In short: An old-school race, aimed at locals and making sport visible in the community again. In full: The initial attraction of the Waltham Forest Half Marathon was participating in a sporting event in my local area (well, it was the closest half marathon to Haringey anyway...). I knew it was going to be small, I knew it was going to be minimal, and I knew that the route was going to be pretty urban. I had also read the race reviews from previous years and knew that the organisers had faced issues with marshaling, directing runners and managing busy roads. With this in mind I was surprised to enjoy the race as much as I did and to run such a fast time.
The organisation of the event seemed very smooth to me. There were no panics or confusions at the start, marshals were in abundance along the course and they shouted very clear directions to all of us we ran past. The roads were not closed, but marshals were equiped with lollypop-style signs and police helped out on bicycles to hold the roads up along the way. 4 (maybe 5) water stations were in place along the way and pretty perfectly spaced out in my opinion. It was a very no-frills affair, but I can't think of anything extra that I would have wanted there.
The support from local residents along the way was fabulous and the marshals' enthusiasm was tireless and appreciated. Highlights include the school children who dedicated their Sunday morning to cheering on their fundraising teachers and parents in Walthamstow, the family who handed out Haribo, and the marshal on Hainault Road who woke residents up with her cheering and made them join in the support.
A fabulous race and a fabulous addition to the local community calendar. I'm already looking forward to next year's. Date of review: April 10, 2013
In short: A truly enjoyable race. In full: This was one of the nicest races I have ever run. It had a wonderful atmosphere from the very beginning, akin to local Parkruns, owing in part to its fairly small size and also to the excellent organisation.
The race follows the Thames tow path, and so whilst the signage was brilliantly executed at tricky corners, road crossings and bridge crossings, it did not impose on the scenery of the course. The course itself was not closed off from the public, and so some narrower parts of the path will see you dodging bicycles, dogs and walkers, but for the most part everyone is friendly enough.
The course is not exactly PB material, but it is such a beautiful route that it's totally worth running. And the organisation, though minimal, was so flawless that it transformed any racing stress into a delightful summer run. Date of review: August 5, 2011