colin johnstone

Leeds, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Member since May 2016

My Completed Races

2018
Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
2018
Yorkshire Cakeathon
2018
Very British Challenge
2018
Cannon Hall Dash
2018
Liverpool to Manchester Ultra

My Latest Reviews

Completed in 2018

4.7

I love Rock n Roll

This was the third time I have done this race,

I keep returning because its a great event.

This was 2nd day of the Rock n Roll festival of running with half or full marathon options. I chose the marathon.

Organisers are very flexible, with runners allowed to up or downgrade distances at the expo. Very handy if you are struggling with injury.

There was a super atmosphere in and around the expo.

Registration was simple.

Baggage deposit/collection was flawless.

The race started at Albert Dock.

It had a mixture of everything. Road, parks, a few hills and also visited both football grounds.

It showed what a great city liverpool is.

There were "LIVE" bands playing every mile to give the runners a lift.

Second half of the course was much easier with some nice fast sections to compensate for the earlier hills.

Overall, I would say it is not a bad course for getting a fast time.

Final section is a bit of a drag, along the side of the river Mersey, follwed by the finish line in front of the Arena.

Water stations were regular and well stocked. 

Marshals were awesome and local support was excellent.

Finishers recieved a decent medal - not quite was good as last year's but a nice medal all the same.

There was also a various things to eat..

The finishers t-shirt was collected at the expo, before or after the race.

There were aditional medals to be claimed, depending on which other races you did over the weekend.

Runner had a token for a free pint of beer attatched to their race number.

Post race, there was a stage and a music festival.

It made for a great atmosphere.

In summary -

Liverpool Marathon festival is a brilliant event.

Superb atmosphere and the wide variation of distances make it perfect for all the family.

If medals are your thing then you're in heaven.

There's muliple medals on offer.

If you enter early, it's great value.

Posted on 21.05.18

Completed in 2018

4

RnR 5K - improvements needed.

This 5k race was part of the Liverpool Rock 'n' Roll running festival, which saw a veriety of races over 2 days. 1 mile, 5k, Half Marthon and full marathon race options.

This 5k race was extremly expensive to enter.

Most on the day enterants were charged £30 - that's £6 per kilometer!! How can they justify this?

I accept booking early would've saved money but that is no excuse.

Registration on the was a bit of a pain with long queues then having to log onto a computor and register, before joining another queue to collect race number.

What you got for your money was a decent atmosphere and a nice, but expensive addition to the weekend.

Baggage system was simple and trouble free.

Marshals were excellent.

Local support was ok.

Course was fast and flat, with a few turns - very good for PB chasers.

Local support was very good also.

Finish line was a bit disappointing.

Last year, the race ended in the arena which was dark but lit up with bright lights. Viisually, it looked brilliant.

This year the finish line was in a different location, which wasn't as good. I hope they move back to last year's finish line for 2019.

Finishers were rewarded with a nice medal, water, banana and crisps. The finishers shirts were an extra £12. More expense!

In summary-

This is a super addition to the weekend. The perfect introduction for new runners or a nice warm up for the Half or full marathon which took place the following day.

Atmosphere was very good and if you can get early bird entry then it is certainly worth doing.

Now for the negatives-

Paying up to £30 for a 5k race is ridiculous. Add a finishers shirt onto that, makes it £42.

I hope finishing line is changed because last year's was in a much better location and it really added to the race.

Posted on 21.05.18

Super Leeds

Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon

This is my home city race so entering was an easy choice.

Organisers, RunForAll certainly know how to put on a race.

This was another good example.

Everything ran smoothly from start to finish so it’s genuinely hard to pick any faults  

The course has a couple of ‘bumps’ to tackle. The trot up Stonegate Road can be a drag but it also has some nice, fast down hill sections.

Race finishes in city centre.

Overall, the route probably doesn’t do Leeds justice but the magnificent crowd support is excellent  

Finishers are also well looked after.

They recieve a solid medal, decent goodie bag, tech shirt, massage and medal engraving. 

There’s also the fantastic atmosphere you’d expect from a big city race. Overall, it’s excellent value. 

It’s a race I will always do. 

Posted on 13.05.18

Completed in 2018

4.6

A Very British Challenge 6 Hour race

Very British Challenge

Having done an SVN race before, I knew what to expect.

What you get is a very friendly, well organised race with a big, solid medal and a well stocked feed station.

The events are fun, themed races. This particular event was British themed with runners encouraged to wear red, white and blue.

Registration was simple. Numbers were collection only.

Bagged was simple but effective.

This was a multi lap, 6 hour (or less) event consisting of 4.36 mile out and back laps.

Complete 1 lap or run/walk for the full 6 hours - the choice is yours.

Route was fast, flat and on good, solid paths.

I targeted a marathon distance so this would mean completing 6 laps.

Results were recorded in the old fashioned way, with no chip timing.

Each runner has a card stamped when they complete a lap.

It works perfectly well.

Nature of the course means local support was limited but the out and back course meant runners were able to support each other during the race.

There was a feed station at the end of each lap, which contains juice, cupped water, cakes, crisps ect.

Finishers recieved a big, beautiful medal and a well stocked goodie bag containing 3 large bars of chocolate, beer, crisps etc ect.

There was a vegan option finishers bag if required.

In summary -

SVN events are the friendliest races you will do.

Traviss and his team do a brilliant job.

There was a good atmosphere.

The out & back course might not be to everybody's taste but it is fast, flat and the 6 hour race means it suits all abilities and is perfect for those building up the distance during marathon or ultra training.

It is a race I would certainly recommend.

Thanks to the marshals and fellow runners for great support.

Posted on 13.05.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.6

Cannon Hall 10 mile trail race

Cannon Hall Dash

Very late decision to enter this race having done a marathon 2 days earlier.

I have done IGUN events before so knew what to expect.

What you get for your money is a good, honest race, nice bling, chocolate, beer and cake.

Race numbers were collection only.

Baggage deposit/collection was easy.

The race had 5 or 10mile options, consisting of 2.5 mile laps.

I did the 10 mile race.

There was a couple of hills to tackle on each lap.

Some of the terrain was quite tough.

Nature of the course meant local support was minimal but there was plenty of encouragement from enthusiastic marshals.

There was an aid station containing cupped water, cake etc at the end of each lap.

Finshers recieved solid medal, bottle of beer and a large bar of chocolate.

The traditional home baked cakes are always something to look forward to.

In summary -

IGUN races are the friendliest races out there.

Todays race was challenging but great fun.

Posted on 09.05.18

Completed in 2018

4.6

MK Marathon weekend - A treat in the heat

Milton Keynes Marathon

This was my third time at MK Marathon.

Pre-race registration was spot on.

Race numbers were posted out.

There was a good atmosphere at race HQ.

Baggage deposit/collection was smooth.

Race weekend had 5k race on the Sunday and full marathon, half marathon, relay & kid's race options on monday.

This catered for all ages and abillities so was perfect for families.

I entered the full marathon.

Marshals were awesome. Local support for the most part, was very good.

Course had a couple of out and backs in town centre before heading into the countryside. It then ended inside Stadium, with a lap of the pitch.

Route was pretty flat and on decent paths.

Water stations were regular and contained water, gels and enegy drinks.

Finshers were rewarded with a super medal, finishers shirt, and goodie bag. 

In summary-

Milton Keynes marathon weekend is a fun, friendly, well organised event. 

Crowd support isn't to the level of some big city races but it's decent enough.

Thanks MK for a brilliant day.

Posted on 07.05.18

Completed in 2018

4.7

Chester Half Marathon 2018

First time I have done this race and I was very impressed. 

Registration was perfect. Runners were kept well informed with regular emails in build up. 

There was a friendly pre-race atmosphere. 

Baggage was flawless.

Race was a fast, flat(-sh) route on closed roads. 

Crowd support was very good at the start & finish but did get a bit lonely in the middle section. 

Water stations were regular. They contained bottled water, gels & enegy drinks. 

Marshals were absolutely brilliant, as always.

Finishers recoeved a nice medal, shirt and a very well stocked goodie bag.

In summary-

This was a really good day.

Entry fee was a bargain £23. For that price you got a well organised race, excellent finishers bag & medal. 

There was also a kid’s 1milec race. 

Great event for all the family. 

I can’t think of any criticisms in all honesty. 

Thank you to organisers, Andy and Chis. 

Can’t wait to return in October for the full marathon. 

Posted on 29.04.18

Completed in 2018

4.9

The Big hype but fully justified

London Marathon

Wow! What can I say?

As we all know, London marathon isn't the easiest race to enter..

The popularity of this event is incredible and now I know why.

I took charity place after my twin brother gained a club place.

Raising £1,600 isn't easy and this was one of the cheaper charity options.

Race numbers were collection only and had to be picked up from the expo.

Expo itself was massive. There was a good atmosphere, with plenty to do.

Pre-race information was plentyful with emails, text messages and iphone app, keeping runners informed.

Getting to start line was simple enough. I worried about it beforehand but the London public transport network is excellent. This made it simple and trouble-free.

We had to use bag provided for the baggage store. It was large enough for most, so it wasn't an issue.

The race itslef was absolutely amazing. 

I have never known crowd support like it.

At times it was quite deafening.

I had heard it can get a bit congested on the course but it wasn't too bad at all. Maybe, the staggered start helped.

Aid stations were regular. In fact, I have never known so many in one race. Most contained water, whilst others contained enegy drinks and gels. There were also showers at various points of the course to keep runners cool in the very hot conditions.

Route saw runners visit various iconic landmarks. It really did feel like we were part of something special.

Finishers were rewarded with a chunky silver medal (it would've been better if it was gold), water, various items to eat, and a great looking finisher's shirt.

Recoving bag from baggage store was quick and simple. Full marks there.

In summary -

London is without doubt, the best race I have ever done.

I think it's race that everybody should try do at least once.

Marshals were awesome, water stations were well stocked & regular. The baggage store and everything else, worked like clockwork.

Crowd support was absolutely incredible.

Entry is obviously very difficult.

GFA, ballot or charity places all present problems but I think it's worth the effort and expense.

Thank you London.

It was the perfect day.

Posted on 23.04.18

Completed in 2018

4.7

One of the best UK marathons

Brighton Marathon Weekend

Wow! What can I say about Brighton marathon?

Absolutely fantastic weekend.

Race was quite expensive to enter but if you registered early enough, it was much cheaper.

There were Marathon, 10k and family mile race options so it suited everybody. The family mile is a great idea as it's always nice to see youngsters getting involved.

I selected the marathon option.

Registration was simple enough. Pre-race emails and the Brighton Marathon weekend app kept runners well informed.

Race packs were collection only and had to be picked up from expo in the days leading up to the event.

In your race pack you got race number, timing chip (to be attacted to trainer), a smart 'participation' tec shirt and a plastic sack for baggage store.

I am not usually keen on receiving rewards before a race but at least it gaurentees you get correct sized shirt, so this is a big plus.

Baggage worked very well. You had to put belongings in bag provided, which was then put onto a lorry.

Bag was a large size, so more than enough room for most people. This was transported to finish line. Collection was very smooth so full marks there.

Race itself started from Preston Park, and finished on the sea front.

Runners set off in waves, depending on predicted finish time.

It worked very well. Toilet queues were long, but they always are at big events.

Course was a bit twisty, with odd hill thrown in but fairly flat overall. It finished on sea front.

Miles 21-ish onwards were pretty tough with an out & back, and long drag to the finish. Overall, it was a good course.

Support from Brighton public is simply magnificent. I can not stress that enough. It's by far the best support I have ever witnessed.

Water stations were plentyful and contained cupped water, high 5 energy drink and gels.

On social media there has been a bit of debate regarding cups water rather than bottles.

I personally think its a great idea to have water in paper cups. It's just better for the enviroment and I hope other events use this method.

Race ended with a long , gruelling run along the front but participants were greated with a crescendo of noise from spectators. It really does lift morale, right when you need it.

Finishers were rewarded with a beautiful, solid medal, bottled water and a few items to eat. There was also a pint of Erdinger 0% alcohol larger - very refreshing after a long run.

Post race 'village' had a variety for food/alcohol outlets, as well as massage option and stalls selling running gear. Perfect place to meet family & friends. 

There were also the charity tents so it was nice to meet and socialise with friends from my charity of choice - MNDA.

In summary- Brighton Marathon weekend is a massive event but it's a very well organised, slick opperation.

