Talkback: Races of the Year 2012

Well done, RW, for a very fair way of coming up with these listings. It's great to see the diversity of quality races in the UK. Northern Ireland again not well represented. Some great races (eg Events to Live's Bacchus half marathon) were highly rated but didn't get quite enough votes (event directors need to encourage their runners to rate their races!).

Great to see so many different categories, allowing many races to boast that they are in the top 5 or 10 in the country for something.

One listing that we would all like to see are the country's worst races (I think that RW is too polite to compile the list) - from which we can also learn a lot.

Any suggestions? 


  • Very interesing and inspiring lists!

    Also agree the list of 'poorest rated' races would be interesing, but also a death sentance for them...

  • I think that the identification of what is wrong with the worst-rated races can be a powerful spur to start getting these things right!

    Some of the very worst ratings I saw through the year were related to inept baggage retreival systems, or lack of them, since often the bags were just heaped in a pile for people to find their own bags. The London Marathon, by contrast, has an insanely-great baggage retrieval system. 

  • OK - here's my list of things that a great race must have:

    Easy to register

    Good value for money (not necessarily cheap - a £300 Ironman can be good value) 

    Easy to get to 

    Enough toilets at the start

    Easy bag drop

    Good atmosphere at start and on course (chin wag, cameraderie and ribaldry etc) 

    Starts on time

    Great course - no constrictions - ideally good views - accurate distance measurement - adequate water on the course* - clear course signage*

    Accurate timing at the end*

    Good drinks/nosh at the end (Bacchus half impossible to beat on this - a feast)

    Good goodies (doesn't need to be in a bag!)

    Easy bag collection

    Easy to get away

    Results, video, write-up, photos etc etc up promptly on t'Internet


    In my experience, runners will forgive many things, but the ones that they won't forgive are marked with * - enough water on the course, clear course marking and accurate timekeeping at the end (does not necessarily mean chip timing, since chips fail). 

    Not too much to ask for, surely?

    ...and there are plenty of races that don't tick all these boxes. 


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