A new, medium-sized half marathon set in and around Guildford, south England. Nice and flat and with thousands of spectators, it’s a good event for first-timers or club-runners hunting a PB.
When: March (since 2014)
Where: Guildford, Surrey
Size: Approx 5000 runners
Official race website here.
- Download the free race App which contains all the race information, including the course map, and can be used by the spectators to track the runner’s time.
- Arrive early as car parks get filled up quickly. There is a lot of parking around Guildord, but some of them are far from the race village so you should allow time in order not to miss the start!
- Train for a fast, flat race.
Official race video…
What’s the set up and organisation like?
The race is organised very well despite it being such a young event. This year (2014) was the inaugural event and attracted over 5000 participants.
You sign up on the web site and receive your starting pack in the post a few weeks before the race. The starting pack contains your number with a timing chip, luggage tag, an official ‘Surrey Half’ bandana to wear on the race day and a leaflet with race information. The website contains all the race day information with regards to car parks in the local area and the exact event location.
When you turn up on the day you can drop off your bag in a designated bag drop off area, and take some time to stroll through the event village where the sponsors set up their stalls, or have a sports massage. 15mins before the race starts there is an organised warm up for all runners.
When signing up for the race you are asked to declare your predicted finish time, and based on your prediction, you receive a colour-coded running bib. These colours correspond to each pace group, which is lead by Runner’s World pacers during the race. The zones for each pace groups are clearly designated at the start line so it’s easy to find your starting spot.
There is also a free App which can be downloaded which contains all the race information, including the course map, and can be used by the spectators to track the runner’s time at 10km and at the finish line.
What’s the course like?
The route is an out-and-back from Guildford to Woking with full road closures in place, along road tarmac all the way. The Start Area and Event Village is at the Spectrum Sports Centre.
The Event Village includes registration, stalls, sponsors, VIP tent and cafes. It’s almost entirely flat, so it’s perfect for people who are looking for fast runs and would like to add a new personal best to their collection.
How difficult is Surrey Half Marathon?
The race course allows you to be entirely in charge of your own race. There are no hills or any other obstacles, so it’s just you and the fastest pace you can sustain till the finish line. This way it’s a perfect race for runners of all abilities.
What was the atmosphere like in the crowds and among the racers?
The atmosphere during the race is excellent, thanks to local residents who line the streets and cheer runners on. There are bands playing music every few kilometers along the route, kids giving out sweets and cheer leaders waiting at the finish line.
The volunteers and race marshals are also very encouraging along the whole route. The weather, of course can have a big impcat and in this year (2014) everybody’s spirits were lifted by the lovely sun, which allowed some spectators to light up barbeques whilst cheering on the runners!
What is there to Apres Race?
The race village was set up right next to Guildford Spectrum, a local leisure centre with four swimming pools, ice rink and bowling, so there is plenty to do if you still have any energy left after the run. Otherwise we recommend a lovely lunch in one of the pubs in the picturesque Surrey countryside.
During the day there are also kid’s races organised in parallel, so there is plenty to do for the entire family.
My Race Diary
Unfortunately I did not beat my PB and finished the race in 1:48:06. This is still a great time for me and I enjoyed my day. I will definitely sign up for next year’s race, the registration has already started!