In short: Without doubt "Simply the Best" In full: Twelfth time of running this event in succession and i'll keep coming back year on year (assuming my body can take it!). Yes, it's expensive and yes it is crowded, but the organisers do the best job possible and they just can't please all of the people all of the time. Goodie bags and t-shirts were a little below pair this year so i hope this gets remedied for next time round. Crowd support was immense and all the charities and individual stories behind the people running the GNR really makes this something special and not just a standard half marathon distance that people come to run a time for. Date of review: September 21, 2009
In short: Fast, flat and very well organised In full: Great event, loads of parking and extremely well orgainised. Could do with one or two extra portaloos next year (appreciate that the gents are well catered for!). Date of review: July 2, 2009
In short: Exceptional Organisation, Great Race In full: Forth time of doing this race and as ever it's a great event to take part in. Slightly warmer than in previous years. Will definitely be back for more. Date of review: March 30, 2009
In short: Magnificent atmosphere In full: Eleventh time of doing this race and it still remains my favourite, with Reading coming a close second. Was placed in pen B and managed a time of 1:22 something. Wish they wouldn't put a large number of "Special" charity places right behind the elite athletes, this is what causes all the bottle necks for everyone else behind and a major hazard for the faster club runners, who in truth the event doesn’t really cater for and something I’ve had to come to accept. Next year I will be in with the masses (running with my partner, who's been hooked with the atmosphere and wants to do it for the first time) so it’ll be interesting to see if my view changes, starting mid field. Oh and if you turn up to the start 7 minutes before the gun goes off, you deserve all you get. Imagine if 50,000 people all had the same idea, so let common sense prevail!!! I should know as I did it one year but at least I didn’t moan about it. Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: Flat open course with only the wind to contend with In full: Well organized event, not a fan of the race number chips as they don't give a true chip time over the start line. There after everything was fantastic. If the weather was that bit warmer an additional water station would have been welcome. Date of review: July 1, 2008
In short: Hot!!!! In full: Hard work in that sort of heat, narrow at the start but the field spreads out quickly. Water stations well positioned. Great finish area, ideal for the whole family. Date of review: May 12, 2008
In short: Better than ever before In full: Set out to do sub-3 and came in 2:59:05 so very happy, crowds were amazing. I'd love to do this one, at a more relaxed pace to take in the atmosphere and make the most of the day. Date of review: April 17, 2008
In short: Shambolic In full: I can forgive the 1hr delay, even though the race director should have been ahead of the game with the First aid tent but I fail to see why the park and ride system went so hideously wrong when the event has been going for so long? On paper it seemed a perfect solution for parking, possibly next year they could take a leaf out of the Reading 1/2M organisers book and issue parking permits so they know how many cars will turn up at each site.
However, it was the smaller things that let it down for me, such as the dull scenery, poor organisation at the finish and lack of prominent mile markers, I parked at the Newbridge Park & Ride then ran the last 4 miles of the course as a warm-up and even with no one else on the route I missed 2 of the 4 markers!!! Then to be told the race had been delayed by a hour was a bit of a let down. I did feel for all the volunteers and marshals out on the course, who’d done a fantastic job of getting all the water stations ready in time, only to have to wait around (in the cold and wet conditions). So a big THANKYOU should go out to them.
The start left a lot to be desired too, still work to be done there and once under way it didn’t get any better. The raised curb on a central island to cross within the first mile when the field hasn’t dispersed enough was positively dangerous, I know we were warned about obstacles in the race pamphlet but surely the route can follow the roads without having to cross a central reservation??. I bet a lot of people were court out by this one and grazed limbs and bruised egos aren’t the best way to start a half marathon.
Another point that needs to be seriously addressed for next year is the crowd control for the spectators on the finishing line, people were being crushed against the barriers having nowhere to go. With a large number of runners brings an equal number of spectators all wanting to see their friends and family crossing the line. It’s a potential Hillsborough in the making!!
Having said all of this the spectator support around the course is superb so again a big THANKYOU should go to them.
In short: Great from my point of view In full: No problems for me, fast field, i've never been so down the field with a finishing time of 1hr26min. It is expensive once you take into consideration all the add-ons, parking, engraving, t-shirt etc and that's before the inflated entry fee. I know that a large amount of it is for charity but remember the core group of club runners who will be coming back year after year. In addition, there are now a number of 1/2 marathons that give high quality technical t-shirts as a mementoes inclusive of entry fee, Bristol and The Northumberland Coastal run for example, so Reading please take note!! Date of review: March 3, 2008