BHF Warwick Castle Half Marathon



  • no it was cotton!!! basically well organised but clearly didn't have any runners involved!!!

  • First the positives. Fantastic course, a little bit hilly but I didn't mind because I love running in the countryside. I've run the GNR and Reading half and usually around mile 8 I get fed up of and wonder why I am running. I didn't get this feeling until after mile 11, when the course headed back into Warwick. I even managed to ignore the sleet that was falling. I also set a PB despite the hills.

    Now the negatives. This is the first half marathon where the warm down consists of pushing the cars of your fellow runners, out of the muddy field that was supposed to be a car park. I must have pushed 10 cars and my arms are now aching more than my legs. It's not want you want to do after running a hilly half. Luckily the security staff were fantastic and didn't lose patience pushing the cars out. Secondly it took an hour to get into the castle and as I was staying in the Hilton up the road, I could and should have left my car in their car park and walked to the castle. It would have been twice as quick. Given the castle has only one entrance in and out and a car park shared with their paying customers, its hardly surprising that these problems arose. Organisers take note. Please implement a park and ride system, as they do in Reading. That way nobody will get stuck in the mud or miss the race.

    Another minor gripe, the medal does not have the name of the event, either inscribed on it, or on the ribbon. Given that my local 10k inscribes the name their race, surely BHF can do this as well.

    Other than that the marshals were fantastic. Standing out in the sleet for 3 hrs can't be fun but they always had an encouraging word. Specators were thin on the ground, given the nature of the course but those that were there were fantastic.

    I would recommend this half but organisers please put a park and ride system in for next year.

  • Nelly; positions are always based on gun time. So even if you sort the results, your gun time will be your position. Them's the rules. You can manually count your chip time position if you wish.

    Netta; t-shirts could also be collected post race.

    Ranjiva; yes the course was good. I was surprised how quickly the miles went by. Luckily I avoided the car parking issues.
  • I was one of the ones who got caught up in all the traffic, I ended up abandoning my car and ran to the start only to be told it had started! However they let me and all the others behind me start but wasn't too pleased at being shouted at by the marshals to get a move on! Nice route, disappointing medal and a long walk back to my car!
  • Tom LuntTom Lunt ✭✭✭

    how can i get the chip time results up? ive been on sportsystem and clicked on "latest" but the most recent event on there is "ox 5 run" on 10th march?

  • Tom LuntTom Lunt ✭✭✭

    wahey im came 569th, im happy with that considering its my first half and ive only took up running just before christmas! 

  • This race was a disgrace. My husband was turned away from the race and was told that as it had started he was not allowed into the park due to health and safety reasons. Although BHF have apologised this is not enough for those that trained and were there in plenty of time but due to the traffic outside could not get in. The car park afterwards was a mud bath where one lady that worked for the castle told us to drive over the field and because we refused she said 'well you can push yourself then'. After just running 13.1 miles and my husband having been treated like a common criminal that sarcasm was not called for.

    I also find it hard to understand why it is called 'Warwick Castle' half when all we did was use the car park and toilets??????

    On the other hand although the course was tough and the stewards on route were fabulous.

  • Well done Tom. Just had a look and sub 1h50m is good considering the limited amount of running. Keep it up!
  • I must have been very lucky to get to start as the race had started, maybe they eventually realised what was going on! People train hard for these races for weeks and to be turned away is dreadful!
  • If you got there early enough then you would have gone through the castle....
  • Well, I can only echo what others have said. The race itself was good course, "fun" if that's the right word for something so knackering, and I was ecstatic to just get my first half done and dusted without injuring myself.

    The course could have done without the very muddy grassy finish, which slowed me down just when I needed to keep going.

    With that said, from when I crossed the line it took me three hours to get home, (40 minutes in normal conditions) with the in-laws and wife and wee boy who'd come to support suffering the awful conditions on the car park. I'm glad they were there and driving for me because I'd have packed it in and camped there.

    The medal was also, as pointed out elsewhere, utterly pointless. Shame really!

    Feel really sorry for the poor folks who didn't make the race, the traffic was really dreadful and as someone else said up above, a park and ride is a must for next year.

  • Tim0 i could be wrong (wouldn't be first time!!!) but fairly sure both Bath half & Great south run both give postion based on  chip time.

  • As a local and a regular runner of the two castles I was amazed how poorly organised the event was especially when it came to the car parking. We were fortunate to get there early and my supporters were able to park outside the castle , hence I didn't have the same problems as many of you had, however I do sympathise from watching others struggling to get out when runners were still coming into the castle.

