In short: 20 miles and no official result! In full: The four laps of this course wasn't as bad as you might think four laps could be. Of course it's around one of the dullest parts of the UK but it doesn't get to you as much as you might think. The course was very accurate and flat.
The locals seem to have an absolute hatred for the race though. The organisers don't get any roads closed so you're sort of competing against angry drivers at various points of the course, some of which accelerate to try to take you out. The marshals mainly just smile and say well done which is lovely of them but one marshal waved a car down a road just as I was crossing so not entirely sure she warranted a yellow jacket as I had incorrectly presumed their remit was to make the race as safe as they could. You also get people itching to pull into their driveways as you run past so you have to alter your pace to avoid getting mangled in their wheels.
At this point in time I have had to use my Garmin for timing. After running 20 miles for the first time ever I would've liked an official result but it seems that gremlins in the works prevented my chip from registering on the finish line (it beeped on all of the laps just not at the end I don't think). I have emailed them to ask why i'm not in the official results, but they haven't responded.
The toilet queue is not worth bothering with at the start as it is far too long, everyone opted to pee in the bushes including a few females. There were no goodies at the end. The medal was alright though.
The army cadets on the route handing out drinks were very good though and they had bins for the cups at all the right places.
I only ran this in prep for the Brighton Marathon and I think the organisers know this is a terrible race that people just use to train for marathons. However, we should really call their bluff and do a 20 mile training run without using this naff event. Date of review: March 13, 2013
In short: Loved it! In full: This was my third Half Marathon and the easiest yet. As previous reviewers have said, there are undulations but no killer hills. Every hill gives you back a down hill (actually, I felt like I ran the down hills first then had to make up for it with a slight up hill!). The scenery is great on country roads and this year we had great weather. A highlight was the venture through Christ's Hospital with a marching band and some very lovely supportive kids. It was quite early in the race but I felt great with their uplift. Everything runs smoothly and works well. I have the smallest gripe ever that the official race programme purported to list every entrant in the race, but terminated after Pa in the alphabet. With a surname beginning with S I was a little bit sad my name wasn't in it. Bit of a screw up but every other aspect was great. Loved receiving a silver medal for finishing in the top 300 and set myself a PB (4 minutes quicker than before). You can definitely set a PB on this gently undulating course. Date of review: September 30, 2012
In short: One of my favourite WSFRL races In full: This is one of the few WSFRL races I have run more than once (having started running only 2 years ago). I run for Burgess Hill Runners so the journey is a little long for us and therefore we didn't have a great turnout this year. I was a bit sad about this because I genuinely think this is one of the nicer races on the circuit and worth travelling for. There is quite a long lasting hill at the beginning and the rest of the race isn't all down hill again but these undulations present a challenge and some variety rather than an obstacle and if you eat up an undulating race then you could set a good time here in theory.
One aspect I actually quite like is that for a small portion you get to see the race leaders whizz past you going the other way. Some fellow racers seem discouraged by this but I actually like that!
The start is a little crowded and there is little space to go back to support your fellow racers (not without getting quite rightly shouted at by the marshals!) but it's still a charming race and it doesn't really spoil things. However, the race seemed to start 50-100m further back up the road this year I think, so in order to maintain the exact 5m/8k distance I thought they could've done with moving the finish 50-100m further up which would've meant finishing in an area where more people could stand and cheer.
