In short: Expected this popular race to be a reasonable day out, but organisational failures made for disappointment. In full: Expected this popular race to be a reasonable day out, but organisational failures made for disappointment.
Personally I feel a race with this size of field and cost deserves a medal (especially as it was the 30th anniversary race), but at least we knew there was no medal in advance, and it is a charity race (I'd prefer a medal to yet another t-shirt but I know that's just me). Also the organisers can't be blamed for the weather, but...
- Bag drop. Maybe flimsy paper tags for bags on a rainy November day aren't a great idea? Despite there being some kind of system, the queue at the bag drop was excessive, especially at the start. This also made for delays getting to... - The toilets - why were there no urinals! People were still queueing for cubicles when the race was starting. Of course no-one wants to see runners weeing against local buildings or trees, but some obviously felt there was no other option, so the organisers must share the blame. - Uncertainty about the start time. For anyone a little way back there was no real indication of when the gun had gone. No countdown, and people still making their way to the start from the start pens. The pens for different pace groups were well laid out, so this was a shame. - The finish line was poorly signed, robbing many of a sprint finish. Apparently the weather meant the finish arch couldn't go up, but surely something could have been done? - Apparently the water at the halfway point ran out quite early on, leaving many without. I didn't witness this personally, but it's a schoolboy error for a race organiser and it's potentially dangerous. - The results took well over 24 hours to be released, and then they were a mess. People with results missing, people with multiple results. They have now been sorted out but there were no explanation for the delays and errors.
I currently have no interest in doing this race again. Date of review: November 17, 2015
In short: Nice route and weather. Terrible organisation (and a disappointing "medal") In full: I wanted to do this race because I'd heard it was a friendly well-organised race, plus I was intrigued by the boxed commemorative medal.
Well. At the start, long toilet queues (why never any urinals!) and a dodgy bag-drop (even I could tell that label was never going to stick) and a disorganised start funnel.
Then a nice race in the sunshine on quiet lanes, with some support (although not that busy or friendly - no high-fiving kids, pubs with beer stations, etc).
But the end was where it really fell apart. The layout meant it was tricky to get around from watching friends finish, past the congested finish, across a muddy field and a busy road to the hellish bag-drop queue. The bag-drop itself was a disorganised nightmare. Not only had the label come off my bag, but after I described it everyone looking ignored my bag because someone else's label (and race number) had stuck to it! Eventually I had to come around the desk and find it myself. Real p-up-in-a-brewery-stuff. The organisers were VERY lucky the weather was mild and sunny, or a queue of that length could have been a real disaster.
Oh, and the "medal"? Well in my book, a medal has a ribbon, or at least a hole for a ribbon. This was an (undated) coin in a cheap plastic holder.
Definitely does not justify the sell-out reputation. I won't be doing this race again. Date of review: January 20, 2014
In short: A beautifully scenic friendly race. Shame about the traffic particularly at the finish. In full: As a Coniston 14 virgin I was very much looking forward to this non-standard distance (no PB to beat!) in spring, so I was disappointed when the snow got the better of it earlier in the year. But the organisers made the wise call with plenty of time for runners to change their plans, and it's to their great credit that they postponed, rather than cancelled, the race.
So on Saturday that decision was rewarded with some very welcome sun breaking through the clouds and providing beautiful views across the lake. I was sorely tempted to stop and take some photos as we flew down the aptly named Sunny Bank but of course my camera-phone would never have done the scenery justice.
Spirits were high and as well as some friendly local support I found myself swapping comments with a few other runners. Perhaps I should have been pushing harder but I do find a bit of banter helps make the miles fly by. :) I found the drinks stations fine - paper cups aren't ideal for drinking out of but it always seems crazy to cart plastic water bottles across the country to be thrown - almost full - in the ditch.
I was surprised to see quite a few cars (in both directions) on the west side of the lake, although they didn't really get in the way. But after reading last year's reviews I had expected the finish line problems to be sorted. Hence it was pretty frustrating to come round the final bend at the top of Lake Road, ready for my final sprint down the hill, and find a car a few metres away blocking the whole road. It was also heading down the hill towards the lake, and of course it had to move slowly due to runners in front of it. Hence I had to decide between walking behind it for the last 200 metres (after running almost 14 miles) or squeezing past it through the narrow gap which I did. I overheard a spectator saying "isn't that terrible" and I do think it's shame that in our car-dominated society we can't close a road like this to cars for just a couple of hours of the year and for an event of this size. Date of review: October 14, 2013
In short: Good organisation and a nice race despite the freezing wind! In full: Agree with pretty much everything in other reviews, although my friends and I did get mars bars in our goody bags, which perhaps made the walk back to the car easier - I think Nia was just unlucky. :)
I was also a late transfer, and was v. impressed that this was allowed - nice to have my real name on the results list, thank you Malcolm. All the organisation seemed spot-on. Clear closed roads. Loads of marshals despite very chilly conditions, which is always reassuring. Plus the support in general was great considering the cold; high-fiving smiling kids always makes for a bit of a distraction.
Nice medal, and I quite like the "red sock left in the wash" pink technical t-shirt. I know these bump the cost up, but personally I'd rather pay a little more and have the momentos.
The clear views across the fields and farm buildings meant you could appreciate the rural setting (although there was often little shelter from the wind). I think it's fair to describe the course as undulating. Not steep, but I've run flatter ones. Much of the course seemed to be a (slight) gradient one way or the other. The steep down-then-up at 12.5 miles was particularly unwelcome, especially with the headwind, but it was soon over! Date of review: March 25, 2013
In short: Manchester lower-key friendly atmos 10k In full: Obviously this is a much smaller event than the Great Manchester run but I'll compare it anyway. This one has less of the excitement, but perhaps a more friendly feel than the anonymity of a large commercially run race.
The athletics track start and finish is really nice, and makes it better value for money - it is cheap - but for my money they could have replaced the whole goody bag and contents with one medal and I would have been happier. Even the kids got a medal and they only paid 3 quid. Liverpool half did this well - no bags, water, boxes of bananas, a medal and a technical t-shirt each - it seemed to go down well there. Date of review: June 24, 2012