In short: Believe the hype! In full: This was my first marathon and after this it definitely isn't my last.
I did the Chester Half earlier in the year which is also organised by Chris & Andy so the bar had been set high. They didn't disappoint.
Everything ran like clockwork, plenty of volunteers were on hand everywhere willing to help, baggage was painless - to the point where my bag was brought to me after the race.
Support was patchy out on the course but when you are running down miles of country lanes it's going to be that way. It did make it special each time I ran through a village, cheers, bands, shouts of encouragement were all there.
The start and finish at the race course worked really well, plenty of room for everything to be set up and had the space to accommodate everybody. Yes, there were traffic jams getting in and out, but that happens at all large races. You should expect it.
This is also the only race where I've been offered a handshake and a thanks for coming as I cross the line (not that I knew much about it at the time)
Great medal and long sleeved tech t-shirt for finishing, Chris and Andy know what runners want.
In short: £15 and no chip timing! In full: First off, when I pay £15 for a 10k race I expect chip timing as a minimum something that wasn't offered here.
I'm actually at a loss to know what my entrance fee was spent on. The race was ran on paths round the country park and down the canal bank. At no point were the general public either warned we were racing or asked to keep parts of the paths clear. I understand that others want to use the park but for everyone's safety at least warn people there will be runners. I had to dodge round a small child on a bike which could have ended in tears for both of us.
It was a very hot (25+) day so why the race started at 11am in July I will never know, there was an extra water station but when it's plastic cups it might as well not be there!
It's a shame this race is so poorly organised as the setting round Pennington Flash is stunning, but to be honest if you want to run round it go to the parkrun on Saturday; same setting and £15 cheaper! Date of review: July 7, 2013
In short: Clockwork organisation, great atmosphere & ace goodies! In full: You can tell this race is organised by runners, everything a runner needs for a great race day was there. From plenty of toilets pre-race to the gel station at mile 11 and all points between, it was there.
The course mostly consists of country roads which you wouldn't expect to have a great amount of support but almost every house had people outside clapping and cheering the runners on. Several were also offering jelly babies or water.
Apart from the cruel last mile being up hill the course is mostly flat - a small bump at mile 8 was all there was of note.
Decent tech t-shirt (again, just what a runner wants) a big chunky medal and a goody bag full of haribo and chocolate was appreciated.
My first Chester half, but it won't be my last! Date of review: May 12, 2013
In short: A good welcoming 10k race. In full: My only complaint would be the course was changed at short notice (for safety I might add) to include going up a flight of steps twice. Not ideal but did slow down an otherwise fast course.
I'll be back next year. Date of review: May 5, 2013
In short: Flat and fast with nothing to see. In full: The course is a flat fast two laps with nothing to see. There was little to no support out on the course apart from the marshals who were excellent. If you want cheering crowds you need to enter the BUPA 10k.
As mentioned by others it was chip timed but only from the gun - be nice to see this chip to chip but as the roads are not closed this may be a logistical issue more than anything else.
Bottom line, if you want a fast 10k to have a good crack at your pb this is a race to try just don't expect cheering, bands playing and a big fuss as you come over the finish line.
It is on my "to do" list for 2014. Date of review: April 5, 2013
In short: My first Mad Dog - it won't be my last! In full: This is my first Mad Dog race and having read previous reviews on Runners World I was expecting big things.
From the free bus to race HQ to T-shirt collection everything ran like clockwork. If others mark the race down for the delayed start don't listen to them - it was the right decision; the council only put one bloke on the car park for c.2500 runners. Delaying the start made sure everybody could make the race.
The course was an out and back down the front at Southport which in Feb might not sound the most scenic but there was plenty to keep my attention, the steel band and singers along the route were a nice touch and the support received from the marshals and Air Cadets stood in the cold was brilliant.
All in all this is the best 10k race I've done and I can't wait for Feb '14 for the next one. It should also be pointed out all profits go to charity though how they can make a profit with such good quality t-shirts and medals I will never know!