Everything ran smoothy from start to finish.

Marshals were superb.

I have to mention the Brighton public. Their support was incredible and unrelenting, apart from a section around 20 mile mark where there were no spectators.

Course is pretty fast, with only the odd hill to run up.

Race is quite expensive to enter but what you get for your money is a brilliant event. Book early to save cash.

Hotels are also expensive but staying just outside the area, and travelling in on the day is a cheaper option.

I would certainly recommend it.

Thank you Brighton for a fantastic weekend.

 

Posted on 16.04.18

Manchester la-la-la!

ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon

Manchester Marathon is your typical big city event.

well organised, amazing crowd support and well marshalled.

Registration was perfect. Pre-race information was plentyful, baggage system was very smooth.

There was a great atmosphere, in and around race HQ.

Perfect chance to meet friends from twitter and visorclub.

Race itself was entirely on road with excellent support for most of the route.

The course was flat with only the odd slight 'bump' to run up.

This is a PB chasers dream.

Water stations were regular. They contained bottled water and energy gels.

Final mile sees runners get a clear view of the finish line but it seems to take an eternity to get there.

One thing you always get from manchester marathon is a top notch finishers medal and shirt.

Today was no exception. 

Finisher's bag also contained a few idems to eat.

There was also a refreshing pint of 0% alcohol larger. Very welcome.

In summary - Manchester is one of the best city marathons in the UK, in my opinion.

Organisation was absolutely flawless. 

Well marshalled plus having 'race angels' to help runners in latter stages was a nice touch.

Lovely solid medal and finishers shirt and an excellent crowd.

This race ticks all the boxes. It's one I will always do.

Thank you Manchester for a super day.

Posted on 08.04.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.5

Liverpool to Manchester Ultra 2018. What an experience!!

Liverpool to Manchester Ultra

L2M Ultra - where do I begin?

I entered this race on a whim about 9 months ago.

I'm not really an Ultra runner so the thought of running 50miles was absolutly crazy!

Registration was simple. Organisers GB Ultras are friendly, helpful and sympathetic to runners by allowing deferals or transfers.

I wish others had that same attitude.

Registration was simple enough, with plenty of pre-race emails and information on the website.

Race numbers were collection only. There was an option to collect day before or on the day.

There was mandetory kit check which all runners had to have.

This is a tough gruelling race so safety has to be paramount importance.

Baggage option was available, with bags transported to the finish line at Didsley sports ground, Manchester.

This race had an early start with registration opening at 4:30am and race starting at 6am.

Course was a mixture of roads, trails and canal paths. A couple of minor hills but overall, very flat. Quite scenic in places.

The weather on the day was dreadful which made some of the paths wetter and muddier than usual. Navigating the course could be a little tricky at times but overall, it wasn't too bad.

Water/feed stations were every 6miles or so. They had plenty of options to keep runners fuelled.

Marshals were absolutely amazing. Conditions were awful but these wonderful people braved the elements to make the race run smoothly.

Local support was minimal due to the nature of the course but runners were able to help and suppory each other during the race. Ultra runners are a friendly bunch.

Finishers were rewarded with a stunning medal, t-shirt and a free burger or hot dog. There was also cake and sweets.

The medal was designed in honour of runner, Stephen Carragher who was due to participate in the race but had sadly passed away.

Stephen's family also helped start the race.

What a wonderful gesture and tribute. Big respect, GB Ultras.

Post race, there were shower facilities and a pub/funtion room for runners to mingle and share stories of the day. It was a really good atmosphere.

In summary - L2M Ultra is a superb event. Perfect for those crazy enough to try ultra running and a great challenge in it's own right for more experienced athletes.

I have to mention the race marshals again. They are heroes in my eyes. Absolute legends.

Organisers, GB Ultras are friendly and flexible. Wish other organisers had that same attitude.

Thanks for a challenging but brilliant day.

Would I do this race again? 100% yes.

 

Posted on 03.04.18

Completed in 2018

4.6

Spring Canal Canter 2018

Leeds & Liverpool Canal Canter

I did this event last year so knew what to expect.

This race covered all distances from 5k to Ultra, so suited all abillities.

I chose the ultra option (32.5miles-ish).

Registration was at a local social club, 5minutes from start line.

There was a nice pre-race atmophere.

Race numbers were collection only. It was slightly more congested than usual, which resulted in a delayed start to the race.

Baggage store directly was next to the start line.

Race set off in waves with Ultra, 10k and 5k runners setting off 10 minutes after the Half and full marathon runners.

It was a little bit congested for the first half mile but soon got easier as the field spread out.

Route of all races were out & back, on canal side

Paths were genrally flat and smooth. Overall, it's a fast course with plenty of PB opportunities.

Nature of the course means local support was minimal but runners were able to support each other so that wasn't an issue.

Aid stations were regular and contained plenty to keep the runners fuelled and hydrated.

Finishers were rewarded with a decent medal, beer and chocolate. There was also plenty of home baked cakes, including vegan option.

I actually recieved an aditional trophy for finishing 2nd in the Ultra. Lovely touch. It really made my day.

One main difference from last year was the introduction of chip timing. Previously, time had been manually recorded. Chip timing has to be a good thing.

Marshal support was absolutely first class.

Big thanks for that.

In summary-

Another awesome race from IGUN.

Lovely atmosphere and a special day.

Grim Up North races are good, honest, quality events and good value.

Got to mention the marshals again - heroes in my eyes.

Posted on 25.03.18

Completed in 2018

3.6

Wrexham Festival of running 2018

Wrexham Running Festival

Wrexham Running Festival  featured Marathon, 20mile, Half Marathon and fun run options.

Entry fee wasn't cheapest (£39.50 for the marathon) but what you got for your money was a well organised race with a good atmosphere.

Pre-race information was available via the 'Run Wales' website.

Race numbers were collection only. Baggage was straight forward with no complaints.

The race started with Marathon & 20mile participants starting at 9am with Half marathon runners starting at 10;30.

Course was quite complicated but there were plenty of marshals to make sure it ran smoothly so no complaints.

Race was undulating but it also has fast sections.

Part of the route saw runners have to run through a massive puddle - TWICE! Not good.

Final couple of miles were undulating and quite tough.

Nature of the course meant local support was vert limited.

Water stations were regular but only contained water until stage of the race. 

Finishers were given crisps, water, a decend medal and a cotton finishers shirt. For a marathon there should've been more post race nutrition.

In summary -

Good atmosphere. Not the most inspiring route but not too bad.

On a positive note, the various distances catered for all..

It was well organised and well marshalled.

Finishers shirt was nice but but was made of cotton.

A bit more nutrition for finishers is a must both during, and after the race.

Would I do this race again? Yes but I would hope little improvements could be made.

Thank you Run Wales for a good day.

Posted on 11.03.18

Completed in 2018

4.6

Stanley Park 10k - Day 1

Stanley Park 10k Road Race

Fylde Coast Events know how to put on a good race. This was another good example. 

Stanley Park 10k takes place on Saturday & Sunday with the option of doing one, or both days. 

Registration was straight forward. 

Regular emails kept participants well informed. 

Race numbers were collection only and baggage was pretty basic but trouble-free. 

10k route saw runners do lap of a runnning track before completing a 2x lap course on mostly solid paths, in beautiful surroundings included park land & a trot around a lake. 

All very nice & picturesque. 

Race finished with another lap of the running track. 

Local support was quite decent with spectators on various parts of the course and at the running track. 

Marshal sypport was excellent as always. 

Water stations were on 2 parts of each lap - that’s 4 in total. They contained bottled water only which is perfectly ok for a 10k race. 

Funishers recieved a solid medal, banana, water & a small bar of chocolate. 

They also had a box of event t-shirts from previous Fylde Coast events at the finish which they were giving away free of charge. 

In summary - This was another great Fylde Coast event. 

Flat course, good atmosphere, superb value, nice medal & a fun event. 

Posted on 24.02.18

Completed in 2018

4.6

Great North West Half Marathon 2018

Great North West Half Marathon

I have done this race before so knew what to expect.

Fylde Coast put on some great races. This is another good example of this.

Registration was easy with race numbers collection only.

There was an area for baggage. Not 100% secure but it worked ok.

Course was two small loops, followed by two big loops along the sea front.

Course was mostly flat but had a couple of minor hills to navigate.

Nothing too serious.

Water stations contained water only but were fairly regular.

Crowd support was very good.

Finishers recieved a top quality medal, smart looking tech shirt, banana, small chocolate and water.

The North west weather can be a little wind but today it was perfect.

In summary-

This is a super event and excellent value.

The course isn't totally flat by any means but I would say it's a fairly fast course.

The medal & finishers shirt are excellent.

Maybe a bit more nutrition for finishers would be nice but overall, I can't complain.

GNWHM is a race I would happily do every year.

Thanks FCR for a super day.

Posted on 18.02.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.5

Winter Railway Ultra 2018

The Winter Railway Ultra

This was another great 'How Hard Can It Be?' event.

Race took place on an old dis-used railway line. This was a multi lap race featuring a 9.4mile out & back route.

Registration was straight forward. Race numbers were collection on the day only.

Baggage was as basic as can be with. Bags were left on the floor so taking a bin bag to keep belongings clean was recomended.

Railway Ultra had a variety of distances options ranging from 9.4 miles to aproximately 38 miles.

The route was flat and scenic. Parts of the route were uneven and quite bumpy.

Runners were given a wristband to confirm they'd completed each lap.

Beauty of this type of race is runners have the option to select their prefered distance mid race.

This was on private land so local support was non-existant but the out and back course meant runners could support each other.

Aid stations were at the start and mid-point of each lap and contained water, cola and various things to eat.

Finishers were rewarded with a really nice medal and option of cakes, sweets ect.

In summary-

Denzil and his team at offer fun, friendly events with nice medals and a good race atmosphere.

They are flexible when it comes to distance options.

The out and back course might not be to everybody's liking but it didnt bother me.

The course was flat but some of the roads were bumpy and a little muddy in places.

Would I do this race again? 100% yes.

I attended this race with 4 friends. We all had a really good day.

Posted on 18.02.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

3.2

Very disappointing day. Improvements required on many levels

I entered this event quite late. A St Valentines Day themed, friendly race with plenty of PB opportunities was an attractive proposition.

Race had 5k, 10k or half marathon options. I chose half marathon option.

Course was a described as a flat out and back on solid canal paths.

Pre-race emails were plentyful and I got a feeling this was going to be a good, honest race.

Race numbers were collection only. These were picked up by start line with pre-race facilities available at a local coffee shop.

Baggage was in an area next to the start line.

The race had several problems.

First of all the coffee shop was closed.

The area we were given for parking was unavailable unless you wanted an £80 parking ticket!!!

Organisers appologised and said it was completely out of their control.

The course had to be changed at short notice due to flooding caused by heavy rain. This meant a 2-lap race for those doing the half marathon.

Biggest fault was to come - more on that later.

Race route went along canal path, did a loop of the football ground and then got a bit confused. Route eventually took us along a grassy trail which became tricky to run on due to the slippery mud and rain.

In my opinion the course wasn't accurately described.

We completed first lap and I noticed we'd only done about 6miles so knew if we repeated the lap again it would be significantly short of the half marathon distance.

As I a crossed finish line my watch showed just 11.9miles so I had to carry on running another 1.2 miles to make up the half marathon distance. I then aired my concerns and showed my watch to organisers who made a note of that time.

I can accept most things but a massively short course is completely unforgivable and very, very disappointing.

One of the organisers blamed the marshals.

Marshals give up their sundays to help races run smoothly so to blame them for this isn't right or fair. 

Finishers were given a less than average medal, a bag containing bottle of beer, water and packet of crisps,

There were also some cakes at finish line.

In summary-

This race needs vast improvement.

£20 isn't good value especially given the problems.

Parking & pre-race facilities obviously need to be looked at.

The short course is completely unacceptable and very disappointing. Having to run 1.2 miles to make up the distance is simply not on. This was down to an error by organisers NOT marshals and it shows a lack of class to try and shift the blame onto others.

I wanted to like it. I'm sure the organisers are good, honest people but it's clear errors made. As runners themselves, I am sure they must understand our frustrations.

I accept some issues were out of their control.

On a positive note, with work it could be a decent event.

It also raised money for charity which I guess is a good thing.

*** Results have just come in. They have put down the time from my Garmin AFTER I did the extra 1.3miles. Does that make me feel better? NO.

