Hmm. Looking at the satellite map, I'm really unsure about the latter stages from Bexhill into Hastings, particularly miles 23 to 24... I actually jogged that way a few weeks ago to check what it was like, and it's a dirt track over the hill (with unsafe cliff edges), then along the seafront with shingle, mud and big puddles alongside the sea defences.
I thought I'd check it out from the original route description, and thought that surely they would send us under the Galley Hill railway arch and onto the footpath along the main road into Hastings, then turn us onto the prom at Grosvenor Gardens, as that would be safer and better underfoot... it is supposed to be a road race isn't it?
From what I can make out from the specs on the flashy-but-not-very-informative Garmin website, this new unit again misses out on what I consider to be a couple of important and useful training features. I raised these with the Garmin rep when he visited our club for a session a couple of months ago, and he agreed it should be simple enough for them to install, and couldn't see why they hadn't:-
1. No countdown timer. My old Timex London Marathon freebie watch has this, as have all the Timex Ironman series, available at generally low costs on the High Street. Very useful for speedwork, tempo runs and timed intervals, and hardly advanced technology.
2. No flexibility in pausing between reps - you can set a given distance, or time. That's fine if all your interval training is done alone or maybe with one or two equal partners. I run a training group of around 10-15 runners. For speed reps, we need to set out together, finish the rep, allow an agreed timed recovery for the whole group, then go again. If the back guys finish 20 seconds behind the front guys, then either the group becomes completely fragmented, or we have to set rest times to one runner in the pack (i.e the one with the watch!). Being able to pause between reps would also be very useful for fartlek training and more flexible group workouts.
The only solution I have found for this is to hit Lap then Stop at the end of each rep, and therefore not time the recoveries accurately.
Overall I find the 305 useful, though not as much as the publicity tells us. Satellite tracking has always been an issue, especially on runs over 20 miles, and the lack of full Mac compatibility is a problem for me too. I won't be upgrading to the 405 until some of these things are resolved - though my wife might benefit from the smaller unit so may go ahead.
I went over to watch on Sunday, and took a drive round the full marathon course... for information, once you get out of the centre of town it's a seriously long drag along St. Helens Road, Parkstone Rd, Hillside Rd, and up to The Ridge just to the south east of the Conquest Hospital roundabout. I guess it is always going to be a big climb no matter which route you go up, as the elevation difference between the Ridge and sea level has got to be overcome somehow!
I'd say the course out to Catsfield and Battle, then back through Sidley to Bexhill, is undulating, and could be quite exposed in the winter weather - they do get snow in this part of the country. Once you hit Bexhill it's flat along the prom with just Galley Hill left to contend with. I'm assuming we'll turn under the railway arch and along the main road/pavement, rather than taking the beach footpath (shingle/dirt) - at least I hope so!
Will be there at the Hilly Half as a spectator for once... been waiting for some time for an operation to fit a replacement pacemaker, and it came through two weeks ago... I'm recovering, and would still run, but under threats of violence from various family and club members if I attempt to put my running shoes on!
Will watch out for you all and be cheering at the sidelines - still be on for the marathon, and as for the Half in 2009, try and stop me!