In short: My First Marathon - God it hurts! In full: My first marathon, after starting running 10 months ago. Done 3 half marathons and some 10k events so can't compare it to other full marathons.
Organisation good, starting venue had good facilities although they were still erecting the portable urinal screening half hour before the race, and took them down again 4ish hours later so a bit of a waste. Usual queue for toilets but no massive issues.
Drink stations very good, with water and isotonic. Marshalls very friendly, especially those as you turn into the tower block area on the end of each lap, really helped you lift spirits.
Mile marking was very good, better than some bigger organised events I've been to.
Route was pretty varied, only issue was a short section of loose stone/mud path that looked likely to cause injury.
Medal is decent, the logo'd hand towel/flannel is a bit tight when even 10k events give you technical tops nowadays. Probably useful for the gym.
I enjoyed it but messed up my strategy, got caught up running with better runners for first few miles and regretted it at the end. Although there was a 5hr time limit some of the runners were coming through at 5.20 and still getting times. Finish line is by a playground so handy for the support crew (wives/husbands) to amuse the kids whilst waiting for you.
Timing is done off a chip, but no mat on start line so presume start time taken from a gun. Could be an issue if you started at the back and were going for a PB I suppose. Will probably do again next year. Date of review: November 20, 2011
In short: A great flat half course, ideal for first timers or PB In full: My first half and really enjoyed it.
I liked the free choice of starting group based on your expected finish time. I'd previously done a few organised events where once signed up you were stuck in the group for that start time. Great if you're a regular runner but if new to running and training going well you'll end up stuck in a group far slower than your actual pace.
Well organised, good medal, decent post race snacks/drinks. Date of review: November 8, 2011
In short: A well organised half, with great scenery and some hills for challenge. In full: Ran this as my third ever half, and final event before my first Marathon at Luton two weeks after. I thought the event was very well organised and thanks to the countless marshalls etc helping.
Coming from Milton Keynes I struggled with hills, especially the downhills where I just have to idea how to descend with pace or grace and was painful on the knees, but it's all good practice.
Refreshments were water only, but no big issue. The route is very scenic and on the crisp morning it was beautiful, but I imagine had it poured the whole race it would be far less uplifting.
Start area was pretty good but toilets a little lacking (seems the same with every race though).
A good mix of runners, most of a fair speed (vast bulk were under 2hs) unlike some of the bigger events I've been to.
Was aiming for 10min miles as practice for a 'hoped' marathon pace and ended up bang on that at 2h10m. Probably could have managed nearer 1h50m had I gone for it, but hills would have prevented much faster.
Would recommend it! Date of review: November 7, 2011