Worth mentioning that the facilities at the village hall are good. They make a lot of effort to provide cake and refreshments so remember to take some pocket money with you and support this club in their efforts. I forgot this year and stood watching my team mate eating a huge bit of very very reasonably priced chocolate cake! Date of review: September 3, 2012
In short: One day they'll get this right? In full: This was my first Half Marathon and was a complete disaster for me. We got there an hour before the start to find there were already huge queues for the toilets. Then once we'd been we discovered the bagging area was a long distance from the start line. Went to give our bags in and were told to write a tag out (5-10 mins to go before the start). Having received conflicting info on their website and through the post we really didn't know the process. Wrote it out, gave the bag in only to discover my number had gone missing. Went back to the table where I wrote the tag....not there. Got the girls to give me my bag back, looked inside, nothing....and my jogging bottoms had already disappeared. As it was then 9am I told my mate to start and went to the info desk with my bag. At about 9.10 the queue for the info desk hadn't even moved and a call went out that people 'had to start or they couldn't do it'. Having trained for weeks and having been sponsored I decided I had to run (with my bag still on my back). Sprinted to the start line and chased the back markers (I may have even been the last person to start). I ran it with my bag on my back, no number, not sure whether I'd be allowed a medal and in a generally foul/upset mood. Completed it in a reasonable time and got my medal luckily. Everyone who sponsored me wished me well but I had no official time, just a time on my GPS that said 1:48:52 for 13.5 miles (I had thought it seemed out at the 9 mile mark where my watch said 9.4 miles and everyone kept beeping well before each marker!). Well, i'd make this forum sound like a broken record if I mentioned their national news worthy balls up...but as everyone else got their chip timing 'adjusted' I didn't feel honest adjusting my own based on the software I plug my watch in to.
Therefore I signed up to do Eastbourne to negate this rubbish day (which I did).
I was very surprised to pay so much money for something so poorly organised. I can blame no one but myself for the majority of the incident, but the poor organisation definitely added to how flustered I was leading up to the race which was surely a factor in me losing my race number (yes, I now pin my number to my shirt before leaving the house!!). The goody bag isn't important but a carrier bag with 2 leaflets in was pointless. Just don't give one out! Get someone to hand out leaflets! Messages on Facebook went out the night before saying they urgently needed volunteers. Surely our entry fee ought to pay for some kind of guarantee they'd staff the race properly.
I realise some of these moans are things I might come to realise are standard in races as my experience grows, but for my first half marathon it was a little bit surprising for me.
I'd do this again purely because I think it's a good course for a PB, but they are going to have to fix A LOT of issues before next year or they'll find the really decent runners will start to avoid this one. Date of review: March 6, 2012
In short: In at the steep end! In full: I had run my first ever half 2 weeks before (Brighton) which wasn't without issues so signed up for this one at the last minute.
I was told about 'the hill'. After having hill trained I felt quite cocky about the hill but for the first time in my life I found myself walking during a run (although not for as long as I thought I had according to my GPS watch) as I had severely underestimated it. I could see my chances of a PB disappear but as I bombed down the hill on the other side I reclaimed every second back that I needed to stay on track.
The weather was terrible and blustery off the coast, through no fault of the organisers. I got a PB of 1:44:54 which I was pleased with (has set a target of 1:45:00!).
The people of Eastbourne were lovely in supporting us and so were the marshals. It wasn't as big or 'atmospheric' as Brighton but I actually enjoyed the support more as the locals made an effort to come out and clap on such a horrid day. Presumably the girls on the 11 mile (roughly) mark were the famous ones I'd read about from previous years. Very enthusiastic, was tempted to stop and hug them but decided it was inappropriate!
The only downers for me: A bit bottle necked at the start. I ran about 50 metres then had to stop again. It doesn't eat into your time much and considering that a lot of races have their bottle necks it wasn't too bad, but just frustrating that it wasn't BEFORE the chip time was started.
The last 50m back into the field were very churned up and I had no footing at all. Was a bit gutted as my team mates were cheering me on and I felt a burst of energy but all I could do was slowly skid to the finish. It cost me about 5 seconds probably (so nothing to worry about) but a shame about the glory of darting over the line!
I would recommend this race to people as one to 'tick off' the list, but I'm not sure I'd do it again just because I found this extremely gruelling with the hill and the weather (which I acknowledge might be lovely in future years!). If I don't do it again, it won't be as a result of any criticisms of the organisation or the cost though. Date of review: March 6, 2012