In short: Not the prettiest, but hey we ran through Wembley! Oh and I met Mo In full: Must admit I had reservations about entering this, I did Hackney by the same organisers last year and it deserved all the negative comments it got. But credit where it;s due the organisers had clearly learnt from their mistakes.
I think some of the comments about getting there are harsh and reflect a lack people's own forsight. Considering people were running the race that was causing the road closures how could they not have envisaged the disruption? Likewise people travelling on the tube, you don't need to have been to Mill Hill East to know that it's a tiny station... Peronally the train to New Southgate and a bus from there was easy enough.
Being picky the race village could have done with a few more signs, my bag drop was excellent (no queue either time) but my friend waited 10 minurtes to get their bag back. Good to see a variety of reasonable priced food and to have somewhere inside to keep out of the cold.
The route was bland, but North London residential streets are always going to be bland. It was surprisingly undulating but certainly not slow. It was incredibly well stewarded by profesionals rather than volunteers and on 2 occassions I saw them dealing effectively with aggressive motorists. Water (unlike hackney) was plentiful, station were frequent, well staffed and with the exception of the one by Wembley stadium well located. Bands were a nice touch and plenty of locals were out giving support
Wembley was brilliant. The approach to the stadium had a real buzz and to run on the pitch with an announcer and your name on the big screen was a unique experience. Likewise finishing at The Saracens was cool. Those people who are complaining about the walk to the start clearly don;lt understand that without the start where it was then the stadium finish couldn;t have happened
Text with my chip time before I'd got me bag back was super efficient, lovely medal and a tech top that is a nice enough and good enough quality to actually wear.
Oh and we bumped in to Mo before the start and he was friendly enough to pose for picture - top man! Date of review: March 18, 2015
In short: More of the same from Portsmouth In full: Second year running this event (I've also done the full) and it's reputation speaks for itself. Excellent organisation, an interesting and scenic course, decent bling, great atmosphere and if the wind is ever kind it has the potential to be far faster than times suggest. I'll likely be back next year Date of review: February 23, 2015
In short: I'd echo all the other positive reviews - LOVED this event In full: I know Portland well, the course actually passes my friend's house and it is an Island I love. It is beautiful. I've ran there before (the local club have an event in the summer) so knew it would be tough and it was. This event is brutal and shouldn't be underestimated but it is worth it for the amazing course and scenery. The other reviews sum it up and mean that this event will likely score very high in RW's end of year 'best of lists' and rightly so. I'll be back next year, might even be brave enough to enter the full! Date of review: February 23, 2015
In short: Cracking evemt In full: Really enjoyed this event. The course was a nice mix of trail and road and pretty much flat. Well marshalled and excellent organisation. Nice medal and fantastic value. Hard to fault this event Date of review: November 30, 2014
In short: 2nd year I've run this and again I totally loved it - cracking event In full: This is what I said last year: "Easy to see why it gets such consistently good reviews and there is little that can be added. Great race, great atmosphere, great organisation and a fantastic course. A real must do event."
There is really not much else to say. Nice touch to see 100s of free photo's on fabebook within hours of the event finishing.
In short: Cracking event In full: Having lived in St Evenage for a few years I finally did my 'home' event. Never bothered previously as I really didn't like the old course but this year's new course was much more appealing.
The course was pretty much all on cyclepaths which are perfect for a race of this size. The marshalling was fantastic and considering the weather they were almost all remarkably cheery and supportive as were the few supporters scattered around the course.
Not the flashiest of medals (I do like my bling) but acompanied by a t-shirt I'm not complaining.
Definitely an event I'll do again Date of review: November 2, 2014
In short: Not the most inspiring course but faultless organisation and a fabulous In full: It's easy to see why this race gets such good reviews the atmosphere and support from locals is unbelievable and the organisation is faultless. Some really nice touches such as signs welcoming overseas runners and even one wishing people happy birthday.
The course is fairly uninspiring as it is all in suburbia, there are a few narrow sections, it's undulating and there are lots of twists and turns. But the organisation more than makes up for this, easily visible signs warning of approaching turns were particularly appreciated. As were the frequent and considering the unseasonal heat well stocked water stations.
Race village was well laid out, baggage quick and friendly, a nice medal - really hard to fault anything Date of review: September 29, 2014
In short: Some real highlights but some serious organisational shortcomings In full: At the time of posting this review the overall mark is 70% and that's about right. There is lots to be positive about but ultimately some serious shortcomings and failings on the part of the organiser.
To get to Hackney for an 0900 start on a Sunday is a tough ask. Countless tweets, facebook statuses and even a text message telling me to plan my journey doesn't alter the fact that for many people getting to Startford before 0800 is a tough if not impossible ask. And the organisers were very ambitious suggesting it was just a 20 minute walk to the start. That said the bag drop was fast and efficient (and also was at the end of the event too) meaning that although I arrived late it wasn't a rush.
Start pens were an utter joke. 9500 people funneling in from the back made it difficult if not impossible to get to the front if you needed to be. Why there was no side access and why it wasn't regulated is beyond me.
Why have some Z list celebrity start the event when all he does is plug his CD and make dismissive comments about running? The deathly silence was both cringe-worthy and unintentionally hilarious.
Mile markers. Some were way out 1/4 or 1/2 a mile - how does that even happen?
The course, as an ex resident of hackney I loved the first 9 or 10 miles. And the atmosphere and support was really special. Last few miles in the Olympic Park, well most of is was up and down access roads. I thought it would be special . It wasn't.
I don't race for goody bags but it's a bit of a piss take to harp on pre-event about a 'premium goody bag' when it is nothing of the sort.
And finally water. I echo all other comments. Inexcusable to run out. I reckon there were 3500+ people behind me at the first water station and no more than a couple of hundred pouches left. Inexcusable. I don't enjoy seeing dozens of collapsed people including people that are unconscious and others receiving IV fluids. Oh and running out is bad enough but encouraging people not to drink in that heat was downright irresponsible and I can't help but suspect linked to the shorages on course Date of review: June 23, 2014
In short: I loved this event In full: My second year doing this and the fact that I rarely do the same event twice speaks volumes. It's not the cheapest, the goody bag is poor and the medal is the same as last years with just a different ribbon to differentiate the year. But despite that, it's a cracking event and I love it.
The price is undeniably steep but includes admission to the zoo and with a cheap admission for supporters the event's actual cost, when compared to the cost of 2 us both attending the zoo for the day was in effect minimal.
Not convinced that it's a PB course, but others seem to disagree. It's certainly not that hard though. 3 laps mean it's good for supporters who can enjoy a walk around the zoo before it's open and also see plenty of the race.
But it's the scenery that makes this race, it really is a quite surreal setting and for the second year running I witnessed the rhino's charge across their paddock as I ran past - a truly unique experience.
Atmosphere is great, a mix of club and fun runners, some in fancy dress - and even a hen do this year! And then the rest of the day in the zoo spotting others wearing medals and looking increasingly weary!
In short: One of the best kept secrets on the running calender In full: This event must be one of the best kept secrets on the running calender with less than 70 starters. I feel lucky to have friends on the rock and to be one of the few non locals running it. A glorious course primarily on cliff paths around the island and this year glorious weather to highlight just how beautiful Portland's coastline is. The course is brutally hard, I was 40 minutes outside my PB, the winner took over 90 minutes and only a handful of runners inside 1hr 45 - I doubt many races suit the "suicidal - hard as nails" rating as much as this one. Support is limited as you would expect on such a lowkey event but marshalls were all friendly and supportive. And all for a tenner with a great medal too! Date of review: May 20, 2014