Everybody else have been given 12miles finish times.

Complete and utter joke.

I still feel angry and cheated and I know other runners felt the same but kept quiet.

Would I do this race again? 100% NO.

I have already booked another race with these guys at Easter but I won't be back.

Hope they learn from these errors. A correctly measured course and accurate timing is so important. They failed badly on this score.

I have tried to be as fair as possible but some things you simply can't defend.

Posted on 11.02.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.3

Charles Darwin Challenge 2018

The Charles Darwin Day

Charles Darwin Challenge took place at Shrewsbury Sports village cycle track. It was a multi lap race with each lap approxmately 1km long.

Race had 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon options so catered for all abilities.

The idea of a Friday Marathon was quite appealing so I thought, why not.

Registration was straight forward.There was plenty of pre-race information.

Race HQ was at the sports centre, directly next to the track. This meant toilets and facilities were available for runners to use.

There was a good atmosphere in and around HQ..

Race numbers were collection on the day.

With the race number there was also a timing chip which would count the laps.

There was a place for baggage, next to the track.

I selected marathon distance. This would mean 43x laps to complete 26.2 mile distance.

To some people this might seen like torture but my plan was to switch off and focus on the distance rather than the number of laps.

The course was fast, flat and on smooth tarmack.

I did find the 43x lap route mentally very tough but on a good day you could smash a super-fast time.

Progress of laps completed were shown on a computer screen.

On the plus side there was a well stocked water/feed station each lap.

Nature of the course meant local support was non-existent but runners were able to support and encourage each other during the race.

The marshals were absolutely brilliant.

Finishers of all distances were rewarded with one of the best medals I have ever received. It's an absolute beauty.

There were also various items to eat at the finish.

In summary - This was a good, honest race with a nice atmosphere and good value.

No getting away from it, 43x laps is mentally very tough but if you tackle it right, the flat course makes it perfect for smashing a very fast time.

I'd like to thank Denzil Martin and team for a great day.

Would I do this race again? 100% yes.

Posted on 10.02.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.1

Mad Dog 10K 2018

Mad Dog 10k

There's a lot of hype surrounding Mad Dog 10K with a mad clamour for entries and places selling out instantly.

This was the first time I'd done this race.

The main appeals are obvious - A flat course, excellent finishers bag and well organised race .

Registering for the race was an ordeal in itself with website extremly slow due to the amount of interest.

Entry fee was quite expensive for a 10K.

Car parking was about 5 minutes drive from the HQ but at least it was free and there was a regular free shuttle buses so this wasn't a problem.

Race HQ itself was based at a school.

It was very busy.

Baggage deposit/collection was straight forward - full marks there.

Queues for the loo were very long.

The option was there to collect finisher's bag and shirt BEFORE the race. It's not something I like to see.

There was a good atmosphere as runners waited to start.

Course itself was flat, fast and a PB chasers dream.

Strong wind can be an issue on west coast but today, the conditions were perfect.

Southport is a fantastic place. I don't think the route did it justice in all honesty.

Crowd support was good. Marshal support was first class.

I only saw one water station on the entire route but maybe there were more?

Finishers were rewarded with a decent medal, banana, water and a packed finisher's bag.

Ok, let's talk about the finisher's bag.......

It contained Mad Dog vest, small rucksack, flip belt, hat, buff, enegy drinks, fruit crisps, fridge magnet, water bottle, dog treat plus various samples of massage oils, sweets etc.

There was also pre and post-race massage option.

Bus back to car park was easy and straight forward.

In summary I can understand why this race is popular.

Course couldn't be flatter and the finisher's bag is stacked with plenty of items. Maybe replacing the dog treat with more nutrition would've been better?

Down side were the queues. Very busy getting into car parks and more toilets are required.

Overall it was a good day and decent value for money.

Posted on 04.02.18

Completed in 2018

4.5

Yorkshire Cakeathon 2018

Yorkshire Cakeathon

I'd heard so much about NSV events so the opportunity to sample it myself with their first ever northern race was too hard to refuse.

Cost of the race was about £39. Some might say that is quite expensive but it depends what you get for your money.

Registration was simple enough. There were plenty of pre-race information and a good atmosphere.

Race HQ and baggage were at a local community centre.

Race numbers were collection only.

Format was simple. This was a 6-hour (or less) timed race in which runners could do as many laps as they wanted within the 6 hour limit. Each lap was a aprx 4.37miles long.

Course was on an old dis-used railway line. It was largly flat and very fast course.

Each runner carried a card which was stamped to confirm they had completed a lap.

I targeted 6x laps to complete a marathon.

Water/aid stations were at the end of each lap and contained water, cola, savories, cakes, crisps and various sweets.

Marshal support was awesome. Local support was minimal but nature of the out-and-back course meant runners could cheer and encourage each other during the race.

Beauty of this type of event is it suits everybody from novice to ultra runner. 

Finishers were rewarded with a giant, solid medal which measures 14cm x14cm. It is quite frankly the best medal I have ever seen.

Finishers bag also contained an enormous bar of chocolate, beer, crisps, kitkat, penguin, mini cheddars.

There was also a table full of cakes for people to enjoy.

They overheard me saying it was my 25th marthon and gave me a 25th marathon badge to mark the occasion. Nice tough that- thanks.

In summary-

This was a super event with a nice atmosphere.

Quite expensive to enter but worth it in my opinion.

Course was fast and flat so a person on form could smash a great time.

Runners were well rewarded and the medal is absolutly sensational.

The out-and-back course might not be to everybody's liking but I didn't mind it.

Would I do this race again? 100% yes.

Posted on 29.01.18

Holme Pierrepont 6 hour challenge

Holme Pierrepont Six Hour Challenge

This was another brilliant It's Grim Up North race.

Restistration was very easy. Pre-race information was regular.

Race numbers were collection only. Race HQ was in a function room.

It was warm and there were hot food, tea and coffee available to buy.

This was a multi-lap, 6 hour (or less) race which took place at Holme Pierrepont Water Park.

It covered all distances from 5k to ultra.

Each lap was 3miles long. My personal re-race target was marathon distance so this would mean 8 and a bit laps.

Course was flat and fast on mainly decent paths. Part of the course was a little bit muddy and there were a couple of steps to go down but nothing to worry about.

Nature of this course means local support was very, very limited with only the odd dog water to offer encouragement.

On this particular day the weather was good but I imagine the wind might be an issue on another day.

Marshal support was absolutely perfect. 

Water/feed stations were at the end of each lap. They contained cupped water nd various things to eat.

Finishers of all distances were rewarded with an ok medal, bottle of beer and a large bar of chocolate.

There was also an array of home made cakes for the runners to enjoy.

In summary-

Awesome event, fast & flat, well marshalled, fun event with a good atmosphere and good value.

Laps might not be to everybody's taste but it certainly wasn't a problem for me.

Posted on 20.01.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.2

Central Lancashire Half Marathon 2018

Central Lancs Half Marathon

This was another excellent Fylde Coast Event.

Pre-race registation and information were 1st class.

The race is a little awkward to access by public transport.

It cost about £14 in a taxi from Preston train station.

Race HQ was held in a school hall. Race numbers were collection only.

Baggage was simple and straight forward.

There were tea, coffee and food on sale pre-race. All very good.

The race itself was a fast, mostly flat course through country roads with only the old small hill to consider. Early morning Ice and frost meant some of the roads were a little bit slippy at times.

Water stations were fairly regular and contained bottled water only.

The nature of the course meant local support was non-existant.

Marshal support was perfect.

Finishers were rewarded with chocolate, banana and a massive medal. The bling is simply magnificent.

In summary -

This was a very well organsied race with a fast course, good facilities and an amnazing finishers medal.

Early bird entry was just £14 (affiliated). Absolutely fantasic value.

The race can be a little bit lonely at times but it is what it is.

Loved the day and will be back again in 2019 for sure.

Thank you Fylde Coast Events.

Posted on 08.01.18

Completed as a first timer in 2018

4.5

Sir Titus Trot (marathon) 2018

The Sir Titus Trot

This was another super It’s Grim Up North event.

All distances were covered from 5k to Ultra. I chose Marathon option. Registration & pre-race information was 1st class as always.

Race numbers were collection only.

HQ location was directly next to the train station, with a 5 minute walk tothe start line.

No toilets during the race so using toilets at HQ was a must.

Baggage was on canal side. No frills but it worked well.

This was first time I’d done this race although I knew parts of the course quite well. 

Marathon route was along canal paths. It had one decent hill to tackle, with a couple of smaller ‘bumbs’ to navigate. Nothing too bad but certainly not flat.

Canal paths were fairly decent but rain had meant it did get a little bit muddy at times. Route was an out and back, followed by another out and back.

Water/feed stations were fairly regular and contained cupped water with sweets, juice, crips & Jaffa cakes etc. 

Nature of this course means local support was minimal but out & back course meant runners were able to encourage each other during the race. 

Marshal support was absolute 1st class. 

Finishers were rewarded with a bottle of beer, packet of chocolates and a medal.

There was also a feast of cakes etc at finish line for everybody to enjoy.

**Due to a problem by suppliers at customs, the medal will be posted when it arrives. Runners were made aware of this beforehand. 

In summary-

This was a typical Grim Up North Event. 

Great value, great fun, friendly event. 

The course had a couple of hills and a bit of mud. 

Overall is it was pretty flat and has great PB possibilities. 

Can I thank organisers Diane, Cath & crew for a really enjoyable day. 

Posted on 07.01.18

Liverbird Marathon 2018 (day 2)

Liverbird Double Day Marathon day 2

Race took place on New Years Eve/ New Years Day with the option of a marathon on one or both days.

Pre-race information was plentiful.

This was a no frills, basic but friendly marathon. Very good value  

Entry was gained by making a charity donation directly to a JustGiving page.

Race numbers were collection on the day.

The start line was as basic as it could possibly be with runners gathering by a red hat.

Course was a flat, out and back (x4) along the banks of the river Mersey.

It is not the most inspiring course but it is what it is.

West coast at this time of the year is notoriously windy so early morning sun was very welcome. The weather did turn later on but this was to be expected.

Water/feed station was at the start/end of each out and back. That’s 8 opportunities for fuelling up.

It contained cupped water, jelly babies little snacks - all very good.

There were no offical toilets but there was a pub on route for runners to use.

Marshals as always did a brilliant job. To stand out there in the cold to make everybody’s race day a more pleasant experience is fantastic. They really are unsung heroes.

Local support was minimal but nature of the course meant runners were able to offer encouragement as they passed one another.

Race times were recorded manually but were very accurate.

Finishers were rewarded with a lovely medal but nothing else.

In summary -

There’s no getting away from it - Liverbird Marathon is no frills, without the glamour of some races.

What you do get is good value, an honest race organised by people who care and good atmosphere.

All profits going to charity which makes it the more special.

The course can be repetative but it is flat and on a good day would be a PB marathon.

Would I recommend this race? Yes I would but just be prepared for a basic event.

I'd like to once again thank the marshals for a good day. 

Kaja and her team do a brilliant job. 

Posted on 01.01.18

Completed as a first timer in 2016

4

Liverbird Marathon 2016 (Day1)

Liverbird Double Day Marathon day 1

Liverbird Marathon was a real experience.

Event took place on New Years Eve/ New Years Day with the option of a marathon on one or both days.

Pre-race information was straight to the point and honest.

This was a very low-key, no frills, very basic but friendly marathon.

Entry was gained by making a charity donation directly to a JustGiving page.

Race numbers were collection on the day.

The start line was as basic as it could possibly be with runners gathering by a red hat.

Course was a flat, out and back (x4) along the banks of the river Mersey.

It is not the most inspiring course but it is what it is.

West coast at this time of the year is notoriously windy so I expected the worse. On this particular day the weather wasn't too bad.

Water/feed station was at the start/end of each out and back.

It contained cupped water, jelly babies little snacks - perfectly adiquate.

There were no offical toilets but there was a pub on route for runners to use.

Marshals as always did a brilliant job.

Local support was minimal but nature of the course meant runners were able to offer encouragement as they passed one another.

Race times were recorded manually but were very accurate.

It tallied perfectly with my Garmin.

Finishers were rewarded with a lovely medal but nothing else.

In summary -

It's fair to say Liverbird Marathon is no frills, without the razzmatazz of it's more illustrious rivals.