    The Medal was shocking , no mention what the race was and when it was - they need to look at the Stratford Half Medal. The idea of picking up a cotton t-shirt before the race was also ridiculous especially if it had been hot and you decided not to wear the t-shirt - where do you put it?

    Anyway I agree the support was excellent given the horrible conditions and the course was challenging and iconic. I will run again as its local but I do hope the organisers actually speak to the two castles organisers and/or experienced runners in the future.

    PS Glad to hear that those who were turned away have been invited back next year free of charge.

  • I had a great time.  Got there around 8am no probs and found that all was organised smoothly.  Good course which was not too tough but not pancake flat and went through nice countryside with decent support in the villages.  Great to be on closed roads too.

    Spent the afternoon going around the castle with the kids which they loved.  

    In terms of traffic you have to remember that castles were built before cars and generally races involving castles are not going to be in towns designed for cars.  If you're trained for a half marathon then a 2 mile walk to the start, whilst not desirable, should be doable if it's an emergency.  They did give plenty of advice saying to get there early.  

  • I have to come out in support of the organisers.  I thought they did a great job.  The race pack, the BHF event website and the posts on this forum contained lots of information; everything you needed in my opinion.  I wonder if being new to races and so quite nervous that I go through all of the information available in a way veterans don't tend to???   I didn't have any confusion on the day about the logistics.

    There were clear calls to avoid the 8am rush, there were maps showing where the start line was, where the baggage drop was, where the finish line was, where the toilets were located, where you should congregate ahead of the race, what time you'd get called to the start, what time the start was etc etc, all things that I've seen complained about as unclear in posts here.  

    The medal - yes that was a bit naff but for most people they end up in a drawer somewhere anyway don't they?

    The t-shirts - I agree, there's no way I was going to be running in a cotton t-shirt, a technical T would have been a better choice if funding allowed.

    The parking - is it really the organisers fault that we had so much rain? I certainly don't think they could have expected snow even mid-March!!  Next year, just in case perhaps it would be a good plan to set up offsite parking at the business parks south and north of the castle and close the castle car park as soon as the hardstanding's are full - but that's hindsight....

    I live very close by and I thought I could leave late and breeze in but I was totally wrong and had to park up and walk.  That's my fault alone isn't it?  I KNEW that maybe 2500 cars were going to be converging on the place but I didn't fancy getting up any earlier.  I can't blame anyone else for that and if people missed the start isn't that because you didn't allow yourself enough time to get there?  

    Oh and Kudos for the water stations having bottles of water - I'd gladly pay extra entry fee not to have to stop to drink from the plastic cups.

    I'll be back next year and I'll be recommending it to my friends.  It was a great atmosphere, it was well organised and hopefully in 2014 it will be warmer and drier.

  • Have to echo Steve B 74....

    I dragged my 3 young kids and poor hubby out of bed at just before 6.00am to make sure that we (I) was there on time...and i was image

    They had to wait outside till 9.15..but they knew this as it clearly says on BHF website, and you can see why..if all the spectators were allowed in at the same time it would of been mayhem!!

    I had a good time, the route was great, atmosphere was great, supporters were great, marshalls great.

    Bottled water..thumbs up!..can't see what everyone is bitching about.

    I paid to run a race..not to get a free t shirt or medal (yes that is abit shocking..but it's in my draw!!)..thats just a bonus.

  • I think everyone has a fair point - it was a really well organised event, but the car parking was the one fatal flaw that ruined the experience for many. As such I can understand the criticism and frustration from those who missed out as a result. 

    We arrived at the Castle roundabout just after 8am, so almost made it round to the Lord Leycester on Jury Street before hitting a standstill. We moved one car length in 10 minutes after that. At 8:15am, and with a little bit of local knowledge having visited a friend in Warwick before, I did a u-turn and parked up in St Nicholas Park. I think it cost £3-4 for 4-6 hours parking. Had I not done so, we'd have probably been two of the hundreds who were turned away, seeing as we only just made it to the start with 5-10 mins to spare as it was.  

    The t-shirts were to be collected before the race because (as it said in the information pack) they wanted as many people as possible to wear them, so that there would be a 'sea of red' running through Warwick. They did say many many times that they could be collected afterwards though if you'd prefer, so I can't see the grounds for complaint there. They could have been technical t-shirts, but as they were optional I don't think it's that big a deal.  

    They need to learn from this year and encourage more people to park away from the castle and arrive on foot. They were unfortunate with the weather, but even without the mud it would have been difficult to get 3,000 people into one car park with a single entrance and exit when everyone is arriving between 7:30 and 8:30am. A 10am start might help a little too.  

