Goodie Bags - well as the song goes, "What are they good for? Absolutely nothing!" More and more i am finding they are a complete waste of time, especially at the larger, more advertised events. After the Reading ½ my bag contained: 1 packet of organic minestrone soup (very useful in the middle of a car park), 2 oat biscuits, a (very small) bag of salted cashews / almonds, sample packet of cherry Fisherman's Friends, sample of some lip balm plus a host of flyers for offers you will never use. I appreciate all finishers get a medal, but these are mass produced so cant be too expensive, but where does all the rest of the entrance fee go? Runners are paying on average over £20 (some pay more) to enter large races, and for what - a medal? The samples of the foods / lip balm are handed out in most shopping / town centres up and down the country every Saturday afternooon - and you can run 13.1 miles around Reading (or any other town / city / village) for free any day of the week.
The organisers of all major races need to really understand why people travel long distances to run and to reward them with a bag of goods that were probably donated rather than coming out of their budget is nothing short of criminal.
Refreshments - burger vans seem to be the norm at most major races, am i the only runner who finds the smell of cheap, fatty meat and onions awful after running 13.1 miles? What runners require is a snack that will replace their lost energy not some tasteless burger with limp onions on top.
I recently ran the Hogweed Hilly Half and what a treat that was - there were only just over 250 runners, but the momento was a commemerative swim stlye bag, (much more useful than organic soup!!) plus the refreshments were rolls, fruit and cakes - all foods that runners prefer to eat straight after a run. The course was the toughest i have ever run, but because of the atmosphere, organisation and refreshments, i will be back next year and for years to come....i cant say the same for Reading.
I believe that if the organisers of major races dont start making the runners feel rewarded for their efforts, rather than just trying to make a bigger profit, then the smaller events will become more popular and these town / city halfs will be a thing of the past