What you do get is an honest race with good atmosphere with all profits going to charity. 

The course can be repetative but it is flat and on a good day would be a fast marathon.

Would I recommend this race? Yes I would but just be prepared for a basic event.

I'd like to once again thank the marshals for a good day.

Posted on 30.12.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Winter Track Marathon (Warrington)

Winter Track Marathon

Track Marathon took place at Warrington Victoria Park, over two days, with solo and teams participating. I entered day 2 as a solo marathon runner and to be honest didn't know quite what to expect. 

The track marathon is self explainatory - 26.2 miles on a track - thats 105.5 laps. Simple enough but this would be both a mental and physical test.

Registration was simple enough with plenty of pre-race information.

Baggage was very basic. Runners are an honest bunch so it was pretty safe.

Laps were counted using a timing chip which was attatched to the ankle of each runner so at least we didn't have to count the 105 laps!!

There was a computor screen showing how many laps each runner or team had completed.

Running around a track for 4 hours+ might seem like living hell but it depends how you tackle it. My tactic was to switch off and run.

On a positive note, it was flat, there were water stations (which contained water, enegy drinks) and toilets every 800meters.

There was nice sprinkling of support from spectators in main stand.

Runners were kept entertained with music played over PA. All music hasd been selected by runner during registration so we got a nice blend of various musical genres.

Nature of running around any track means running wide adds distance. My marathon was significanty more yhan 26.2miles.

Finishers were rewarded with a superb medal and bottle of beer.

There was also a free post-race massage.

In summary - 

There was a good atmosphere. Course is fast & flat with regular water stations and toilets. Good value overall.

The bad side is obviously the monotony of 105 laps. It can be quite draining. If you can cope with this then you've cracked it.

Would I do this race again - Yes I would.

Posted on 20.12.17

Newark Showground Christmas Challenge 2017

Newark Showground Christmas Challenge - Sunday

Newark Showground Christmas Challenge is a 6-hour multi-lap race.

Race took place over 2 days. I ran on the second day.

Format is simple- Do as many of the 3.275 mile laps as you want within 6hours (or less).

My aim was to do 8x laps to complete a marathon but everybody had their own individual targets.

Beauty of this race is that it suits all runners, from novice to ultra runners. Just run what you want.

Registration was straight forward. Pre-race information was plentyful.

Laps were recorded by timing chips which were attached to the leg of each runner. We were kept informed of how many laps we had done at the end of each lap.

The course is run almostly entirely on paths with a little on grass. Some of the paths were a little bumpy but not too bad.

Nature of the course meant local support was non-existant but runners encouraged each other along perfectly.

Route was well put together. It might not be the most intersting but it served a purpose perfectly.

Baggage area was basic but perfectly secure.

Aid stations were at the end of each lap and contained water, juice, mince pies, cakes, crisps, jaffa cakes etc.

Finshers of all distances were rewarded with a super, solid medal.

The medal was presented by race organiser and marathon legend, Adam Holland. Thought that was a really nice touch.

In summary - This course probably isnt the most scenic but it's fast, flatand suits runners of all abilities.

Race doesn't have the glamour of some of the big races but it's a good, honest race, with a nice atmosphere.

Very good value.

I would certainly reccomend this race. I'll be back in 2018 for sure.

Posted on 17.12.17

Canal Christmas Cracker (marathon) 2018

Leeds & Liverpool Canal Christmas Cracker

Very much enjoyed this race in 2016 so the decision to enter in 2017 was very easy.

Race had 5k, 10k, HalfMarathon and full Marathon options, so catered for almost everybody.

I took up the marathon option.

Registration process was very straight forward.

Race numbers were collection on the day at a local social club.

The start line was on the canal paths, a 10min walk away. Perfect for warming up the legs.

There was widespread snow and ice over the entire country which put this race in doubt.

The organisers kept us all informed throughout the week with regular updates. Full credit for that.

The race takes place entirely on decent quality canal paths. It's a flat course so perfect for getting a quick time.

We were told the race would go ahead but with a revised marathon route to make the course safer for runners & marshals. The new couse was an out & back, followed by another out & back (x2).

Water stations were regular with cupped water, juice, sweets and jelly babies on offer.

Marshal support could not have been better. To stand around in sub zero temperatures to help and encourage runners is fantastic.

I always say marshals are heroes. Today was a perfect example of this.

The nature of canal races mean local support is always minimal.

That said, the out & back course meant plenty of support from other runners.

Finishers were rewarded with a super medal, chocolate orange, bottle of beer and a table full of home bakes cakes and pastries.

What more could you ask for?

** Can I mention- During, and after the race I felt unwell. Marshals were superb and had a paramedic check me over. 

Big thanks for that.

In summary -

This was another awesome Grim Up North Event.

Fun, friendly and great value.

Support from locals is minimal but this is a canal race so you wouldn't expect any different.

Posted on 10.12.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

3.4

Autumn Shakespeare (Marathon)

The Autumn Shakespeare

What can we say about this race?

Good honest, friendly race - low key, no frills and all very basic.

Autumn Shakespheare race series covered 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon distances and also had a fun run.

I chose the marathon option.

I'd been eyeing up this race all year. The thought of a fast, flat marathon course was very tempting. It didn't disappoint on that score.

Registration was simple. Race numbers were collection only. 

There was plenty of toilets, which is always welcome.

Baggage store was as basic as it can be with belonging placed in corner of the room. Not secure but runners are an honest bunch so it worked ok.

Race venue was in the middle of knowhere and quite awkard to get to.

Race incorperated 5k laps with 8 and a bit laps for the marathon distance.

The course saw marathon runners start about 500 yards further forward on the first lap to make up the marathon distance. This meant, although this race was chip timed, there was a gun start. 

Starting at the back of the field added both time and distance to the marathon. (Garmin shows I ran 26.57miles.)

Running 8x laps of an airfield isn't very inspiring. It's very dull in fact.

I just switched off and ran so it didn't bother me too much. 

Nature of the course meant there was no local support.

Marshals were very good, as always.

Water station was at the end of each 5K lap. Cupped water and gels were on offer. 

Finishers were given a very small medal and the option of a half banana or meusli bar. 

Not very good reward for a marathon. I did expect more in all honesty.

Finishers shirt had to be purchased (£15 each). I have had to order one as they didn't have any small shirts left.

Another gripe was the medal. Very basic, with everybody given the exact same bling regardless of distance.

**** On a sidenote, I was feeling very nauseous about 18miles into the marathon.

My brother explained situation to a marshal and asked if he I could have half a banana (which they were giving to finishers). The marshal point blank refused. I anm not blaming marshal as she was probably carrying out orders. Thought is was out of order and very tight fisted..

It kind of summed up the event perfectly.

Very simple, very basic, with very little reward for runners.

In summary -

It was a friendly event.

If you want a fast, flat marathon then this was the one to do.

If you want an interesting route, crowd support and basic rewards for runners then best look elsewhere.

Posted on 12.11.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Bradford City Run (Half Marathon)

Bradford City Runs

Bradford is an easy place to access from where I live, which was the main reason I entered the race.

Registration was simple enough, as was the baggage drop off.

Race numbers were collection on the day only. Queues for this were fairly long.

This was a multi lap course, starting and finishing in Bradford city centre with the middle section going through tarmac/cobbled back streets. Each laps was round about 5k long.

Race had 5k,10k or Half Marathon options with Half Marathon runners starting 20 minutes before the 10k & 5k runners.

I chose the 4-lap Half Marathon.

Course had a couple of hills to climb but also had fast, downhill sections. Overall, it was a fairly fast course.

Bradford City Runs is a real community event with 'non-runners' encouraged to participate. This is great to see but the multi-lap format meant faster half marathon and 10k runners were having to dodge their way around groups of people walking.

Maybe staggering the start times more would help?

There was one water station which containing cupped water.

This was perfectly adiquate for me personally but others may disagree.

Marshals were fantastic. Crowd support was decent, especially at the start/finish area.

Finishers were given a basic, no frills medal, tech t-shirt and small bottle of water with no aditional nutrition.

****Here lies the problem-

I ran the Half Marathon in 01:39:33. Not Mo Farah speed but a decent time. When I crossed finish line I was told they had no small finishers shirts left because 5k and 10k finishers had taken them all.

This is very annoying. When you enter a race they ask for shirt size so how can they run out of small shirts so quickly?

It might sound trivial but a race shirt is part of your race fee. A shirt that doesn't fit is completely pointless.

Maybe hand out shirts BEFORE the race?

In summary -

This is a great multicultural event for Bradford with all abillities and corners of the comunity paricipating. Really good to see.

Mixing fast HM/10k runners with run/walkers on a multi lap race isn't the best but it is what it is. 

A finishers bag would be nice. There was no nutrition at all at finish- not even a bananna.

Would I do this race again? Possibly, possibly not.

Posted on 30.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.4

Hubble Bubble Marathon

Hubble Bubble

I've done several Grim Up North races so kind of knew what to expect.

They're always fun, with nice bling, cake and beer at the finish.

This race was no exception.

Regististration was simple enough.

There were plenty of information pre-race with regular emails.

Toilets and parking were at a local social club about 10 mins walk from race HQ/start.

Race bibs were collcted on the day from start line.

There was a small area for baggage.

Race covered all distances from 5k to ultra.

I chose the Marathon option.

Course was an out and back, followed by another out and back along canal paths. 

Paths were genrally well kept and flat with a good chance to get a super fast time.

Nature of the course meant local support was minimal but there was nice support from fellow runners and marshals.

Feed stations were every 3 miles or so with jaffa cakes, sweets, crisps, cupped water, cupped enegy drinks on offer. Full marks there.

Finshers received a nice Halloween-themed medal, bottle of beer and a large bar of chocolate.

There was also a nice selection of cakes and buns for runners to enjoy.

In summary -

Grim Up North races will never have the razzmatazz of some of the high profile races but what you do get is a good value of money and a fun, friendly event.

 

Posted on 28.10.17

Completed in 2017

4

Great South Run 2017 (with MNDA charity and #TeamJo)

Great South Run

I entered this race quite late.

The 500 mile+ round trip from Leeds to Portsmouth was a long, long  journey for a 10 mile run but I wanted to support charity I run for so thought, why not?

This race had all the things you would expect from a 'big day' event.

Plenty of stalls, a good atmosphere and large charity village.

I was at MNDA charity tent so didn't have chance to properly explore expo and didn't use baggage store.

Great South Run is fast, flat course - Perfect for people stepping up the distance or those training for a Half Marathon.

The course was on path/road. Route takes runners through historic town and allows runners to see famous 'landmarks' and lovely scenary.

Final 2 miles saw runners go back along the sea front. I had heard ths part of the course can be very tough due to a nasty headwind but on the day it was fairly calm.

Crowd support was superb, as were the marshals.

There was also 'LIVE' music to keep runners entertained.

Water stations were regular with bottled water on offer and also jelly babies at mile 9.

Finishers were given a pretty poor finishers bag containing an ok medal, energy bar, lots of leaflets and not much else.

I trotted around slowly with people from MNDA charity so finished in over 2 hours. To my disappointment they only had Medium or Large finishers shirts left.

A shirt which doesn't fit is pointless.

This race cost over £40 to enter so I expect better. Very poor!

In summary - Lots of positives.

Really good race with great support and atmospere.

Course was very good.

Anybody on form would smash a great time on this course.

Negative side was the medal looks exactly the same as the other 'Great Run' medals. A bit of diversity would be nice.

Finishers bag needs improvement.

Got to mention t-shirt situation.

Running out of Small and XL shirts is simply not good enough.

Organisers been paid already so why should they care about runners?

These events are very good but also expensive to enter.

Poor value in my opinion.

Would I run it again?

Possibly, if I was in the area but travel costs mean its doubtful I will get chance to run this again.

Posted on 23.10.17

Completed in 2017

4.7

Manchester Half Marathon 2017

Manchester Half Marathon

Wow! What a fantastic day this was.

I ran this race in 2016 so kind of knew what to expect.

Registration was simple. 

Pre-race information was first class with regular emails.

There was a good atmosphere in race village with usual charity stalls and pre-race and post-race massage options.

The perfect place to meet friends from twitter.

Baggage system was flawless with no queues to deposit or collect bags. All very good.

The race itself was run entirly on road. Course was flat and super fast-

a PB chasers dream. 

Course is not the most senic but it doesn't really matter.

