Oxford Half Marathon



  • Well that was my first ever race of any sort and I must say anybody who expects more really must be a prima donna. The traffic all over Oxford is notorious at any time so why you wouldn't leave ample time is beyond me, got there at half 8 without the slightest hiccup.

    As for the course I enjoyed it, the bypass sections were a little dull and certainly the sustained slope around mile 10 did me in more than I thought it would. Superb local support though and I loved the resident who brought out speakers playing the 'olympic' music!

    I would certainly love to finish in front of a grandstand at every race in the future too! Well done to all involved. I gather there were 'politics' surrounding its staging but don't care one jot for that - it's got at least this one individual hooked on races so it was worth it for that at least, thanks image

  • Boredom comes from within.
    I personally couldn't keep up with all the excitement. image
  • Soon to become SIR Waccy image
  • SnOOter- Tell it like it is.
    Nice one mate.
  • I'm with you waccyracer as an OUFC fan and a proud Oxonian have to say I enjoyed it immensely. Wish I could have enjoyed the finish more but I was out on my feet and almost worse by then having taken 7 minutes of my pb to come in 1:54. I suppose it was easier for us locals knowing where to park and allowing plenty of time but I did end up parking on Grenoble Rd and not using the baggage drop.

    I guess it's all a bit trial and error the first time so hopefully it will improve as it grows. How many years has Reading been going? As I didn't find it particularly smooth in terms of getting everyone to the start line this year either. It's all a learning curve I guess but thought it worked pretty well considering the difficulties and I was expecting a hitch or two.

    Carrie Anne - I agree with you about it not being completely flat, I certainly felt the last 4 - 5 miles were uphill but this was probably as I'd run out of steam big time!

  • in all my years of road running - solo and pushing Phil

    i'm struggling to remember a race of HM distance thats actually flat

    i expect there is - but i dont know of them

    well done to all who run today

  • Could anyone tell me where i can get  my official time for the Ox half marathon?  I know my rough time but thought i would look up the exact one when i got home. Unfortunately I can't seem to find where the times are listed on the official sit. Am i looking in the wrong place?
  • Russell, you can find the chip times here: http://www.racetimingsystems.com/public/results.aspx?raceid=1960

     I enjoyed a 4.5 minutes PR, so I'm well chuffed.  Coming in from out of town, I managed to miss the traffic chaos (though my cab driver was whinging to me that we would hit traffic and then...we didn't image) and though I was shocked by the bag line, I got my stuff in before the original start time.  I found the very beginning and the very the end the hardest mentally, but loved all the community support in the middle.  Especially the lady playing "Chariots of Fire" out of her parked car!  I was in the back of the pack, so I didn't encounter any problems at water stations, and many of the marshals were encouraging to me.

  • i think the massive criticism from Berger was a little overdone. it was a first staging of an event. there are bound to be teething problems. we got there early despite only having to travel 14 miles there. as snooter said, anyone running  a race in a city will surely leave ample time to get there through traffic. we were early but parked right by kassam, used the health club toilets twice with no queues, found the start line in time. admittedly it got chilly waiting for the start, but the delay was minimal. ive done races where half hour delays can be normal!..i guess they went for the outside start toi minimise bottlenecking. as someone said, boredom comes from within . city routes are not top of my list but its my home town and i love oxford .i found many people to chat to along the way, and i thought crowd support was great all the way...plenty of people outside their houses and i thanked all who shouted support...the part through the city itself was a little strained trying to avoid shoppers but was nice to pass the unisimage..i found the water staions most generous..and at frequent and well placed points..the medal was lovely , one of the best ive recieved.the goodybag was satisfactory too i thought.my only two gripes were that the road marshalls possibly wernt in the best places quick enough, and the last mile home seemed very long !!..id have like some markers showing 800yds, 400yds etc to the end...the finish in kassam was nice though....i really wanted to run on pitch for a moment of stardom-lol!!
  • berger, also , a lot of the water volunteers were children and scouts...they were out there a long time bless them and gave up their time to do so...
  • what a great race, really enjoyed this one allthough i was a tad slower than i wanted to be ,i slowed a bit at miles 10and 11 .

     however the race was excellent and well organised for a first attempt i had no issues with the marshalls drink stations or parking i arrived at ten past eight and had no worrys. Great support through the residential areas aswell, and what a place to finish ,fantasticimage

    Theirs allways going to be a few teething problems with a first race ,you have to expect this (,baggage and parking) but these are easily rectifeid for next year.

