In short: Great atmosphere but needs ironing out In full: This was the inaugural race so bound to be some teething problems, but it was still a good race. Location was good - plenty of space on the Hackney Marshes, although a bit of a trek from the train station. Wasn't a 20 minute walk from Stratford – it was further than expected and many people were in a bit of a rush! However the race then started late, not sure why this was. I didn’t use the baggage drop or loos, but hear the queues were very long. The route was lined with supporters, so made for a great atmosphere. It was fairly flat – some undulations but nothing steep or long. A few boring out and back sections in the Olympic park – would have been nicer to do a good loop round the site. Most of the run was through neighbourhoods, with only a very small part where you actually felt like you were in London/the Olympic park. It was incredibly hot, and a lot of people fainted/pull out, but there seemed to be good medical arrangements in place. Could have done with at least 1, maybe 2, more water stations, and the energy drink station needed to be much earlier on, around 6-7 miles, not at 11 or 12! Would have been nice if they’d had 2 energy stations (with gels) and these to be additional to – not in the same place as – the water stations. The best part was having residents get their hoses out and cooling off the runners, and I saw some supporters even handing out extra water which they had bought/arranged themselves! However that was down to the supports, not the organisers! The mile markers were off – I missed the 7 miler, and then the 8 and 9 (I think) seemed very close together. Normally there is some variation from my Garmin, but I certainly can’t run a 5 minute mile which apparently I did then! The 13 mi marker was way too early – so not nice for anyone who tried for a sprint finish at that point, and realised there was another quarter of a mile to go!! The goody bag was as expected, it had food and drink (water, some sugary fruit drink, energy bar, nuts, dried fruit and a banana), which is really what you need. The rest was leaflets. No tee-shirt. The medal was quite nice. Last but not least, it was an expensive race, I’m not sure what exactly justified the high cost, perhaps the closure of London roads? (Or the huge marketing/advertising plan!). All in all pretty good for an inaugural race, but not perfect - hopefully next year they will sort out the mile markers and water and make runners feel like we got better value for money. Will probably do it again next year, always good to run in London. Date of review: June 24, 2014
In short: Fantastic race, great organisation In full: Really well organised, very friendly, all standards welcome from 100 Marathon Club runners to newbies. The 17 laps were daunting at first but soon it became comforting as you knew what lay ahead. Although it later became tough heading past the start line over and over still knowing you had several laps to go, I thought it was better to count in laps than miles as there were less of them! It was fantastic to be able to set up your own drinks station and made a nice change to having to carry all your fuel/heavy water bottle etc for hours on end. Some had clearly perfected the art of the personal station with parasols to provide shade, ice buckets and 17 separate water bottles! Only things I would change was there should have been another marshal at the far end before the hill and turn back to the start. Not sure if there's any way of setting up some shade either as the whole area is very exposed and it was a terribly hot day. Goodybag is brilliant, nice showers, changing rooms, cafe, great for spectators. And the medal? Awesome! It's a fab piece of bling to own! Date of review: June 3, 2014
In short: Great fun and mostly well organised In full: Enjoyed this race, from the beginning it was great that they had secured the whole of the Echo arena meaning plenty of shelter for runners and loads of proper loos (didn't queue once!). Only problem was finding how to get to the baggage area on the area floor, no one - Echo staff or marshals - seemed to know and spent ages walking round in circles. Course was most good, showcases the best part of the city but also takes in the parks, however there were some more dull, industrial areas too we had to run through. Not flat at all, but at least good views on the hills! The marshalling was sparse though, while I never got lost I did wonder at some points if I was going the right way. Plenty of water and gels. A few bands and DJs along the way but quite far between, was hoping for them every mile at least. Finish area was excellent, good support, lots of food in the goodybag. The medal is a real stunner and certainly made my day!! Technical tee-shirt's not bad either although only in unisex sizes and same for both the 1/2 and full. Will def do it again, and hopefully another RnR race again soon. Date of review: May 29, 2014
