In short: Potential for a great race with PB-friendly gradients, needs basic things such as mile markers, removing some of the tedium, cobbles and sharp turns such as round the marina would be obvious for next year. In full: I only decided to run this race the previous weekend and was looking forward to it. I thought it was a little pricey but know that policing, marshalling, general organisation does not come for nothing. The alternatives were the Great Welsh Marathon which seemed a little dull course-wise and the Greater Manchester Marathon which was even more expensive. In Hull's favour was the 8am start time which is ideal for long distance races (anyone who ever ran the Potteries Marathon with its 11am start in mid-June will know what I mean!!).
I stayed at the Green Dragon, Welton as I fancied a decent sleep the night before. I had to leave at 6.50am to pick up my number and chip. It would have been better to have done it the day before but the desk in the shopping centre closed at 2pm and I didn't fancy "wasting" a whole afternoon. As there was virtually no-one about I turned at the road closed signs and found a free car park less than 3 minutes' walk from the start. The City Hall (for number/chip collection) was another 2 minutes' walk further on. This part of the process was very smooth and well-organised.
At the scheduled start time, there was no pre-race build up on the tannoy, simply a very loud cannon signalling the start.
I thought I'd missed the first two mile markers and could hear the pings from other folks' GPS devices. As the race unfolded I realised that it was by design not to use markers, except for one at 13 miles (not halfway!). Fortunately having already completed 18 marathons, I was able to judge my pace pretty well but I felt sorry for those that could not. I occasionally saw road markings (16 and 23) but could not be certain that these were mile markers.
There were some cobbled sections which were hard to run on with tired legs. Also, there was a section which started and finished by the marina which just seemed to go on and on with tight turns (including a spiral one!?!). It was unclear as to where the turning point was (a marshal told me to turn at a "large round chunk of metal in 200 yards") but I saw other runners who'd gone up a flight of steps and were looking lost!!!
Contrary to the advertising, there were no 800m or 400m warning signs however marshals obliged when asked.
At the finish, I was handed my drink, medal and t-shirt but there appeared to be no food on offer so I went back to my car and left after stretching down.
The on course support was good, if sparse, however in the city centre it was very noisy and most welcome.
I would say that the race was very friendly and I left feeling good. I have seen some of the controversy on the internet including the RW forum and feel for those runners who were misdirected. Date of review: April 11, 2012