    p.s hello waccy good to see you to  good luck at abingdon mateimage

  • I ran it this morning and I enjoyed it. Staging a race in a notoriously busy (and conservative) city like Oxford isn't going to be easy.  First running of the event, and it did show in places. Traffic management along the route could be improved, but until the event grows I suspect getting more official road closures will be impossible.  Basics that were overlooked were lack of a PA at the start and traffic congestion. I think having 5 water stations was OTT, especially the one at mile 12 - maybe only have 4 (or even 3) stops and have them more ably manned?  (Was it my imagination or did the entry pack pamphlet say there was Lucozade too?  Never saw it....)  Also charging £1 for the bag storage is unforgivable - surely it should be covered by the race entry fee??? I've never seen this in any event - running or triathlon.
  • i agree, the baggage charge was a bit cheeky, but as said above any niggles will probabley be looked at for next year and sorted. these things are never forseen, but can always be improved.image
  • Good

    • Great crowd support at the end
    • Efficient water stations
    • A few excellent marshalls who worked really hard
    • Interesting route, we got to see the centre of Oxford not just around the outside
    • The guy who answered the emergency number and told me the race would start late, so I could let other people stuck in cars know what was happening if they were not listening to the official radio station of the race

    Areas for Improvement

    • Oxford Radio and the race organisers could talk to each other. I had to call the radio station at 9.35 before they announced to me and hundreds of other runners that the race was delayed. Up to that point Oxford Radio announced it was a 9.30 start  
    • Some great marshallsbut  some doing nothing more than standing there like bollards.  At the Cricketers pub on a busy main road, one marshall did his best to get us across safely despite being overwhelmed, whilst his colleague clutched his radio and seemed to stare at cloud formations!
    • Maybe brief mashalls a little more, so they know where they are, where the race is going to, and don't stand there silently whilst runners start running in the middle of the road. Be assertive and control the situation please.

    I would run this again, it was a good/great race and am sure it will improve for next year. 

  • Hey everyone, this Oxfordian (is that even the right term?)  took pictures from outside her home and posted them to her blog!


  • i think they call us folk from Ox-thud-shire Oxonions but i may have the spelling wrong?
    Round my endz the locals are leezers. image
  • I really enjoyed this run - thought it was a great course (but then I'm a fan of city/town races rather than countryside) and I thought the marshalls did a good job, especially in the town centre area. The support around the estates was great too.

    My only complaint would be the lacklustre goody bag! It would've been good to have at least a banana or cereal bar included and given that it was a half, perhaps a t-shirt?

  • Dan ADan A ✭✭✭
    Well done everyone at yesterday's race; especially that stretch along the dual carriageway around 10 miles which looked quite tough.

    I've put loads of photos (and a couple of videos) of the start and finish on our facebook page. Hope you are able to pick yourself out.
  • I thought it was a bit of a shambles. Not just minor improvements needed, but a major rethink.

    The most serious issue for me was traffic management. I was nearly run over twice. The first time, at a mini roundabout, the marshall half heartedly put his hand up to stop the traffic and then put it back down again, letting traffic through despite the fact I (and others) were already on the roundabout. The second time I was waved to cross a road, despite the fact the traffic hadn't stopped (and didn't). I presume that if a marshall tells me that it's ok, then it is.

    As others have said, getting to the stadium was a nightmare. A few people have said that we should've known that Oxford was bad for traffic. I live in Windsor. I rely entirely on the race organisers to give me advice, as I have no idea what traffic is like in Oxford on a given day/time. It should be reasonable to expect that arriving an hour before the event is plenty time, and it normally is for events I've attended up and down the country.

    I appreciate it was the first year and there are always teething problems. I ran the Maidenhead Half Marathon three weeks ago with a similar amount of runners, which apart from the start, was really well organised, which proves that it can be done.

  • Hi all,

    Has anyone noticed that according to the race results at race timeing systems, 500 participants have not completed the race or are still running it? This accounts for 25% of entrants, including me. I notched up a PB of 1:29:18 according to my Garmin. I will be a bit annoyed if they have managed to balls this one up. I've only been running and triathloning for 4 months, but in this time I have notched up 15 events, but this is my first experince of having something as crucial as a timing chip malfunction happen. I could forgive it as pure chance if it was just me, but over 500 participants - not acceptable. 

    The only proof I have of completing the event are a dozen offical race photos from the organizer and sore legs. Does anyone know what happend? 

  • Me too - Apparently I've 'not yet started', but there's some graphic photographic evidence to the contrary. I scrambled late through the start because I was in the jam, so have been blaming myself (perhaps I scurried through a dead zone?), but 500 people? Perhaps it's something to do with those flimsy 'chips' ...

    Loved the race by the way, and will be back next year. I never knew that Oxford had hills.

