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08th Sep2013

Run to the Beat Review – London Half Marathon – 8th September 2013

by Simon Chapple

Where do I start with this one…it was an organisational disaster!

Run to the Beat 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran Run to the Beat in 2012 when it started and finished at the O2 Arena, while it wasn’t the best event in terms of organisation, I enjoyed it enough to run again in 2013, what a mistake.

2013 saw the Run to the Beat organisers move the start/finish to Greenwich Park, using the same start as the London Marathon, a nice touch.

I attended the race with my wife and her friend, it was my wives first half marathon and I had recommended this one to her as the ideal introduction.

We had booked car parking through Park at my House, it only cost £10 and was a stones throw from the start, this was a great move as there is no official car parking and organisers recommend using public transport.

Thankfully, the weather was good and the race village had a nice atmosphere, plenty of stands and short queues for the toilets, thumbs up for this.

Around half an hour before the race start we were ushered into the start pens, this is where things went downhill. In a repeat of what happened the year before, the race start was 20 minutes late, meaning some people had been waiting in the start pen for well over an hour.

When the race eventually started, it was tricky to get into a decent stride for the first couple of miles, this is a mass participation event and runners are closely packed together, similar to the start of the London Marathon.

The route was quite frankly boring, mainly through residential and industrial areas, there were also a considerable number of parts where runners had to go back on themselves, running down the same part of the route in the opposite direction, this happened over and over and was demoralising.

What ruined the event was the point where runners had to go through a gate into the Royal Artillery Barracks and back out again, the organisers had not figured out that they needed a wider space than the 4 feet wide gate to squeeze through 20,000 runners, this resulted in a massive bottleneck and runners having to wait (stood still) to enter the gate for up to 15 minutes, all chances of a personal best, ruined!

Thankfully I missed the bottleneck, but many runners were badly affected by it and it spoiled their day.

To make matters worse, the event organisers decided to make the last half mile a brutal uphill sector, which was demoralising at best.

As a final insult, the “technical” T-shirts included in the (expensive) entry fee had a mistake on them, they showed the wrong date and the organisers had tried to cover this up in the hope it wouldn’t get seen.

From my own point of view, the medal was nice and I got a pretty decent time, but there is no way I would ever run this event again.

After the organisers received a flood of complaints they gave runners back £10 of the entry fee and sent out a new T-shirt, but that doesn’t come close to all the hassle runners went through to take part in a sham of an event.

Run to the Beat 2014 organisers have promised a huge improvement at the next event, but I won’t be there and imagine thousands of others will steer clear.

 

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