Local support was amazing. Manchester crowds are always 1st class.

Marshals were absolutly brilliant, as always.

Water stations were regular with bottled water and energy gels on offer.

Anybody who has run full or half marathon in Manchester will know about the finish line.

It's at the end of a long, straight road and and seems to take an eternity to reach. The support on that final strech is brilliant.

Finshers were rewarded with a superb tech shirt and quite frankly the best medal I have ever received for a half marathon.

Finishers bag also contained an energy bar and foil heat blanket. 

A couple of other food items would have been nice but never mind.

Runners were also given free pints of Erdinger 0% alcohol lager.

Very refreshing after a long run.

In summary- 

Absolutely brilliant event. Possibly my favorite half marathon this year.

Course is fast, flat and has bags of PB possibilities.

Medal and shirt are fab.

Finishers bag could be better but this is a minor criticism.

Overall, it was a superb day.

I will certainly be back in 2018.

 

 

 

Posted on 15.10.17

Completed in 2017

4.5

Bournemouth Supersonic 10k

Supersonic 10K

*** Sorry for the intro but I want to explain my own personal experiences.***

I travelled down from Leeds for the weekend having entered the 10k on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday. I picked up an injury but still expected to get around both events.

Sadly this struggled 10k race proved I had no chance whatsoever of completing a marathon.

Very, very disappointing but I wont let it cloud my views on the Supersonic race.**

Here goes -

Race registration was simple enough.

The pre-race guide which was emailed to participants provided all the information required. Full marks for that.

I didn't use baggage area but have been told it was smooth.

The race itself was an out and back, along the sea front with the return route going along two different piers, followed by a second out and back and then onto the finish line.

A very fast, flat course which is perfect for any PB chasers out there.

Views were very scenic and running along the piers was a nice touch.

Crowd support was very good with plenty of people cheering from vantage points at the cafe/bar as we ran from 2nd pier.

There was also a decent amout of support along the route.

Water stations were fairy regular.

Marshals were fantastic, as always.

Finishers received a nice medal (with 10k keyring attatched) and a BMF tote bag containing various BMF branded merchandise including quaiity tech shirt, foil sheet, water bottle and enegy bar..

My own race from a personal point of view was a disaster but that shouldn't take away from what was a brilliant event.

Bournemouth festival of running is something I certainly recommend and one I would love to do again. 

In summary, this was a great event, well organised with plenty of PB possibilities.

Who doesn't like a run along the beautiful south coast?

 

Posted on 10.10.17

Completed in 2017

4.3

Redcar Half Marathon 2017

Redcar Half Marathon

I entered this race on a whim just 4 days before the event having seen it listed on RaceCheck.

Registration was easy enough.

Communication from organisers was very good.

I arrived at a very picturesque race HQ, collected race number and deposited bag in baggage store with minimal fuss.

There was a friendly atmosphere in and around the venue with a stage set up and DJ/compare entertaining the crowds.

There were various stalls and food outlets. It was a good family occasion.

The day featured fun run, 5k and half marathon. There were also wheelchair athletes participating so everybody was catered for.

I took up the half marathon option. 

Race was road race with an out and back, and back again (if you know whay I mean) route.

I had heard so much about how windy Redcar is but today the conditions were near perfect.

**** Now for my gripe. The route saw runners cross the finish line at mile 7 before contiuing on along the sea front and returning back to officially finish the race.

Crossing the 'finish line' at mile 7 was a little demoralising, knowing you had another 6 miles to do.

Maybe organisers can re-jig the route to stop this happening. Sure it'd be easy to do.

Water stations were regular with bottled water as the only option. I honestly think smaller bottles with an adition of enegy drinks would have been better?

Support from locals was very good. Nature of the course meant it wasn't contiuous but full credit to those who came out to cheer us on.

Marshals were absolutly brilliant.

Finishers bag contained a decent medal, tech shirt, running socks, jelly beans, water, crisps and mars bar.

In summary -

Great event, good value and a nice, friendly atmosphere.

The out and back course might not be to everybody's liking, especially going across finish line at mile 7 but it is a race I would certainly do again.

Posted on 01.10.17

Completed in 2017

4.8

Hull Marathon 2017

The RB Hull Marathon

This was first time I had done this race so wasn't quite sure what to expect.

Registration was simple enough. Runners were kept well informed throughout with regular emails and news via social media.

Numbers were collection only. Not ideal but organisers happily allowed people to collect their friend's numbers along with there own.

Race had various distance including Marathon, half marathon and relay. This suited all abillities.

Baggage area was well organised, fast, simple and trouble free.

There was a complete ban on all ipods and music players which did upset some. This is a health and safety issue so I don't really have a problem with it.

Race stated outside KC Stadium and was on paths and roads.

Route was mixed but quite scenic in places. It took runners along the front (stunning views) before looping back on itself and going through dock yards and industrial estate.

Highlight was running across the iconic Humber Bridge before returning back over the bridge. Some of the views were quite stunning. Runners were then taken through an athletics track before heading to finishline inside the magnificent KC Stadium.

Course is described as 'flat' by organisers - I would describe is as slightly undulating with 2 or 3 hills to tackle.

Water stations were regular enough with gels & enegy drinks at later stations.

Marshal and local support were absolutely brilliant.

Finishing inside stadium was a nice touch.

On offer for finishers was a top quality medal, shirt and a few other bits n pieces.

Atmosphere inside the stadium was very good.

** On a seperate note, I accidentally left my timing chip at hotel.

Thankfully, they sorted me a new number & timing chip with no fuss.

Thanks, and sorry for any inconvieniance.

In summary this was a fantastic race to do.

I can't speak highly enough about the support from marshals and Hull public. It was first class.

I can't really think of many, or any negatives. Maybe enrgy drinks at earlier water stations should be considered?

I would definatly do this race again.

Posted on 24.09.17

EHM Night 5K

English Half Marathon 5k Night Run

This is a very difficult race to review for reasons which will become obvious. 

Lets start with the many positives.

This was first time this race has taken place, and what a fantastic addition to the EHM weekend of racing. 

Registration was simple enough. 

Baggage was spot on. 

Atmophere was superb. 

Race setting looked fantastic with start/finish line at Victoria Park Athletics track all lit up. 

There was a bit of a queue for people who'd ordered t-shirts but nothing to worry about.

All good thus far.

Many of the runners lined up wearing head torches. (I need to invest in one myself).

Race started at the track, had a bit of a trail/grassy middle section before finishing with a lap of the track. 

Race was a bit congested at first but was ok once field spread out.

It was nice flat course.

Now for the (big) negative.

*** I'm sorry to have to mention this but it was a major issue, and disappointment  of the night.

As we entered the stadium for the finish, I knew we were way short of the 5k so assumed it must finish with 2 laps of the track. Sadly this was not the case.

The course was accurately measured but  somehow the runners took wrong turning and missed section resulting in the route being 4K instead of the 5k.

I've been told this was down to an error by a race marshal or no marshal at a key part of the course to direct runners.

Either way, organisers have to take full responsibility and it spoilt what should have been a brilliant event.

I actually carried on running until I'd passed 5k distance. I saw many other runners who did the same.

I spoke to officials who were very upset & apologetic.

We're all human. We all make mistakes.

Going back to the positives- Finishers were rewarded with an absolutely fantastic medal, beer & food. 

I'm teetotal so gave my pint of the fantastically named 'Runners Ruin' beer to a fellow runner.

Once again there was a nice post-race atmosphere. People clearly enjoyed the event.

In summary this race will go from strength to strength. 

It was a super event and a nice start to what was a fantastic weekend of running events. 

The short course was a massive, massive disappointment- there's no glossing over that. 

Im sure organisers are as disappointed as the runners. Harsh lessons will be learnt and next year's event will be awesome. 

Would I do this race again?

Absolutely. 

Posted on 19.09.17

Completed in 2017

4.6

English Half Marathon 2017

English Half Marathon

I ran English Half Marathon last year. It was one of the stand out races so entering in 2017 was a very easy decision.

The day saw both 10K and Half Marathon distances, plus a 1 mile 'fun' race afterwards. This mean't it catered for all abilities & made it a good family occation.

Registration was simple enough. Runners were kept well informed with regular emails.

Race packs were posted with mine arrived just two days before the race.

Baggage was busy but trouble-free. Fair play to volunteers who did a brilliant job.

There was a super atmosphere in and around race HQ.

It was brilliant to meet up with #VisorClub members and friends from twitter.

The race itself was excellent.

Finding starting zone was easy enough.

Water stations were regular and well stocked. 

Local support was very good.

Race route was run on road or flat paths. It started in town centre, went into country lanes before heading back to town centre, via a fleeting run around Warrington RL Stadium. Course was undulating and fairly hilly for first 7/8 miles but final 5 miles or so were mainly flat or downhill.

The finish line is a sight to behold with a red carpet and Golden Gates finish. Visually, it is possibly the best I have experienced.

It looks fit for royalty.

EMH is renowned for lovely bling. The finisher's medal didn't disappoint. Medal was big. solid and beautiful.

Runners were also rewarded with quality finishers bag which included a shirt, beer token and a large amounts items to eat. 

10/10 for that.

Now for the gripe -

The finish line was rammed with runners who were queuing to get finishers shirts and medals.

Why were these not placed directly into finshers bags?

Some runners got to finish and struggled to cross line due to congestion. It's an area that needs looking at. 

A few simple tweaks would have solved this problem.

There was a mini post-race festival with 'LIVE' music, food, beers and a great atmosphere.

In summary -

If you want a brilliant finsh with top-notch bling then this is the race to do. Both are quite stunning.

Down side was the congestion. Putting shirts and medals into finishers bag is the obvious thing to do.

This is a race I will do every year. That's how highly I rate it.

Finally can I pay tribute to the pacers and marshals who did an absolute fantastic job.

 

 

 

 

Posted on 17.09.17

Reply from the race organiser

Hi Colin, Thanks very much for your review from 2017, it is so great you keep coming back. We have looked through all of your advice and are working on how we can improve this for 2018. We will be having a whole new finish line and will ensure the t-shirts are better organised to avoid this. Thanks again and see you both in September!

Posted on 01.02.18

Completed in 2017

5

Marathon In A Day 2017

Marathon In A Day

I was invited to enter this event by friends from the world of Twitter.

So pleased to have taken on the challenge.

Rules were simple enough.

Run or walk 26.2miles within a period of 24 hours. This could be done solo or in a team.

Sounds easy but it's actually more tricky than many realise.

All profit goes to MIND charity- such a great cause.

I chose the solo marathon option.

My marathon was done in three sections.

Part 1-

10am- 13.13 miles in Fleetwood. (01:45:57)

Part 2-

1:13pm 8.18 miles Fleetwood to Blackpool. (01:13:02)

Part 3- 

7:03pm 5.19miles in my home city of Leeds. (0:46:58)

26.5miles in total. 

Believe me, it wasn't easy but it's been a wonderful thing to be part of.

The camaraderie amongst our group on Twitter has been fantastic. 

Seeing people work together as a team, progress and have a laugh in the process has been brilliant. 

It sums up what a special bond there is in the running community.

There's been fantastic efforts right across the board.

It's been such a rewarding experience. 

Massive well done, everybody. 

Posted on 11.09.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.2

Great North Run 2017

Great North Run

Great North Run is seen by many as the flagship, 'must do' half marathon. 

Is it a good race? - Yes. 

Is it worth the unbridled hype? - Possibly not. 

Pre-race info was excellent with regular emails  

There was a really good atmosphere in and around race HQ. 

Baggage was straight forward with deposit & collection both trouble free.

Race itself started in a chaotic fashion with starting pens a complete mess.

I was eventually forced to take my place way down in the white zone instead of orange. 

I'd describe the course itself as mildly undulating. A couple of hills but nothing too serious. Congestion means this isn't really a PB Half Marathon.   

The local support was awesome throughout. Race marshals are unsung heroes in my eyes. They did a brilliant job. 

It's not the prettiest 13.1miles but the run across Tyne Bridge and especially the cheering crowds at the finish were brilliant. 

Finishers were rewarded with a great looking, solid medal, tech shirt & ok finishers bag. Bag included couple of protein bars, some kind of washing conditionioner & a packet of spaghetti. 

There was an extensive charity village so it was great to meet friends from the charity I run for. 

In summary- GNR is a massive occation for North East and a decent half marathon. 

