In short: Bristol Half - Back in the game...! In full: Having missed the last two Bristol's through injury and having been previously disillusioned by the organisation and route changes I was totally impressed by this years offering.
The waved start worked excellently it felt like you were running in a much smaller race but with all the benefits of a big city race. The water stations were professionally manned (well doen cadets) and the end was well spaced out so there was none of the bun fight that you tend to get in Bath.
As my home city half I am glad to see it is putting itself back on the map.
Of course a new PB may be colouring my overall view but I really enjoyed the occasion and will definitely be back next year. Date of review: September 6, 2009
In short: Fab and Friendly Race In full: I've been meaning to log my comments for some time, and so have had an opportunity to look at others views first.
I'll get out of the way the fact that I got a PB at this race by 6 minutes - so my view may a little coloured.
That said I thought this was an excellently marshalled, well supported race. The Saturday night start was a first for me but really enjoyed it - just the right temperature. It certainly was an 'undulating' course but not a real killer - I liken it very much to the Stroud Half which is my favourite race of the year (or at least was until this one!)
With regard to the comments made - especially the issue of traffic on the roads, non-spectator friendly start and goody bag in the sports hall. For all of those people I have to ask 'what do you expect for the price'. This is a lovely, well organised, friendly, fun, PB potential half marathon for twelve ish pounds - don't compare it to the bigger half marathons for which you will pay double that. I've already mentioned the Stroud Half - it is very comparable and is a very popular race. Again the roads are still open. You take care, the traffic will take care everyones happy! I'm afraid that if you are after closed, traffic free roads with spectators at every opportunity then you probably need to just enter the likes of Bristol, Bath or Reading
Did I have any gripes? Only that for someone who doesn't know Gloucestershire that well - this didn't seem very close to Gloucester as hinted at in the race name!
Can't wait until next year when I will be looking to chip a bit more off of my half marathon PB!
In short: Race Director It Is Time To Actually Listen To Us In full: Many others have already said what I have to say on this race. I'm adding my ten pence worth (thats all I have left after entry and parking!) in the hope that the more of us who say it the more chance we have of the organisers taking note.
Simply this - THERE ARE TOO MANY COMPETITORS FOR THE STREETS OF BATH - did you get that??
The staggered start, for me, didn't work. The elites were passing whilst the bulk of people were still tightly packed. I too took great offence at the obnoxious man in the lead car with loud hailer - we paid a huge sum to run this race buddy we are entitled to road too.
To everyone else it seems simple - if you want a less congested race - have less people.
I have entered this race for the last five years but finally I am beginning to question if it is worth it.
In short: Playing the numbers game... In full: This race could be a top notch event. The course, though dull, has PB written all over it and whilst I don't enjoy races in two laps I wouldn't want the course to be changed (and I doubt the great and the good of Bath would allow it anyway) The race is priced like a top notch event but every year there is some thing that conspires to cause a problem, blight the race in some way that makes everyone say 'well that was pants' This year the weather didn't help but where is the contingency planning. Did we really get delayed an hour because of a tent (or worse still were at risk of the race being cancelled)? Where were the Park and Ride buses? Having been stranded by the minmial service intially put on I was kind of glad the start got delayed, and really did no one think that the Rec might become somewhat muddy in the rain?
All that aside - these are things that can be fixed - and I am sure they will be. The one thing, however, that really, really and I'll say it again REALLY needs to be considered is whether the streets of Bath can cope with 10-15,000 runners. Yes the finish could have been laid out better but you are still funnelling very large numbers of people through very small streets. How infuriating was it to have the bloke on the tannoy telling us to keep moving, when there was no where to go and all we actually wanted to do was get away from the finish line.
Having run Bath for the last three years and spectated for the three years before that things seems to have got progressively less organised as the number of runners has gone up. I think a 10,000 entry (which would yield say a 7,500 field) is probably enough. I will be back next year (it's a local race for me) but next year think about the numbers guys and if it fails again don't be afraid to reduce the entry - you may even gain a bit of respect along the way. Date of review: March 27, 2008