In short: Home Marathon so ill try not to be biased but VERY good all round. In full: Having done a couple of GNRs and the London Marathon I wanted to experience a smaller local event with a small field so that it was more a race than a "fun-run" like the above races tend to be now-a-days.
This was my first time at Leicester, I turned up a bit late but managed to see Claire Lomas (the London Marathon Bionic Woman) up close and certainly got a sense of atmosphere on Viccy Park which was more than I was expecting.
The course was mainly flat, the odd short hill and a flyover within the first couple of miles and out into the country side. The half splits away from the full at about 6 miles and turns back into the city and the field thins out massively so you are on your own. There are a couple of short hills, nothing major, and level crossings however I wasn't held up at any of these - I imagine that some unlucky people would have been though. One dodgy part was running down an alleyway between some houses.
POSITIVES Well organised on the day and everything you needed at the finish and nothing you didn't. Water, banana, t-shirt (nice design) and medal. Free massages were also on offer and the que was fairly short too.
Marshals were absolutely fantastic, as we're the cadets at the water stations who were very encouraging and also informative.
Local support, whilst thin on the ground, was excellent by the people who where there, especially in the cafes and pubs. This isn't the GNR or London so I wonder why people expect huge crowds. I had more support here than I did in the Great Manchester Run that's for sure.
Fast course, whilst its not busy you can push on for speed, especially between miles 6-19. I was not in the best shape going into this race and expected to struggle, which I did but still managed to knock 13mins off my PB.
NEGATIVES Website is rubbish, doesn't have much info and looks amateur.
Disqualification for wearing headphones - come on, stupid rule. Thousands of runners train in traffic with headphones without the benefit of marshals controlling traffic so I think we should be able to cope in a controlled race situation.
Lack of publicity pre-race. This is a huge opportunity for Leicester to show itself off and this event could be a LOT bigger if they just but a bit of effort into publicising it a bit more. That way you wouldn't get a load of confused shoppers wondering what the hell is going on!
Silver medals for half/bronze for full? Hmmm, not sure about that, either have a neutral colour scheme or Gold for full and silver for half.
All in all a very good race, enjoyed it and it exceeded expectations, I'd give it a strong 8/10 and will be back next year. Date of review: October 16, 2012
In short: Not quite as good as last year. In full: Perhaps it's because I was looking back at 2011 (my first 1/2 Marathon) with Ross-tinted specs but for some reason this years didn't quite match up to what I was expecting.
Although I had an Orange number, I elected to start back in the first White Zone with my running partner (same pen as last year). Once again, people clearly lie about their times on their application forms as a common sight within the first mile is people walking, making a mockery of the whole system. I found myself getting very frustrated with people stopping dead in front of me from mile 2 onwards.
That said the atmosphere is good, seemed less so than last year even on the last mile but I suppose that was because of the rain. Can't be helped. The novelty of the Red arrows absolutely makes this event and its brilliant that the go over at the start so everybody has a chance to see the, at least once. Luckily I finish ft enough to see the display later on too!
The medal is of good quality but I notice that it was the same template design as the Great Manchester Run from earlier in the year. At well over £40 per race I would expect a unique design, ESPECIALLY for the GNR, arguably their flagship event.
I sound like I'm moaning a lot when in reality I thoroughly enjoy my weekend in the North East and as a stand alone event (not race) the experience can't be beaten. I have two races left on my membership and can't wait to get up there next year, I'll just make sure that my entry form has a time that might make Gebrselassie sweat. Date of review: October 5, 2012
In short: Expect nothing less from a Great Run event. In full: A very good race and atmosphere for a big inner city race - has inspired my two supporters to try it next year!
My only qualm (an it is only a small gripe) is that the fences surrounding the starting pens need to be 6/7ft tall to stop people climbing over at the front.
Other than that was worth the 250mile round trip and the t-shirt/goody bag/medal was of very high quality. Dirt time I've got a finishers t-shirt that I would actually wear for anything other than slogging around the house! Date of review: May 21, 2012
In short: 1st Half Marathon and 1st GNR - absolutely fantastic In full: Got down to the first White pen (E) about 1 1/2 hrs before the start, great atmosphere from then onwards, saw some of the "celebs" and enjoyed all the razzmatazz pre-race. Did not get stuck in too much traffic and the support from the locals was fantastic. Before the race I was hoping for a time of 2h 15m which I thought was a bit optimistic - actually finished in 1h 51m so over the moon. The finish area was very good too - still with a good atmosphere and was topped off by the Red Arrows display. Could not recommend this race highly enough. The only downside is I know I can never run this for the first time again so the surprises will be gone!!! Date of review: September 20, 2011