In short: Flat and Fast Half with views Brunel's beautiful Clifton Suspension Bridge In full: I'll put my cards on the table and admit Bristol is my home town, so this review may not be the most objective, but in anyone's book the view of Brunel's bridge in the May sunshine must take some beating.
This race is almost entirely flat with only a few minor inclines therefore holds true PB potential. The support is excellent, both in numbers and enthusiasm throughout the city sections and also along the Portway near any residential areas. The gel and water stops are well placed and efficient. The goody bag is pretty standard but there is an excellent technical t-shirt and good quality medal.
Why on earth the Bath Half is more expensive when you only get running unfriendly cotton t-shirt I don't know... Date of review: October 8, 2013
In short: Super friendly, amazing value and stunning scenery as standard In full: This was my first marathon and what a way to kick things off.
My running buddy and I arrived from Bristol on Friday night and ignoring all advice stuffed ourselves with curry and a couple of pints at one of Inverness' finest before hitting the sack at our super comfortable and hospitable B&B. Saturday was spent dealing with the aftermath of the curry, a trip to watch Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Hibs and taking in carbs in various forms (including at the excellent pasta party).
After an early night it was an early start to get the coach from the running village. All very smoothly organised and nice to compare notes with other runners (2 fellas from Denmark) on the bus. Tip: go to the toilet while you are at the village before you get on the coach. The queues for the portaloos by the start had to be seen to be believed.
There was a excellent atmosphere at the start and it was great to get underway. Water and gel stops came thick and fast. The water bottles were the perfect size to hold while running and I found that making a bottle last between each stop kept me well hydrated. The gel stops had a choices of blocks or a thick gel. The blocks worked best for me and they had been handily opened ready for easy access.
Support was good considering the remoteness of the route and what it lacked in numbers was more than made up for in enthusiasm.
The miles whizzed by chatting to a variety of runners. The race entered a different (and harder) phase at about 19 miles with the hill after Dores. I was glad of my hill training in Bristol at this stage but overall, even with the undulating nature of the course, it feels like you are mostly going downhill.
The miles after Dores we generally either downhill or flat and the support became greater the nearer you got to the finish in inverness. To be honest I wasn't really in a state to fully appreciate the last mile being completely depleted, but once through the finishing line and with a couple of bananas inside me it was great to kick back, enjoy having finished (03.43.52) and watch others arrive home.
The organisation of this race is incredible and for £40 (2 x three course meals, bus to start, very good quality running shirt and goody bag) it was an amazing value. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.