In short: Hard work but excellent scenery and marshalls In full: Well organised race with not a very large field of runners. At the start everyone is pretty close and after 1k the course significantly narrows, which caused stop/start issues a few times, but after about 2k the course widens and people spread out - in fact, I was running on my own at some points. Amazing scenery and mostly an off-road race (except for about 1k at the start/finish) - I did the half. Plenty of water stations, starting at around 5k, with sweets and biscuits at some. Good friendly atmosphere amongst runners and marshalls. You're not going to get huge crowds turning out to see you though. The course is quite hilly (two felt particularly tough about 3 & 9 miles), and a mix of terrain including road, sand, grass, mud, track...and very narrow in places. Not one for a PB (except for that course). If the weather allows, full leg cover to protect you from brambles and nettles might be good. Overall, I loved it. Not particularly busy but well organised, nice touches like free cake and technical Ts. Not recommended for your first half/full marathon but one to do at some point. Date of review: September 21, 2014
In short: Good first race for a half in Surrey In full: I tried this as it was the first Surrey half and I used to live in Guildford so was interested in this aspect. Course is definitely undulating and felt uphill on the way back! ;-) Good: Race village was not big but had plenty of toilets - very well done on that. Seemed well organised and the bands were a nice touch. It was nice seeing some of the front runners due to the "out and back" course. Finishing on track was nice, with a downhill slope before that to pick up speed. Free pre-race massage. (And post if you wanted to wait.) Course seemed to be correct length. Not so good: It was a hot day and although the water stations were bottles I felt they needed to put more in - not usually a problem at this time of year! There were 3 evenly spaced. At the finish, there was only a small bottle of water and no goody bag and I really could've done with at least 500ml by then! I don't think the locals have got race fever yet - there were some supporters and good cheering but not quite up to the standard of more established halfs yet. It felt more crowded than I expected for the first 3 miles. If more people enter next year, it could feel like a real hinderance. Although the course did look different on the way back, I was getting a bit bored of it by then! Trying to climb up the steps out of the stadium once you'd finished! No goody bag - but I'm sure this will come with time and sponsors. No onsite parking - plenty around Guildford but might be a walk.
I felt it was well organised for a first event (although some confusion with volunteers) but don't feel a rush to enter again next year. It is starting from Woking every alternate year so if you want a true pb you'll have to wait 2 years anyway! Date of review: March 21, 2014
In short: Great support, friendly team. In full: My first year doing Fleet but not my first half. A gloriously sunny (and warm) day. Quite a few toilets - bit of a queue but this died down just before the race and I had enough time to queue. Chip timing so although the lineup was a bit of a free for all (no pens and I couldn't see the timing boards - although I spotted these once people started moving), that didn't matter. People also seemed to spread out quite quickly so I didn't feel held up at the start of the race. Course is definitely "undulating" so not for you if you don't even like the slightest hill! It's a downhill finish after the final slope about 12.5 miles. The crowds were amazing! A lot of supporters in the first lap as this is round town. After 6 miles it dies out as you head into the countryside- which was stunning on a nice day. The supporter hotspots round pubs were amazing though- best crowd for a half ever! The downsides were: 1. only cups, not bottled water on the course, and these had queues as it was so hot, so you have to stop and drink if you want a decent amount. 2. At the finish there was a tent in the way of the view of the real finish and just before this were two flags and car parked - so the finish was about 50m further than many people thought. 3. I measured the course long so missed my pb despite running a faster pace. But then I probably didn't run the racing line and it was nowhere near as long as when I ran Reading! Overall, I enjoyed it. May enter again - the crowds were fab but the hills and having to carry my own bottles put me off slightly. Date of review: March 21, 2014
In short: Expensive to enter, badly organised course, music stations not as many or good as promised. In full: This sounds much better than it is. The music stations did not seem as frequent as you'd think. The water stations were cups and the teams couldn't fill them fast enough so this held you up. Although the course starts in the lovely Greenwich park, the rest is smelly and depressing. There was a massive hold-up this year where they thought thousands of runners could squeeze though a narrow gate - twice! Overall the course was packed and couldn't cope with the numbers - no potential for a PB (I could've got one if it wasn't for all the runners and the gate issue.) There's a big hill at mile 12 - which you can't complain about but be aware of it! The only good bit of organisation was a large amount of toilets. Date of review: October 8, 2013