I don't think it's worth the hype in all honesty. Crowd support was first class but congestion means this will never be a super fast course. 

Would I do it again? Probably but I can take it or leave it. 

Posted on 10.09.17

Humber Coastal Half Marathon

ABP Humber Coastal Half Marathon

This was the first year of this race so we were all going into the unknown and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Registration was simple & straight forward. Runners were kept well informed throughout with regular emails from organisers. 

Baggage system was flawless. 

There was a friendly atmosphere in and around the place. 

The race itself started and finished on the sea front and was on a largely flat course. This course would have PB possibilities had it not been for a 2mile section. The path at around mile 8 was flat but the loose terrain made it very taxing on the legs. Other than that, it was pretty flat.

As mentioned at start of review, the race finished on sea front plenty of cheers from spectators. Crowd & marshal support was 1st class.

Finishers were rewarded with a top quality tech shirt, decent medal, tote bag, stick of Humber Coastal HM rock, water plus a token for an ice cream.

The free ice cream was a nice touch. 

In summary, it was an excellent race on a mainly flat course. The difficult terrain at mile 8 was a bit anoying but overall it was a fast, flat course and a great race.  

Would I do it again? Too right I would.

Thanks Cleethorpes for a super day.  

Posted on 03.09.17

Completed in 2017

4.6

Fleetwood Half Marathon 2017

Fleetwood Half Marathon

This was 2nd time I have done this race having completed it in 2016.

Can't speak highly enough of Fylde Coast running events. 

This was no exception.

Registration, race briefing and number collection were all 1st class.

There was a great atmosphere in and around race HQ with merch stalls, food outlets and pre-race massge options available.

Race itself was a fast, flat, partial looped run with with bags of potential for PB chasers out there.

Support from marshals and Fleetwood public was fantastic.

Water stations were plentyfull with bottled water option. Gels weren't on offer but I don't think they are needed for half marathons.

Finish line was at was at HQ. The guy on P.A welcoming home the runners was very entertaing and quick witted. 

It added to what was an already great atmosphere.

Finishers were rewarded with a top class medal, chocolate, water and bananna.

Entry fee was very low at £18 (affiliated).

Great value for such a top event.

Post race massage was available at £10. I took up the option. It was worth every penny because they did a brilliant job.

In summary, this was a typical Flyde Coast Race - well organised, friendly and great value.

Posted on 20.08.17

Completed in 2017

4.3

Newark Half Marathon

Newark Half Marathon

I've done this race in 2016 so I kind of knew what to expect. 

Newark Half Marathon was a really good event. Registration & baggage were simple enough. There was a good pre-race atmosphere. 

Race itself was fairly fast with couple of hills to tackle but nothing too bad. 

Course was mostly on country roads with reasonable views.

Marshal support was excellent. Local support was pretty good too. 

Drink stations were fairly regular with only cupped water on offer. Not perfect but it did the trick ok. 

Final half mile had grass section to test tired legs. 

Finishers were rewarded with a good, quality tech shirt & a reasonable medal. Finishers bag which contained various bits to eat & water. 

There was also a free massage option with I took advantage of.

It was very welcome. 

All things considered, it was a very good day and good value for money.

The course isn't entirely flat but it has potential for a decent time. 

Posted on 13.08.17

Completed in 2017

3.6

Gloucester Marathon 2017 - improvements needed. £56 - Not good value

Gloucester City Marathon

Ok, where do I start?

After much deliberation I entered Gloucester Marathon quite late on. 

Entry fee was very expensive. Just checked my email. It cost £52 to enter marathon, plus a 'processing fee' of £4.38. At £56.38 in total, this is possibly the most expensive race I have ever entered.

There was a promise of a flat course, finishers medal, vest & bag. It looked a decently organised event so I thought, why not.

Registration was simple enough with regular emails to participants.

Race number was collection only so I arrived at HQ the day before the race.

Here lies the first problem -

Along wiith race number we were also given out finishers vest.

This is a complete no-no for me. No finishers prizes should ever be given until AFTER a race. I bundled it into my bag and refused to even look at it.

Race day itself had a good atmosphere in and around HQ.

Baggage was straight forward and trouble free.

This race had the HALF or FULL MARATHON option.

Participants of both distances started together with half & full races going their separate ways after about 4miles.

I couldn't see starting waves based on expected finishing times. This wasn't really a problem as I alway start marathons very slowly.

I even don't recall seeing a start line - maybe I just missed it?

The race itself started in city centre and headed out into the countryside.

Race was nowhere near as flat as portrayed by organisers with odd small hills throughout.

There was a fairly big hill around half way but worse was to follow. The mother of all hills met runners at mile 17.

Only option was to walk up this hill from hell.

There were also flat sections so it wasn't all bad.

Some of the terrain in 2nd half of marathon was very taxing on the legs. Rough, bumpy pathways were quite testing. There was also a strange downhill section in final mile which saw runners run down a very steep plank into woodland before heading through area of houses and onto the finishing stretch.

The course was overall, very scenic with superb views for most part.

Local support was very good with plenty of encouragement. Always very welcome when going gets tough.

*****Biggest concern was the water stations. I don't like to criticise organisers too much but this needs addressing.

Water stations were fairly regular especially in 1st half of the marathon distance however on at least two occasions we got to water station to find there was no water left.

This is unacceptable especially given the hot, conditions of the day. This is a health & safety issue so it urgently needs attention.

Marshals were very good as were the crowd support. 

Finishers were rewarded with a reasonable medal but finishers bag was very pretty poor.

A muesli bar, small High 5 tablets & plenty of leaflets. 

The medal & vest should've been placed in the bag to give it more substance. 

**** In summary - Good atmosphere, great  support  with some lovely scenery to enjoy. 

Not as flat as portrayed with some challenging hills & tough terrain to tackle. 

Prizes BEFORE race are so wrong. 

The water issue needs urgent attention. I'm sure organisers will be aware of this. 

Entry fee was VERY high (£56.36 including booking fee) so couple of extra items in finishers bag would've been expected. Poor value in my opinion. Posting race numbers would have also been nice.

Would I do this again? Possibly but I'd expect big improvements for next year. 

Posted on 06.08.17

Completed in 2017

4.2

Salwick Scorcher Marathon (Thursday)

Salwick Scorcher Marathons

My participation in this event happened almost by a fluke. 

I became aware on this event when somebody mentioned it on Twitter. 

All distances were covered. Races happened each day over a 7 day period. There was a campsite option for those who fancied doing races over several days. Course was on decent road surface.

All good thus far.

Only problem was Salwick is a bit tucked away for somebody traveling for one day only, using public transport. 

I took a very, very late decision to enter and travellled early morning from Leeds to Peeston. B&W Taxi from station to race HQ was £18 although there are cheaper taxi options  

On the day registration was simple enough. There was a warm, friendly atmosphere. Event staff were very helpful & chatty. 

I took up the marathon option. Race was a 6-lap route on decent road surface. 

I would describe the course as mixture of flat/undulating with nice scenic views to enjoy.

Marshall support was 1st class but nature of course meant local support was non existent.

As the field spread out, it became quite a lonely race. It almost felt like a solo LSR.

Aid station was at end of each lap allowed plenty of options to refuel.

There were lots of encouragement from event staff. 

Finishers were rewarded with a top notch medal. 

There was also a merch stand & massage option. 

I very much enjoyed this race.

Organisers, Time2Run put on a great day. 

Would I do this race again? Yes, I certainly would. 

Using campsite facility is something I will do next time. 

Posted on 27.07.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.5

Windmill Half Marathon

Windmill Half Marathon

I've done many Fylde coast running events. Always great value. This was another example. 

Race number collection was simple & straight forward.

The race itself was based & run at the beautiful Fairhaven Lake, Latham StAnnes. It can be a little awkward to get to but nothing a taxi didn't solve. It cost £11 for taxi from out hotel in Blackpool. There is also a regular bus service.

The race was run in hot temperatures.

Scenery was quite stunning.

It was a flat, 2 lap course run mainly on paths, although there was a grassy section which was testing on tired legs.

The nature of 2 lap races mean you often see mileage signs for 2nd lap distance.

This can be quite demoralising.

Local support was decent but not spectacular.

Marshal support was 1st class.   

Finishers were rewarded with a fantastic, solid medal & water. 

A finishers shirt would have been nice but not to worry. 

In summary, this is a brilliant race.  

If you want scenic running with top bling then this is the race to do. 

Posted on 16.07.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.5

Canal Summer Extravaganza 2017

Canal Canter Summer Extravaganza

This was a typically good Grim Up North race. 

Always top quality, friendly events without the razzmatazz of other higher profile races. One thing you get from their races is value for money. 

This race covered all distances-  5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon & ultra. 

I originally signed up for the Half Marathon race but asked if I could upgrade to full marathon. They duly agreed.

It was a risky tactic- I'll explain later.

There was a nice atmosphere pre-race.

Registration & baggage were quick and easy.

The race was preceded with a minute's applause for multi marathon runner Ben Ashworth who sadly lost his battle with cancer. Very moving.

This was a poignant moment for everybody.  I hope Ben's family take some comfort from how well respected he was.   

Course was an out & back run along the Leeds/Liverpool canal pathways.

Paths were fairly flat for most of the course with odd bumpy path and canal lock to navigate.

Water stations were regular and also included sweets & gels later on into the race. 

Marshal support was absolute first class.

Local support was minimal apart from the odd dog walker. Canal races can be quite lonely but the out & back course meant runners encouraged as they approached one other. 

Finishers of all distances were rewarded with a finishers bag with included a large bar of chocolate and a bottle of beer. 

There was also cakes, sweets and a BBQ for finishers of all distances. The burger I had was tasty & very welcome. 

Runners should have also recieved a medal but there was a problem with the suppliers so they will be posted as soon as possible. 

I have done several of their races & have never had a problem like this. They explained situation pre-race so it wasn't a surprise. The medal will arrive later so it's all good. 

All things considered, this is a great event to do. I would certainly recommend it. 

PLEASE NOTE***

I came into this race carrying a hip injury but foolishly upgraded from half to full marathon on morning of the race.

I've always been a risk taker when it comes to running but in hindsight this wasn't the wisest thing to do. 

As race started I felt discomfort in hip area but battled through the pain before finally quitting after 20.3miles - my first ever DNF.

I was very down in the dumps about it and still feel extremely disappointed today. 20 miles is a hard thing to do when you're not fit so I am satisfied that I gave my all.

Lesson learned but this didn't take away from what is a super event. 

Thanks to Cath & Diane for putting on a great event. 

Thanks once again to the race marshals for their help & support. 

Posted on 12.07.17

Completed in 2017

4.5

Leeds 10k 2017

Asda Foundation Leeds 10K

This race will always be special to me for a few reasons. 

2015 Leeds 10k was my first ever race, it's well organised and is my home city race.  

Run For All are in my opinion the best race organisers out there.

Leeds 10k is a massive event for my city.

The fast, flat course makes it the perfect event for anybody looking to do their first 10k race.

Registration, baggage were quick & easy and there was a nice atmosphere at HQ and in the charity village. 

The course doesn't really do this great city justice. 

The race route could be better in my opinion.

Start is very good with a nice run through the city centre. The middle section is not very scenic and quite boring but the finish in front of the iconic Leeds Town Hall is fantastic. 

On a positive note, this course has PB written all over it and crowd support is superb throughout.

Water stations were regular and marshal support was 1st class. 

I was asked to join twitter pal Brett Anderson who was running dressed as Batman and take the role of Robin. I accepted the challenge.

The support we received was out of this world.  

Finishers were greeted with an almighty Leeds roar and rewarded with a top quality tech shirt, lovely medal, chocolate, nuts & protein shake.  

There was also free medal engraving &

massage option.  

Good value if you break it down. 

This was another superb Run For All event. 

It was the perfect day. 

Posted on 09.07.17

Completed in 2017

4.6

Southport Half Marathon 2017

Southport Half Marathon and 10k

Southport- what's there not to love about the place?

Registration was simple enough.

Baggage drop was easy but nobody was there to supervise it so an element of trust is required. Runners are an honest bunch so I wasn't worried.

Race day incorporated both 10k & half marathon events.

There was a nice pre-race atmosphere. 

The course itself was fast, pretty flat with some stunning, scenic views for runners to enjoy. The out & back section along the sea front can get windy but it wasn't too bad.