    On the positive side, once on foot I thought the organisation was fantastic. Lots of marshalls to guide you in the right direction. Lots of people out supporting the event along the route. Well organised route on closed roads with mile markers and water stops at the appropriate places. The course was challenging and hilly in places, but not too tough, and it was nice to be running out on country roads rather than through the built-up suburbs of a town or city. It looked good for family/supporters in the castle grounds too, and it was easy to meet up afterwards. I enjoyed it and would definitely come back and run it again.

  • Spot on nottsgriff. Re: t-shirts, though I never even saw them before the race, or after. Wasn't looking or fussed to be fair. I came in through Stratford Rd entrance on foot up through where the finish was, to the start. Apparently there was a tent, must have missed it.

    Route was decent I thought, not too tough but undulating. I would just say re: water. A 3rd water station would be better off at 10-11 miles after that tough section, rather than 9. As it was cold and wet, probably didn't matter, but in warm weather, the last 4 miles would have been hard on first-timers. The water given out was a waste also. Most I saw had two or three sips and threw away the half-litre bottle. Small cups are sufficient if you have 3 water stops in a half. No-one wants to carry a bottle of that weight for half a mile. That's 9,000 or so bottles, a waste of money imo.

  • Berger I agree about the water bottles , they could have had half sized bottles , but one positive was the large black bins that were placed on route just after each drinks station - That was a very good idea for disposal of said bottles.


  • Read the BHF updates so arrived early as advised.Parked the car no problem.Very well organised event.Great venue,great route.All volunteers very helpful and friendly.Great marshalling.Will be back next year hopefully with better weather.



  • Glad to see its slowly turning back to positive comments!!

    Regarding water bottles, I'm sure I've read somewhere before that its more cost effective to use a standard sized bottle (i.e. 500ml) rather than use a smaller bottle made by a limited number of suppliers. I suppose there are environmental concerns, but considering the size of the event these are pretty much insignificant.

    Berger; you could always pour some of the water away and scrunch up the bottle if you wanted something lighter and more compact to carryimage
  • My first half.

    Good: Marshals and st johns crew going around were ace, great route, not too hilly as expected for warwick

    Bad: parking and horrendous start with everyone together made me nervous as slow and new to races like this

    Ugly: the mud at the end slowed everyone down and thankfully not for me but the exit was terrible. Also the poor sods who missed out due to BHF who started the race late yet still claimed to be starting at 9am. My garmin says 9.07am.......


  • Great course, great atmosphere. Lots of teething troubles regarding the parking and race start criteria, but am sure these will be ironed out next year, perhaps by altering the route so that runners are not running past the car park exit! The pack from BHF was very thorough and I also found that they gave some quite useful info on this RW forum prior to the race, which I found most helpul. The car park at Warwick Castle is notoriously bad anyway and at least we were not stung for the usual £6 to get out, that Merlin usually charge! I'll definitely consider doing this again next year.

  • @Ceinwen I thought the start was awesome!  Felt like a thousand people huddled in the 'tunnel' made of those ancient high walls and tree-branch roof.  You are right though, it added to the nervousness and I really enjoyed that. image

    Pretty sure the start was bang on 9.  My Garmin says 9:03 when I clicked start and I'd say 3 mins was about how long it took me to get down the 'tunnel' to the start

  • This was my first race in 3 years of running, so I, naturally, have nothing to compare it to. However, the high I feel from having completed it has not been tarnished in any way by any of the negative aspects, so that, to me, sums the whole event up in a positive light.Hannah from BHF did post some very useful advice on here on Saturday. Feel for the runners who were turned away, but BHF have done the right thing by offering refund and free entry next year. 

    Agree with comments regarding the 'tunnel' at the start-gave a real medieval feel to proceedings!

  • thank you image

  • I understand the 2014 race won't be from the castle but the racecourse. I think that is going to detract significantly from the experience. The castle is a special location. The route is nice and scenic but then so is the Coventry Half which is substantially better organised and on the same day.

    On balance I suppose Warwick edges it for me as the town is a nicer location for a post race beer or two.

    Interested in others opinion.
  • It'll be interesting to see what they do with the start. Could potentially make use of the PA and marquees and things in situ at the Racecourse and make it a really special start and finish. If you love the start at the castle there is always the Two Castles 10K in June. A few of our running group are taking part at Warwick. It'll be a good one I'm sure. Prefer Warwick v Coventry but shame they are on the same day.
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