners, but for the people already having finished trying to get backwards and forwards from the car park. Not the end of the world and maybe another route backwards and forwards from the car park might be possible? The race director was trying to get more room for people having finished the race but people were squashed up trying to get out. As I said, this is a very minor quibble and only posted for the attention of the organisers as they seem like the type of people who want to get everything spot on.
Overall this goes right up there with some of the other great friendly local runs that seem to be outdoing the big boys in friendliness, VFM and general organisation aimed at the runners and spectators having a good day.
Well done to the Mad Dog, will definitely be back next year! Date of review: February 12, 2012
In short: Come to Stockport and visit the town's second best toilet facilities! In full: What to say about this? No chip timing, somebody nicked the drinks tables, the start line fell over, zippy got in my way on the second lap of the track and is the only long distance race I've done where you get lapped within 600 metres!!
Looking at that, it sounds rubbish, but how wrong could you be. The funniest compère at any race ever, who inbetween the humour about the toilets and the largest brick structure in Europe was really informative. It is not a traffic free race, so the marshals had to contend with impatient Stopfordians trying to get out and do their Christmas shopping, driving wind and rain and a full cast of a 1000 runners. But what a job they did; smiling, cheerful and full of humour ('dont worry, it carries on uphill round the next corner'!). To cap it all you get to start on a proper track and fulfil your Olympic ambitions by overtaking round the final bend coming into the finish straight!
When you're done there is a selection of home made chilli, hot pot and cakes.
Finally the hills, for people like me they are going to make a PB very difficult, two long climbs, both nearing the mile mark in total? That is a lot of climbing in a ten mile race! But for me they werent too bad as they were long rather than steep which I find more cope-able.
The goody bag is brilliant and a well designed long sleeve top which is a true memento of the day. Loved the 'medal'!
A long review from me, but felt as my marks are a bit low in places they needed explaining. Just look at the overall mark and the atmosphere, for me that is what really counts and what makes it such a fun day that is a real credit to Stockport Harriers and all the volunteers who set up this truly exceptional end of season race.
Very, very impressed! Date of review: December 12, 2011
In short: Well organised, beginner friendly, but watch out for the climbs! In full: Overall a fantastic race for my first marathon. Very well organised, plenty of friendly and helpful volunteers everywhere. Loads of people came out to cheer you at all the little villages along the way.
Lovely setting for the start and finish, yes occasionally you were stuck out in the countryside but for me I prefer that than going through towns and 'sights'. It is beginner friendly and I'm sure for more experienced runners it does have PB potential, but just a warning to first timers (like me) those climbs in the second half of the race really do sap the energy if you werent prepared like me!
Overall I would do it again and hope that they dont ruin it by turning it into a larger event, a few thousand is about right as the car parking system was already creaking at the edges. We decided to wait it out and spent the afternoon cheering on the runners coming in after 5 and 6 hours. Date of review: October 12, 2011