But Dachs it is no longer the 1990s, more is the pity!
In bigger races, I tend to do smaller ones, I am happy to start my watch when I cross the start and stop it when I cross the finish. I know in a purist running club world this isn't an official time or potential pb but given I am a club of one it is ok for me However there are lots of slower runners who are in a running club and want to have their official time so in that case I can't blame them for pushing to the front (like seren is going to do!)
Agree that for any prize then you have to use finish position given it is a race and not a time trial!
2 drinks station at a ten mile race seems more than generous to me!
When there is no chip timing, and I know it adds to cost, then I have no sympathy when slow runners start near the front and block out the quicker guys. If you are wanting to break 90 minutes for 10 miles why should you take 3 minutes to get over the line! To me the biggest advantage of chip timing is that it encourages people starting in the best/correct place which helps everyone in the end.
I work in Manchester and do most of my running there. If you want hill training then I would suggest the Cliffs, Cheetham Hill and Heaton Park. Also, the path down the side of Salford University that goes down to River Irwell is fantastic for hill repeats (about 250 metres long).