In short: Great race but expensive In full: This is a review of the Half Marathon. Overall it was one of the best I've ran in. The scenery was magnificent, helped by the gloriously sunny autumn morning. Because it was a point-to-point race there was a great chance of a pb as the run was essentially downhill. In my 45th half I missed out by seconds - more of that later! I thought the organisation across the weekend was magnificent. My wife ran the 10k and my mate ran the marathon and all the races seemed to work like clockwork.
My only genuine gripe was the price. Not the price of the race itself (£40-odd is very steep but it was a great race and the medal was brilliant) - but the £8.50 for a bus ticket to the start. If you're going to organise a point-to-point with the start line in the backstreets then you ought to provide a free shuttle service, or at the very least a nominally priced fare. I live in London - one of the most expensive cities in the world - but you can travel on any bus for £1.40. The £8.50 fare just to get to the start left a bit of a sour taste. I can't believe with the revenue generated by the entries that this fare (for a 3-4 mile journey) can be justified.
My only other gripe was that there wasn't any clear notice at the start village saying the actual start line was about 3/4 mile away. I was keeping warm in the cafe with hundreds of others until there was 5-10 mins to go and subsequently I couldn't get to the start line on time. I started in a pen two speed levels below me and missed out on a pb because it took me so long to overtake the crowds before I could get going.
That said, it was a superb experience and the crowds were great too. Date of review: October 13, 2015
In short: Good debut despite the weather In full: I needed to tick Leicestershire off my target of running a half in every English county and I'm glad I chose this one. For a debut race it was very well-organised, the route was interesting in terms of scenery and in terms of undulation (although the final hill at 11.75 miles really caught me out!) and the spectators were great. It was great they came out at all seeing as it poured with rain the whole time. Considering the time of year I was pleased the temperature had dropped but the rain did become a bit of a pain come the finish. Well done to all who took part. I'm sure this race will be back for years to come. Date of review: June 14, 2015
In short: Hard as nails for five miles and then plain sailing In full: I've never ran a race like it. It was like 2 different races on the same day. For five miles I massively struggled and was on for a personal worst but then in the last 8 miles I ran five pb miles! This in my 39th half! The downhill was incredible and the views coming into Sheffield from the edge of the Peaks were spectacular. There was some confusion at the beginning about where to go and I had to sneak into Wetherspoons for a pre-race pee. However it's quite normal for inaugural races to suffer these teething problems. The engraving for the medals at the end was extremely efficient. Date of review: May 3, 2015
In short: This will become a popular race In full: I'm quite amused by some of the comments on here. The criticism of the "dull and boring" route evokes memories of the famous Basil Fawlty quote to Mrs Richards: "Well that is Torquay, madam!" If you don't want to look at North London, maybe don't enter the North London Half Marathon! The journey to and from the start/finish was a bit of a ball-ache (depending on where you live) but again, that's London for you, and the website/info booklet couldn't really have been clearer about the distances involved. Some people here have even been moaning about the part through Wembley Stadium. Really? Yes you weren't in there for long (that's running for you) but the approach to the famous ground was brilliant, I thought. I prefer runs in the countryside these days but this race - despite the suburban backdrop - was great fun and very well organised for a big event. I expect this event will become bigger as the years go by so I'm glad I ran the first ever one. It was a bit expensive, but no-one forced me to enter. There are loads of cheaper races out there. Finally people have complained about the hills. Really? I can think of one toughish hill but the rest were gentle at best. If you want a totally flat race you need to go to Holland! Date of review: March 17, 2015
In short: Tough as he'll, not helped by the weather In full: What can I say? This was hard as nails. Even if the weather was good it would have been a thigh burner with the terrain and the hills. But with the storms and cold wind it was bloody tough. Still great fun for those who like to grit their teeth and gain satisfaction from completing something really hard. Date of review: March 9, 2015
In short: Tougher than I thought - a great workout In full: I found it tough with the short hills meaning you didn't have far to run before you came across another one. However the real reason I struggled was my lack of match practise as it were. I still ran one of my best times and there is potential for a pb here if you train well. Thought the marshalling was fantastic in difficult circumstances with lots of cars on the roads. It's a well established race and had the feel of one. One gripe I had was lots of runners were allowed to get away with wearing headphones. I like wearing headphones but obeyed the rules saying they weren't allowed. Rules like this only work if everyone obeys by them. Date of review: March 9, 2015
In short: Well-organised, scenic and atmospheric In full: Loved this race. The organisation and marshalling was brilliant (you could tell it was organised by runners for runners), the route was suitably challenging but not murderous and the countryside village scenery was wonderful. The foggy yet muggy weather helped make it atmospheric as well. As has been said the marshals went the extra mile by calling out your name as you ran past. Good value, good medal and I got a pb. Need I say more! A good end to the half marathon calendar year. Date of review: December 8, 2014
In short: Felt like a club run but good scenery In full: The run was nice enough and I ended up getting my second fastest time. However the lack of road closures meant it felt a little bit like a club run on a Sunday morning (albeit one that cost £20) with everyone having to dodge past shoppers, dog walkers and other actual club runners. Another gripe was the twisting and turning up narrow side streets, which was obviously factored in to make up the 13.1-mile course but it isn't much fun to run like that. The marshals were really good but when you run on roads that aren't at all closed you wonder just exactly what it is you're paying for. Date of review: October 20, 2014
In short: Lovely scenery and a great race In full: Loved it. Henley is a picturesque place and the route made the most of it. The hill was an absolute beast but it just made it all the better when I got over the line for a long overdue new pb. Well organised and the beautiful autumn weather certainly helped. Would recommend. Date of review: October 20, 2014
In short: Beautiful scenery and a great run if a little hot. In full: Loved this run, the scenery was magnificent and it was great to take part in a point to point for once, rather than the usual circuit or laps. The summer heat made it tricky - I'd love to do the same route in the winter but it'd probably be too dangerous because of flooding. Date of review: September 25, 2014