In short: Worth entering for the finish alone In full: This was my fourth RHM in the last five years and I always have a good time. The weather was atrocious, so the amount of people lining the course was particularly humbling.
Unlike previous years, I started in the second pen from the front and had no troubles in getting into my pace. I know from previous experience how congested it can be the further back you go, so this was particularly welcome.
The dog leg leading up to the stadium was as unwelcome as ever, butI absolutely loved the finish - it's always one of the highlights of my racing year and is certainly the closest I'll ever get to having a crowd cheering for me!
The finish funnel was run with military precision when I went through and I have to say a special thank-you to the men and women handing out blankets, medals and goody bags in the pouring rain - I really appreciated your efforts.
Altogether, this isn't the most scenis of races, but it is a fast course (I got a PB for the second year in a row) with plenty of support and a finish that lives long in the memory. Date of review: March 25, 2013
In short: One of the highlights of my year In full: I've been lucky enough to run in the London and Amsterdam Marathons, the Great South Run and a number of other well-known events in 2012, but I don't think I enjoyed any of them as much as the Leatherhead Fire Station 10km.
As with last year, Clapham Chasers seemed to have brought every member of their club along, but the race didn't feel elitist for us non-club runners as a result and the general atmosphere was very friendly.
The minute's silence was impeccably observed and the gruelling climb over the first 4km was every bit as tough as I remembered, although the view from the top of the hill – not to mention the speedy descent that followed – made the pain more than worthwhile.
The firemen stopping traffic at the main road junction were friendly and encouraging and the route was well signed and easy to follow, ending up back at the fire station where the closing stages are perfect for anyone with enough energy left for a sprint finish.
If I was being ultra-picky, I would have liked the driveway to the fire station to have been cleared of leaves as they were a bit slippy in places, but that's a very minor point.
As much as I love the race (and the PB I managed this time round), I actually only entered so that I could visit the cake stall afterwards and pile on all the calories I burned during the run. I wasn't disappointed.
Thank you for organising such a wonderful event and I'll definitely be back next year. Date of review: November 12, 2012
In short: One of running's truly great experiences - are you really going to complain about a t-shirt?! In full: Having watched the race so many times, I felt incredibly lucky to be actually taking part in my first marathon in London in Olympic year.
The first mile-or-so from the blue pen was very stop/start, but once that cleared I found it fairly easy to get into my rhythm and maintain a steady pace.
The scenery is actually quite dull for large swathes of the run, but to be honest I didn't really notice as I was swept up in the atmosphere. In any case, it was all worth it for moments like rounding Cutty Sark or turning the corner to see Tower Bridge.
The support pretty much all the way around was phenomenal and was responsible for me finishing the race despite my knee caving in at 14 miles. It seemed like every person in London was personally willing me to finish. The encouragement from the youngsters at the water stops was equally inspirational, especially considering how long they must have stood there on race day.
I find it very hard to believe that anyone would take part in this run and then make complaining about the size and quality of the finishers' t-shirt their priority. I actually think it's quite nice, but even if I didn't I wouldn't let it colour my enjoyment of one of sport's great events. I suppose some people just like to complain.
All in all, VLM 2012 will live long in my memory and I'll be back on the course in 2013 whether it's as a runner or a spectator. Date of review: April 24, 2012
In short: Well-organised, friendly event with an excellent atmosphere. Shame about the inaccurate course distance… In full: As with the previous two times I have run the Reading Half Marathon, the atmosphere really made the day. The crowds were out in force and provided no end of encouragement (especially the unofficial Jelly Baby stops).
It was exceptionally busy and the age-old problem of people vastly overestimating their finishing time meant the first two miles were spent dodging slower runners and trying to keep my pace up. It was especially annoying to see one woman walking after no more than half-a-mile with her friend cajoling her into keeping going.
The biggest issue for me (and for almost everyone else with a Garmin, so it seems) was that the course measurements were way out. My watch beeped for the first mile about 50m short of the mile marker and the gaps got greater with every mile thereafter. I know you always run a bit further than the official distance, but my Garmin had me down as travelling 13.32 miles by the end. I ended up with a PB anyway, but it would have been at least a minute quicker if the distances were accurate.
To finish on a positive, the bag collection was the most well-organised I have ever seen – massive credit to the Scouts who were spotting people’s numbers as they approached so their bags were ready and waiting. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: A fun race with exceptional crowds In full: Yes it's busy, but there's no problem if you turn up early and actually listen to the instructions telling you to head for the start.
There probably are too many runners for the width of the course at certain points, but when it opens up it's actually quite quick.
The best bit of today was the constant support all the way around, especially the various bands dotted around the course. The crowds were really noisy and always willing to cheer on a flagging runner even if they didn't know them. Well done all of you!
Overall, probably not the best race for someone aiming for a particularly quick time, but good fun nonetheless. Date of review: March 11, 2012
In short: Good for PBs but not much else In full: The parking issues have already been mentioned, but it really was poorly organised and I felt sorry for the runners who had to jog more than a mile just to get to the start.
That aside, the run is as expected - four laps of a very flat, very fast course with not much to see other than a few sheep and a lot of water. I'm presuming everyone who entered knew what they were signing up for, so criticising the scenery seems a bit harsh. Because the lake is so exposed, it was also very windy which made the first straight hard going at times.
My biggest complaint was with the general atmosphere (again, not something you could blame Human Race for). It may just have been the groups I found myself in, but there was very little banter among the runners and the finish areas seemed a bit subdued as well.
Overall, a great event to gauge how well (or otherwise) your training is going but not one for anyone who likes a lively atmosphere and interesting scenery. Date of review: February 18, 2012
In short: Unpretentious and exceptionally welcoming race In full: Compared to the impersonal feel of bigger events, the Leatherhead 10k was an absolute joy. Brilliantly organised from start to finish, this race felt very special from the moment the runners respected the minute's silence.
The uphill nature of the opening 4k was more of a challenge than I had expected, but a spectacular downhill section afterwards almost made up for the pain. The course was a mix of road and trail, but it was very well signed and the marshals were really encouraging.
After battling to the finish line, the tea and cakes on offer at the fire station were the perfect end to a perfect event. Well done everyone involved! Date of review: November 13, 2011