Marshal support was very good, as was support from locals. Finishers were rewarded with a top quality medal & a great tech shirt. Finishers bag was pretty poor with leaflets, a protein bag and little else. 

Southport HM is a brilliant event. One I would happily do every year. 

**One slight issue was the finish line. It became massively congested with runners waiting for their medal/shirt. This meant a queue to cross finish line for some. This needs looking at but it didn't take away from what is a superb event. 

Cant speak highly enough about southport. It's a super place to run. 

Posted on 02.07.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

3.6

Black Country Half Marathon

Birmingham Black Country Half Marathon

Heard so many good things about this race. It came highly recommended so expectations were high. 

Registration was simple enough.

Pre-race briefings were informative. 

This was a point to point race.

Baggage drop off was simple & straight forward with all bags transported to finish line.  Nice and handy. 

The race itself was run along canal paths starting in Wolverhampton and finishing in Birmingham.

The race started in waves, depending on predicted times.

This is where the problems started for me. Paths were narrow, bumpy, uneven & slippy throughout. It was like running on a cobbled path for 13.1 miles.

My usual tactic for half and full marathons is to switch off and run. This was impossible as I had to concentrate on not tripping up. It was very difficult for me to get any kind of rhythm. 

Paths were hazardous in places. The long tunnel at aprx 4mile was perfect example of this. 

Running in almost complete darkness, on narrow, slippy, uneven paths wasn't much fun. I genuinely felt claustrophobic and uneasy. 

The route continued in a similar vein with bumpy paths throughout.

I saw a couple of people suffer injuries due to tripping over. Not good to see but no surprise in all honesty.

The course wasn't as flat as advertised with bridges on regular occasions to tackle. 

Water stations were fairly regular with cups of water every 3 miles.

Final couple of miles saw yet more bridges to cross. I was quite relieved to finally cross the finish line. 

Finishers were well rewarded with a super medal, t-shirt. There was also a good quality finishers bag which consisted of water bottle, box of energy gels, stick of rock, crisps and water. Full marks for that. 

In summary- This race is highly regarded but it simply wasn't for me.

Hated the uneven paths. Fear of tripping over was constantly there which made the run frustrating. 

Sorry if I sound negative but I always try to be constructive in my reviews. Honesty is best policy. 

On a positive note, there was a good atmosphere at start & finish. Baggage system was perfect & finishers were well rewarded with a top notch medal, shirt & quality finishers bag. 

Would I do this race again? Probably not but I can understand why many would. 

This was 10th anniversary of this race & im sure it will go on for many more years to come.

Many come back year after year so maybe I'm being a bit harsh?

Posted on 01.07.17

Completed in 2017

3.8

Warrington 10k

Warrington 10K

Plan was not to run this event but my mate offered me a lift from Leeds to Warrington so I thought, why not?

Number collection/registration was straight forward enough. 

This was a club run 10k hosted by Warrington Road runners.

There was a nice pre-race atmosphere with most runners wearing their club colours. I followed suit & wore vest of my local running club, South Leeds Lakers.

Course was a 2 lap route, mainly on paths although there was a grass/trail section. Heavy rain had meant there was a bit of mud but it wasn't too bad.

The route was fast & flat overall although it did get congested at times due to the narrow paths, which slowed down faster runners.

Marshal support was 1st class. There was also a bit of support from locals which was nice.

Finishers were rewarded with a medal, water & a muesli bar. 

There was also a massage option. 

Quite enjoyed this event. Having it on a Friday is nice as it frees up your weekend to do others things. 

Being from West Yorkshire means this race isn't ideally located for me but if I was in the area then I would do it again. 

Thanks Warrington Road Runners for a good event. 

Posted on 30.06.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.6

Hayley's Cancer fight charity 10k

Hayley's Cancer Fight 10k

This was a last minute decision to do this race. The offer of a lift & appeal of a Friday night race, supporting such a worthy cause was too tempting to refuse. 

Race HQ was at Derby County football club. There was a decent pre-race atmosphere. 

The race itself was an out & back route along pathways in very scenic surroundings. A fast, flat-ish course. 

Marshal support was absolute 1st class. They never stopped encouraging the runners. The nature of the route meant you could encourage runners as they ran towards you. 

Finishers were rewarded with a medal, water, enegy drinks & cake. 

As an affiliated runner, this event cost me just £9 to enter. Wonderful value. 

I'm so happy to have made the trip from Leeds to Derby to support this cancer fund raiser. 

Hayley, herself handed out medals to finishers. It was a very humbling experience.

Hayley is bravest of the brave. 

The event was absolutely fantastic and I'm so happy & proud to have supported it. 

Posted on 25.06.17

Completed in 2017

4.3

Humber Bridge Half Marathon 2017

Humber Bridge Half Marathon

I entered this race at quite late notice. The appeal of running across the iconic Humber Bridge was very tempting.

Reason for my delay was chest issues made hilly runs quite difficult.

I'd heard horror stories of the mile long 'Cardiac Hill' and one or two dauting inclines to tackle.

As it happens, theses hills were challenging but I have done worse.

Registration was simple. Participants were kept updated with regular emails.

There was a good pre-race atmosphere at race HQ.

Baggage drop was also straight forward, without any queues.

All good, thus far.

The race itself was challenging but also had odd fast section.

Only complaint was parts of the course were quite narrow so became congested.

Water stations were plentyful. Marshals did a fantstic job and local support was decent.

The run across the bridge was something different. The hills were testing but it added to the fun.

Overall it was a very good route but certainly not a PB course.

After the infamous 'Cardiac Hill' the runners were treated to a nice downhill section before a somewhat breezy return across the bridge and onto the finish.

Finishers were rewarded with an ok medal (but not spectacular) , finishers shirt and various munchies, water and enegy drinks.

The finishers shirt was disappointing with far too many adverts and no image of the iconic bridge.

There was also a free massage option - always welcome after a hard race.

Overall, it was a great day with a good atmosphere.

It's a race I would do again.

Posted on 25.06.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.9

Sherwsbury HM. Mega tweet up with a couple of hills

Shrewsbury Half Marathon

What can I say about today.

Shrewsbury half marathon was my 24th race of 2017 and possibly the best race of the year.

Massive thanks to Joe and UK RunChat for putting on a flawless event.

There was a great atmosphere at race HQ and it was the perfect chance to meet so many wonderful friends from Twitter and RunChat community.

Race itself was run in stiffling heat. I'd heard so much about the hilly course which caused me big concern going into the race.

As it happens, the hills were challenging but not as bad as I had feared. There were downhill sections to compensate for the tricky inclines.

Local support was 1st class, as were the race marshals. 

Water stations were well stocked and quite regular.

Finishers were rewarded with a quality finishers shirt and medal.

There was also a free massage which was very much appeciated.

Thanks once again to everybody for making this such a memorable day.

I will 100% be back in 2018 to do it all again.

 

Posted on 18.06.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

3.9

Summer Track Marathon (relay)

Summer Track Marathon

I did the full winter track marathon back in February so I knew the drill.

I originally signed up for the full marathon option again but my twin brother suffered an injury so we took up the option of running it as a 2-man relay.

Registration was easy enough.

Baggage was as simple as it comes.

The weather was dreadful early morning but the rain stopped & the sun appeared.  All good thus far.

Track marathon is what it is. Testing both physically and mentally. 

The idea of 105.5 laps of a running track might sound like hell on earth for many but ignore the lanes, get in the zone & run. Nice & easy. 

Laps were counted by an electronic chip which was attached to the ankle so at least we were spared the trauma of counting laps ourselves.

Music was played over public address system to keep the runners occupied. All music was picked by the runners on registration so we got a real mixed bag covering all genres. 

Haven't had official results but I ran 13.4miles of the relay. My twin then took over and ran 10miles. We then did final 3 miles between us. 

There was a good atmosphere and camaraderie amongst runners but obviously not much local support. 

Poditives of a track marathon are obvious. Water stations & toilets every 400 meters, flat & fast course.

If you can cope with the boredom then you'll be ok.

Funishers were rewarded with a top quality medal & a bottle of larger. (I'm teetotal so handed mine to another participant). 

There was also a free massage & various energy drinks & water. 

Would I do it again? Yes, I would. 

Posted on 11.06.17

Completed in 2017

4.6

Ramathon 2017 - absolute class

Derby Half Marathon

This is the first time I have done this race and loved every minute of it.

Registration, baggage and organisation were all pretty flawless.

Course was flat with only mild inclines. PB possibilities for sure.

Marshals and crowd support were very good. Water stations were regular and quite well stocked.

route went through centre of Derby and then drifted off road along gravel paths. Some of the views were very scenic.

The race ended outside Derby County football ground. 

A stadium finish would have been nice but never mind.

Finishers were rewarded with a superb finishers shirt and top quality medal. 

I had a free post race massage. It was quite possible the best massage I have ever had. 

I would like to thank everybody for a brilliant day. I will certainly be back again in 2018.

Posted on 04.06.17

Completed in 2017

4.9

RnR Marathon - I love Rock 'n' Roll

Rock n Roll Liverpool 5K

This is the second time I have done this race, having done the RnR marathon in 2016. I absolutely love this event.

We arrived at HQ to quite frankly the longest baggage store queues I have ever witnessed. This was due to added security following tragic events at Manchester Arena just 6 days earlier. My concern was short lived as they opened additional doors and the queues soon eased. All good.

There was a warm, friendly atmosphere in and around the place.

The race was preceeeded with a minute's silence.

The marathon route is quite challenging in spells but has it all - water front, parks, scenic views of the city, visits both of the football stadiums, city centre, docklands, with finish line infront of the Echo Arena. Course has a couple of nasty hills to tackle but also has faster sections.

I am a big music fan so having LIVE music every mile or so was a big lift.

Water stations were spentyfull. Many had gels and enegy drinks on offer.

The marshals were superb, as were the support from the Liverpool public.

Finishers were rewarded with a top quality medal, finishers shirt, free beer token and various bits and pieces.

There was also a post race mini music festival and a great atmosphere.

If you like bling then this is the race to do. There were medals galore for people who ran at both days. I personally think there is too many medals on offer - less would be better in my opinion.

The only thing that was missing was post race massage option. Maybe it's something the organisers can consider for future events.

All things considered, it was a brilliant event. I have already booked my place at RnR 2018. Thanks Liverpool for a brillant weekend of running.

Finally, can I thank the police and marshal for keeping us all safe. In many ways they have an impossible job.

** I dedicated each of the first 22 miles to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester. 

Posted on 29.05.17

Completed in 2017

4.4

5k at Rock & Roll marathon

Rock n Roll Liverpool 5K

This was first time I've done the 5k race. It was a nice taster, perfect for any new runners to sample the atmosphere & flavour of a big race event. 

Route was pretty standard with a nice finish inside Echo Arena. 

It was a good event. 

Posted on 29.05.17

Leeds Half Marathon 2017

Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon

This is second time I have done this race.

Run For All are without doubt, my favorite race organisers. 

They always put on a great event and look after all taking part.

2017 Leeds Half Marathon was no exception.

Event village had a nice, warm atmosphere. Baggage drop ran like clock work. All very good.

Race itself is quite tough. City centre start with a hilly 3 - 7 miles.

Some of the pathways got a little congested at times.

Route has a fast 2nd half. Course doesn't quite do Leeds justice but it's a decent enough run. Final trek along Kirkstall Road can be quite testing (mentally) before a decent city centre finish in front of civic hall.

Marshal support was 1st class, as was the support from Leeds public.

Water stations were regular, with water and gels as race reached mid way point.

Finishers were rewarded with a top quality medal, finishers shirt and excellent finishers bag. There was also pints of Erdinger 0% larger for free.

Another nice bonus was free sports massage and medal engraving.

When you break it down, it's great value for money.

I have already signed up for the 2018 race. It was a very easy decision.

Posted on 14.05.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.3

North Lincs Half Marathon

North Lincolnshire Half Marathon

This is first time I have done this race and I really enjoyed it.

Course was fast and flat, perfect for any PB chasers.

Route started near athletics ground and finished with a lap of the track.

It was a scenic, rural run.

Nature of the course meant crowd support was quite sparse at times.This a positive if you don't like the hustle & bustle that you get at somes races. Marshal support was first class. Water stations were at regular intervals.

Finishers were rewarded with a top quality medal, tech shirt and small finishers bag.

Overall, it was a great day. Would I do it again? Yes I certainly would.