In short: Incredible, electric race! In full: My 2nd time running London and 7th marathon overall, it's just such an incredible race. The crowds are immense, the organisation runs like clockwork and the support is the best you can get. It is like being an olympic athlete for the roaring cheers you get along the entire route. Go for it if you can, a charity place is well worth it too if you don't manage a ballot place. I'm really hoping I can run it again in the future. Yes there are other fantastic marathons that are also well worth it and easier to get into, some with more beautiful routes, but there is just that something about London that really makes it stand out. It feels like the whole city is behind you that day. If you are wondering about applying, or thinking about doing a charity place as you haven't managed to get a ballot place, go for it, you'll never regret it. London will give you everything that you came for and a lot more besides. Date of review: April 15, 2014
In short: Tough race but worth it In full: My 2nd year running this one and the hills were no easier! First tough one at mile 4 and a killer at half way. At least after that you know the hills are going to be smaller and there'll be more downhill! great organisation and marshals were really good. Good opportunity to run with pacers - they catered all the way to 2.30 finishing times. They ask runners to reach 11 miles by 2 hours, to re-open the roads, but there were quite a few who did not managed this, myself included, but we were simply directed to run on the pavements instead after that time, so that was all good. Would have liked food such as a banana or energy bar at the end as a cup of water wasn't much after a race. I loved having a medal this year! Thanks for that touch! Plus a technical tee-shirt (bit big for most ladies, but appreciated al the same). Date of review: February 11, 2014
In short: Great organisation, quite hilly In full: Enjoyed my first time running this race (it had been cancelled last year due to snow). Great organisation especially with having to change the route the day before due to flooding. Race packs had to be picked up on the day but this was all efficient. Long queues for the loos though! I am sure that, being a school, there were more loos around that could have been used but perhaps the organisers were only able to hire the hall and immediate area. Bit of a crowded start on the pavements as we did not have closed roads but once out into the quiet country roads it was fine. Plenty of helpful marshals and enough water stations. A hilly race - although the 2 lap route was easier since it missed out the biggest hill in the original route! - can mess up your pacing if you're not careful! Nice countryside scenery. I was pretty much at the back and was getting overtaken most of the way through the first lap by faster runners already on their second, but was still made to feel welcome and got loads of cheers from the marshals. The race HQ was a bot of a walk from the start/finish but a good facility in a school with an inexpensive canteen and plenty of space. great technical tee shirt (in women's sizes too!) - pink for girls, black for boys. No medal though. It's a local race for me so expect I'll be back year on year. Date of review: January 23, 2014
In short: Well organised race In full: My 2nd time running this race and I enjoyed it. The venue is good with plenty of facilities and shelter from the bitterly cold wind (although no heating). Parking was easier this year - a short walk as the venue is so huge. Heard of problems getting out but we stayed around for a long time afterwards so did not get caught up in the queues to leave.
Race is 2 laps through country roads and villages, with some stretches on closed main roads. Nice scenery. Didn't feel over crowded and good mix of runners (we were pretty near the back!).
Marshals were really excellent and very encouraging, they must have been freezing standing about in the cold for hours yet they still had a smile on their faces.
Drinks were water in cups and 1 stop for Gatorade (also in cups).
The goodybag was nice as it had plenty of food in it - always good! There was also an energy (Red Bull-style) which wasn't great for immediately after running but perfect for the long drive home when feeling tired). Medal was very nice and chunky :) Massage available afterwards for a donation to charity.
No PB for me as was running with 2 friends quite new to running so stuck at their pace but I would say this is a pretty good course for a PB (last year I got a good time here).
Will probably do it again in the future but it is quite a long way for me to travel so probably not every year. Date of review: November 26, 2013
In short: Really tough - steep hills and miles of cross country In full: Just before you go thinking this is just a hilly road marathon – be warned it's brutal!!
About half of the full marathon is off road including deep mud, wet woodland trails, uneven footing. If it rains take it as a cross country trail run and don’t even think about a PB. Plus very hilly. There is virtually no flat and both the climbs and descents are very steep.
Difficult to get a pace going as as soon as you reach the top you are on the way back down before doing it all over again a mile or two later!) As for Helman's Tor, you almost need hiking poles - one point I had my hands out in front holding onto rocks in front!! Mind you, once the sun came out you get fantastic views from coast to coast of Cornwall.
