Loved this - earned myself a PB so that helps but the country setting, especially the settings in Tatton Park itself were tremendous and I will be back again next year to come under 1:30.
The course was very well marshalled and supported, car parking was a breeze - I loved the fact the car park was a short stones throw from the start and finish so I could sit in the warmth of my car just before the start and finish my coffee, and that I only had a short distance to hobble once I crossed the finish.
Drink stations were well manned, nice small bottles of water too - gels were being offered at the last station which was nice.
I'd describe the course as fairly flat, some undulations - the straight road section in the penultimate mile was a bit of a killer - long, straight but gradual ascent, it seemed to last forever!
Goody bag was really good - quality medal, chocolate, nice tech T plus drinks at the finish line.
Received the number through the post in good time, chip built into the number so one thing less to forget. Instructions were clear.
There were no negatives - usual challenges such as toilets and starting pens. The PA system didn't seem to work at the start line so there was some confusion when the delay was started. I wasn't sure if there was a bag drop, some runners said there was but it wasn't clear where. Because of the proximity of the car parking, I didnt use them anyway, put my stuff in the boot of the car.
The support at the finish was brilliant, supporters both sides as you ran in.
I've never run a half where I have had as many photos taken of me - two outfits were covering it and I got snapped at numerous points around the course. Hats off to both, but Bryan at racephotos.org.uk deserves a special mention!! He captured a number of me, even took time out to crop and edit some for me but one of them is my favourite running photo yet, so thanks again!.
I'll be back next year, this was an excellent event - I believe this is the first time it was run so there are bound to be a few teething problems but nothing that couldn't be easily rectified or that I would complain about.
In terms of growth, I think I read somewhere that they are looking at linking it up with the new leisure centre project over the other side of town but 10000 is certainly an optimistic target - then again they probably said that about the London Marathon and GNR early doors. If it were to move to that side of side, it would make for a flatter run which I'm not too sure I'd enjoy as much.
I've signed up for the lifetime entry as its so close to home - only need to run 3 to breakeven. Hopefully it will provide some impetus for me to keep running and providing the course doesnt change from year to year, it will enable me to benchmark my performance.
Major gripes: Bag drop off - worse than last year, zero security. The uneven section of path as you run into Vic Park - fortunately I didn't have blisters this year. Second bit of path / trail section was pretty narrow and given the weather, potentially difficult to nip past folk if you've still got it in you at the stage. Steel bands and music enroute - its a bit of a boring section on the straight section from near the M6 up to Appleton / Stretton - you've just negotiated the Hill out of Grappenhall vilage and your legs are starting to feel it, mental boost required. Didn't mind the weather though I felt sorry for those who got caught out by the huge puddle right at the beginning as we left Vic Park - they could have done something with that because running with drenched footwear for 13miles not funny.