Thanks for a very well organised race.

 

Posted on 07.05.17

Completed in 2017

4.1

MK Marathon 2017

Milton Keynes Marathon

Been looking forward to this race for a while. I did the MK half marathon in 2016 so I kind of knew the format.

Registration was simple enough as I already had my race number. There were monster queues for those collecting race numbers on the day but thankfully that didnt effect me.

Race HQ was busy and had good atmosphere. Baggage drop off was simple and quick, plus there were no toilet queues. All very good so far.

Getting to starting position in starting pen was a bit of a problem.

There were half and full marathon runners with sprinkling of spectators adding to the congestion.

Race started with the bloke on loud speaker giving a motivational speach. It did nothing for me lol.

Race was a hillier start than expected. Some of the roads were a little bumpy so I had to be on my guard not to fall as I had done at previous marathon 8 days earlier.

The 26.2 mile course was a real mixture of out and backs, mild hills, roads, paths, stunning lakeside views and the odd duel carrage way.

Some of the paths were very taxing on the legs but overall, I thought it was a decent run.

Crowd support was low-key for most although that wasn't the case for me personally. Running with my twin brother got us so much attention throughout. It was a real lift.

Water stations were evenly spread out with water, gels and enegy drinks on offer.

Stadium finish was fantastic. Stadium MK is the perfect place to complete a race.

Runners were rewarded with a high quality medal and fantastic finishers shirt. Goodie bag contained various munchies etc.

Post race massage was available for a bargain £5 which I took advantage of. It was very welcome.

All things considered, it was a great race and very well organised. I would highly recommend it.

***** Sorry but I cant finish this review without mentioning a sign which had been put up by race organisers at mile 15. It read "Pain is temporary - DNF lasts forever". I thought this was in very poor taste. Not finishing a race must be a terrible thing for any runner. To make a joke out of it is completely wrong. I hope organisers get this sign and stick it in the dustbin where it belongs! 

Thanks MK for a brillant day. I'll certainly be back in 2018.

Posted on 02.05.17

Blackpool Marathon 2017

Blackpool Marathon, Half Marathon & 10k

FCREvents always put on good races. This was another great example. Race had three distance options- 10k, Half Marathon or Full Marathon. I entered the marathon.

This is the first time I have done this race and only decided to enter just hours before restistration closed.

Weather was pretty perfect with sun and a nice cool breeze.

Marathon course was a 2 lap, out and back route on road/paths. Some of the paths were slightly uneven which I found out to my cost. 5 miles into the race I fell. Nobody to blame but myself. Thankfully, I was able to dust myself down and carry on.

There were a couple of hills to navigate but overall, it was genrally flat (ish). 

Biggest hill was at end of each lap (13/26 miles). Not what you want at the end of a tough race.

I found the going quite tough as this was my 4th marathon this month. On a normal day, this is a fairly fast course.

Water stations were fairly regular but contained water only. Spectator support was quite sparse away from the front so jelly babies were in short supply.

Finishers were rewarded with a lovely big medal, quality tech shirt, chocolate and bananna.

Special mention to the race marshals who never stopped encouraging the runners. Magnificent support.

Really enjoyed my trip to Blackpool and would definately do this race again.

Posted on 24.04.17

Completed in 2017

4

Boston Marathon (UK) 2017

Boston UK Marathon and Half

I had been eagerly anticipating this race all year.

Telling people I was running the Boston Marathon impressed everyone, until they fiound out it was Boston, Lincolnshire.

Apart from the name, one of the main attractions of this race was it fast, flat and had bags of PB potential.

It certainltly didn't disappoint on that score. Any runner on good form could easily smash a great time. The 26.2 course was also very pictureque. The race marshals were also brilliant.

All very positive.

Now for the negetive -

I ran Brighton marathon 8 days previously. The crowd support was best I have ever experienced.

Boston marathon was the exact opposite.

80-90% of the course had no, or very little support. This was mainly due to the rural 26.2mile route.

Water stations were quite regular but included water only, with no gels or enegy drinks.

Finishers were rewarded with a small medal, water bottle and very, very cheap cotton t-shirt. There was no finishers bag at all and no food items on offer, not even a bananna. I have never finished a marathon and not been given some kind of nutrition.

This is very poor in my opinion. It's an area that the organisers need to address.

In summary, if you're chasing a marathon PB then this is the one to do.

If you like crowd support, tech shirts & goodie bags then you will be disappointed.

Would I do this race again? Yes, I would but there certain issues which need looking at.

Overall, it was a good race.

Posted on 17.04.17

Completed in 2017

4.2

Brighton Marathon 2017

Brighton Marathon Weekend

I travelled down to Brighton from West Yorkshire for this race.

Train fares, hotel & race fee made it an expensive race to do.

There was a great atmosphere at race village the day before the race. I still don't know why they don't post race numbers out, rather than having the hassle of collecting day before but never mind.

Number collection itself was pretty straight forward with minimal queues.

Race was overall, very good. A few hills in early on but not too bad thereafter. Course was at times, very scenic.

Now for my complaint -

Organisers need to look again at the water stations. Race took place on a very hot, sunny day. Tiny half filled cups of water were totally inadiquate. I have been told that some of the water staions actually ran out of water. This is totally unacceptable. I saw many runners collapse late on. Organisers need to hand out bottles water, not flimsy cups.

Finishers were rewarded with a brighton Marathon bag, lovely medal, shirt and a few other bits n pieces.

There was a good post-race atmosphere. Baggage collection was straight forward and toilet queues weren't too bad.

My abiding memory of the day was the amazing crowd support. It is by far, the best I have experienced. 

Would I do this race again? Yes.

Posted on 10.04.17

Manchester Marathon 2017

ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon

Another fantastic Manchester Marathon.

Great to see the baggage problems of 2016 appear to have been corrected.

Course was mostly flat, well marshalled, with superb local support.

This race has PB written all over it.

Aid stations were ok but not spectacular. Mainly water with enegy gels in latter stages.

Finisher were rewarded with a beautiful medal and finishers shirt.

Finshers bag wasn't great. An enegy bar and foil sheet, along with the forementioned shirt & medal.

There was a massge option in return for a £5 charity donation. Always worth taking advantage of.

It was a very well organised event. Highly reccomended.

One of the highlights of today was meeting friends from twitter.

 

Posted on 02.04.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

3.8

South Park 20

I was looking for a confidence boosting final long slow run beore Manchester Mararthon. 

This race seemed to tick all the boxes. Multi (1 mile) lap race, up to 20 miles. Perfect!

This was my first visit to South Park, Darlington. What a stunning place to run. The weather was absolutely perfect. Sun with a nice breeze.

The course was very scenic and flat, with a couple of minor hills to navigate each lap.

Race had a friendly atmosphere and was well organised. Special mention to the race marshals who did an excellent job.

Finishers were given a average looking medal.

It was a good event.

Only downside was this -

I entered this race as it was multi lap. I could choose distance I wanted to do without preasure.

My intention was never to do the full 20 laps (20 miles) as I had struggled for fitness going into this event.

I did 17 laps (17miles) and then informed race marshals I was stopping at that. I collected finishers medal and thought nothing of it.

I was annoyed when I saw race results showing DNF next to my name.

I'm not a quitter so am really annoyed about this.

Posted on 29.03.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Coventry Half Marathon

This is first time I've done this race. There was a decent pre-race atmosphere at event HQ with genine excitement amongst spectators and runners

Course itself was decent. Hilly in places, mixed in with faster sections throughout.

Final few miles were flat or downhill. 

Crowd support was very good.

Water stations were pretty basic but on a positive note, there was plenty of them throughout the course.

Finshers bag was very poor. There was no finishers shirt. Bag contained a basic medal and bar of chocolate. Rest of bag was made up of numerous leaflets. Pretty poor in my opinion.

Would I do this race again? yes, if I was local but I wouldnt travel.

I think there is better options out there.

Posted on 19.03.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4.1

North London Half Marathon

Vitality North London Half Marathon

Travelled from Leeds to North London for this race and overall, it didnt disappoint.

Well organised event with a nice atmosphere.

Mixed feelings about the race itself. Course was all over the place with confusing mile signs throughout. Route was quite challenging with a couple of nasty hills thrown in for good measure. Marshal support was very good. Local support was not as strong as I would've expected. This race was all about the finish line. The Wembley Stadium finish was sublime. Advertised as the greatest finishline in the world and it's hard to disagree with that statement.

Finishers were rewarded with a nice medal, quality shirt and goodie bag. There was also a post-race massage option but queues were too long so I gave it a miss.

Race was quite expensive to enter but I still think it is reasonable value.

Posted on 14.03.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017

4

Leeds/Liverpool Canal Canter

Leeds & Liverpool Canal Canter

Another top quality Grim Up North race. This event covered all distances from 5k to Ultra. I choose the half marathon option.

Course was a basic out and back route along canal pathways. 

Finishers were rewarded with a top quality medal, cake and a beer.

Grim Up North Events are pretty basic, friendly and good value.

Highly reccomended.

Posted on 14.03.17

Completed in 2017

4.1

NEWPORT Half Marathon

This was the first time I've done this race and I really enjoyed it.

Course was flat in places with a couple of tricky hills for good measure. Not as flat as expected but was overall, quite scenic.

Weather wasn't very nice so full credit to the many people who came out to support the runners. 

Also big thanks to the race marshals who did a fantastic job.

The runners were well rewarded with a lovely finishers shirt and quality medal plus other goodies. There was also post-race massage which was very welcome.

Only downside was result didn't appear on runbritain.com and the course seemed to be slightly long.

Overall, it was a great race. Would I do it again? Yes, I would.

Posted on 06.03.17

Pierrepont 6 hour challenge

Pierrpont was a multi lap, 6 hour (or less) race. Laps were 3 miles long.

Weather was truly shocking with runners being lashed with rain, sleet and wind.

Race was a very well organised, fun event in testing condtions. I managed 7 laps in total before calling it a day. Runners were rewarded with a nice medal, cakes and beer.

I would love to do this races again . Full credit to organisers for putting on a great race.

Posted on 28.02.17

Completed in 2017

3.3

Mad Dash 20k

First time I have done this race. Route was two lap course with 10k or 20k option. Scenic views, flat in places with a couple of nasty hills to navigate.

It was ok race but not spectacular. Race was quite expensive to enter and not great value for money, in all honesty.

Would I run it again? Probably not.

Posted on 28.02.17

Completed in 2017

4

Stanley Park 10k - Day1

First time I have done this race and I really enjoyed it. Course was fast, flat & scenic. Well organised event.

Finishers were rewarded with a beautiful medal.

Posted on 28.02.17

Completed in 2017

4.1

2017 Great North West Half Marathon

This is 2nd time I have done Great North West Half Marathon.

Flyde Coast Runners events are always great value. Thought it was a really organised race. Blackpool weather can sometimes be a bit windy but on this occasion, the weather gods smiled upon us.

Race was a two-lap route. Fairly flat with a couple of hills to navigate.

Reward for finishing race was a lovely medal & finshers shirt.

Would I do it again? Too right I would.

Posted on 28.02.17

Completed as a first timer in 2016

4.2

MK Winter HM splash

MK Winter Half

Really well organised event. Great atmosphere, lovely medal & decent finishers shirt. 

Race itself was 'interesting'. It was quite congested at start until runners spread out. Start of course was fairly flat with odd incline. Route went through parkland & canal path. Some of the paths were a little bumpy. 

No major hills except at 9 mile.

Shock came at 6mile mark. We had to run through puddle, or should I say a lake! Water came up to my knee & soaked my shorts. Not ideal to say least but it didn't spoil what was a great day. 

Overall it was a great day. Really enjoyed my trip to Milton Keynes. Would highly recommend it. 

Posted on 11.12.16

Completed in 2016

3.3

MoRun Leeds

The Leeds 5k and 10k MoRun

Good, fun event. 5k or 10k options meant it catered for all. 

 

Posted on 05.11.16

Completed as a first timer in 2016

3.5

Manchester half

Manchester Half Marathon

Good points - Decently organised. Fast, flat course. Great local support. 

Bad point - Baggage is still a problem. We could only store bags using the official bags provided by organisers. 

This is ok if you live in the city but it was a big problem for people traveling from outside the area & stopping overnight. The bags were completely inadequate. This needs sorting out  

Overall, it was a great event. 

Posted on 16.10.16