  • They had a back up system in place. I just got an e-mail telling me my result was now up.
    I came 124th which is great.( 123rd would have been better.)
    hoping to get round in under 1:33:30 only missed it by a few seconds.I think i can handle that. image

  • yes i too..'didnt start' or 'finsh' apparently..but as you've said there are 6 pics of me on marathon photos during the race and back in the staduim finishing...i thought it was the way id fastened my chip  and perhaps id squashed the important part!!image...but looks like i wasnt the only one!!
  • Dear All, as one of the organisers of yesterday's Oxford Half Marathon we hope everyone enjoyed the race. It is not easy to hold a City Centre event for the first time and we have had many issues to cope with over the past year! Obviously the Council wanted to keep road-closures to a minimum in this first year and they have acknowledged that this will be changed from next year onwards and local residents given plenty of notice and disruptions kept to a minimum. The originally intended route did not take in the cut across Cowley Road which was unfortunately imposed by the Iffley Road roadworks, and this will alter for next year. Apart from one or two negative comments the feedback from competitors, spectators and media has been fantastic. Some competitors said it was hilly, some said it was flat; some enjoyed the route and scenery, others didn't - it is impossible to create a route that pleases everyone!! A great winning run by James Bellward, who was quoted as saying "The course was flat and fast, probably the fastest course I have done"! Not everyone enjoyed the stretch through the MINI Plant facility but we think it is a great idea to take the race through the facility of your main sponsor - especially when you have such a superb sponsor like MINI Plant Oxford. Traffic was a problem for later arrivals coming into the Kassam Stadium and this will be addressed for next year, but the Stadium finish and support was excellent. Our thanks to everyone who took part or supported, brilliant for the streets of Oxford to be lined with runners and applauding residents; also thanks to all of our Event Partners and the many people who marshalled and manned the water stations, and we are delighted to be supporting Helen & Douglas House. Lastly, it was great to have Liz Yelling taking part - a very genuine and inspiring lady.

    Again really great to have all your comments and well done to everyone who ran and made it such a special day


    Dave Box

    Race Director

  • There is an essential problem with running races through the tourist-friendly bits of old cities, which is that there are tourists and others milling around -  it's not just Oxford, I've heard the same sort of issues affect e.g. the Florence marathon.

    There's no easy answer to that one - you could of course hold the race at dawn on midsummer's day, which would help cut down traffic issues (foot and motor), but then you would have an interesting time getting marshalls. You'd probably have to offer free entry into the following year's race or some such... which puts up the entry fee.

    That said, to run New York and many American marathons, you have to get up at some hideously early hour and they cost a HUGE amount! (Unless you are a NYRRC member who has done X races in which case it is merely expensive - a good model, though, for how to include  local runners).

  • Berger I seen you on the stewards phone then walk away and I was thinking he does not look injured ?! fair play if your heart/head wasn’t in it then sod it.It's the worst half I have run & doubt I will give it another go even though it’s my local one.  I know it’s their 1st one but I cannot see them getting more road closures, the idiot shoppers who just stepped out in front of you will always be there unless they change the route.The main bad point for me was the water stations, at one point a guy in front of my grabbed a hole pack of 12 and started handing them out as he was running along, when I did manage to get handed a bottle it was half full.There was some kind people giving out their own water bottles which were ice cold too.

    I left Bicester at 8am and at 9.30 was still 1/2 a mile from the car park, this is probably due to all the idiots who flew up the outside lane and cut in at the slip road ! I dumped mine on the dual carriageway on the end, worked out well as I was straight off after the race. 

    I had to stop twice for cars who just ignored the stewarsds pleas, was sent the wrong way buy a steward also and had to cut through some dangerous traffic to get back on course.

    Got a PB though 1:49:36 so every cloud...............................

  • I really enjoyed it! It was certainly no more 'boring' than other city half marathons like Nottingham or Lichfield. Yes it was busy getting into the parking but a) I know I should have left more time and b) they delayed the start for us - what more could they do? It's better parking than others I've done recently - use your common sense and realise 3000 people getting into a car park is going to cause congestion (I didn't...but lesson learnt!!)

    I had no problems at the water stations and although it would have been nice to run through more scenic areas the route was fine (but more hilly than I was expecting!)

    The stadium finish was great and my parents got to see me 5 times on course - previously the most they've ever seen me is twice. SO it was good for spectators and they loved the stadium bit at the end.

     Getting out of the car park was no problem at the end. I found the race hard but did get a PB of 4 mins image image

    Yes they may want to make changes for next years but massive credit for starting this and running this despite lots of local negativity (my sister's athletic club in the area sent rounds lots of emails telling them not ot enter or volunteer - how supportive!!!!)

     Will be back in 2012. Well done on a good first effort.

  • Excellent event.  

    Good value for money compared with other city half marathons, more than enough free parking for many more participants and absolutely no traffic at all when I got there at 8.15 A.M.

    Thanks and well done to the organisers! See you next year...


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