If you like this sort of thing, this is the race for you. For everyone else, it's an amazing race to add to the bucket list. It was my 5th marathon and I wanted to have a go at a trail race. If you just want to enjoy the beautiful scenery and have no worries about a PB then it's a great one to do (add 25-50 mins to your normal road time to give you an idea!).
The marshals were amazing and kept me going - with the small field of runners many were very spread out and if you were near the back like myself they were the only people you might see for hours at a time. They gave out ups of water and at some stations sweets including jelly babies and chunks of Mars bars. They seemed to know just what runners needed and this is because many are runners themselves from the excellent St Austell running club. They asked me how I was getting on and were very encouraging. The marshal/runner at the back who was looking after the back of the pack runners was great (I was among the last for the first 7 or 8 miles before catching up some others!!) – good to talk to and got us going at a decent pace.
The only drawback was there was not much information given out beforehand. Unless you read last event’s reviews early on you may have not realised that the full marathon really is a trail race (more road/tarmac for the half). For example we received race packs several weeks prior and only then did they recommended wearing trail shoes (which are a must!) - however if you have not bought and worn in trail shoes you may have a problem! Also, they mentioned in the info pack about a cut off time for marathon runners (you had to reach the half marathon/full marathon spit point by 1 hrs 50, which is 7.5 miles). If you got injured and were unable to reach this point in time you were told you would have to take the half route and get a half marathon medal instead. HOWEVER when at mile 7 and about to reach the split (which we did, in time) I was told the full marathon ALSO had a total cut off time of 6 hours. I am sure this was not in the race pack. Re-reading it I see the following “We are enforcing a time limit on the marathon” but it only goes on to talk about the 7.5mile point/1 hr 50 min time limit. 6 hours might sound generous to many but such a tough course means that slower runners would struggle – my last road marathon was just over 5 hours but I was close to the limit here in 5.48 and one or two did go over 6 hours. I am not sure if they got their medal – I do hope so! – but they were included in the results so looks like they classed as official finishers. I just wish that 6 hour limit was stressed well before hand – i.e. when first signing up!! If you are a slower runner and not used to trail races you may wish to confirm this with them next year as it would take you considerably longer than a flat road marathon!
The Eden Project was a fantastic venue, easy to get to and park and they had dedicated one of the main buildings for changing, bags, first aid etc. No showers though so bring a whole pack of baby wipes as you are expected to change before entering the public areas.
Perks of the race included a big medal, tee-shirt (cotton, in various sizes), hot pasty in meat and veggie options, a pint and free entry to the Eden Project for runners and supporters.
I am not sure I will do this one again, purely because it is a long way for me to travel but I really recommend giving it a go at least once, it is tough but well worth it. It’s a great, friendly race where you can just go for the sake of running and just enjoying the Corning countryside rather than chasing a PB. Date of review: October 22, 2013
In short: Good route but poor organisation In full: Have to admit I was surprised at the poor organisation of this race, as I have just taken part in the Blenheim Palace and London Triathlons, which along with RTTB are all organised by Challenger World. The triathlons are first class events, brilliantly well run. So not sure what seems to be the problem with RTTB.
Poor way-finding, over-crowded, expensive, 30 min queue for baggage, no food/snacks/foil blanket at the finish line, unhelpful marshals. Maybe they should stick to triathlons.
I hear they are changing the venue HQ to Greenwich Park this year which may ease some of the problems at the O2 but who knows. I've signed up again as once you get running it's a great course with a brilliant atmosphere - loads of supporters out which just about justifies the £50 entry fee. Fairly fast - got a PB last year. However, I'll be coming "ready to run" so I can avoid the baggage queues and making sure I leave plenty of time incase I get lost trying to find the starting pens again!
If they're using the same Nike tee-shirts as the previous 2 years, they come up slightly large, by the way. It has your number printed on it, so if it doesn't fit, you can either cut the tee-shirt up and pin the number/logo bit on your own vest, or join the long queue for a regular bib on the day. Date of review: August 6, 2013
In short: Best. Race. Ever! In full: What can I say that hasn't been said before! I was so lucky to get a place in this extraordinary and it was worth every long, tough mile in both training and on the day. The crowds are magnificent, the scenery exciting, the atmosphere electric. My first VLM and I would love to get a place again some year. London truly is the world's best city for running. Date of review: July 22, 2013