||The 25th running of the Chippenham Half Marathon was an exceptionally well-organised event and much helped by perfect weather.
Based at the Chippenham Sports Club, alongside the town football club, the levels of organisation were evident even before reaching the venue. Signs on the approach roads led runners to the well-marshaled parking. Their club website, on the morning of the race, had advised that, due to the recent heavy rains, the original parking areas were now unavailable, but that a contingency plan was in place. In the event all seemed seamless and the parking arrangements were excellent – even though there was a good ten minute walk to the venue.
On reaching the venue runners were greeted by a great deal of information and signage for toilets, changing and baggage facilities. At least two platoons of portaloos were on site. (What is correct collective noun for a group of portaloos?).
The race started in a fun and friendly atmosphere on time on a closed road outside the Sports Club, and continued on closed roads through the town centre. The course was very well-marshaled and led out into the countryside using closed and very quiet roads. The water stations were well-organised and located at regular three mile intervals along the scenic and slightly undulating course that passed through several villages. Conditions were excellent on the day with a cool windless, overcast, but bright, start to the morning. The return to Chippenham was, for a short section along the pavement of a main road into the town, before a good downhill run through a housing estate to the finish on the playing field.
Support along the course was vocal, especially going out through the town centre and, perhaps more importantly, on the playing field at the finish.
An excellent goodie-bag was presented to finishers containing a decent t-shirt, a sports drink and some snacks.
There were great facilities at the finish and a real carnival atmosphere, now helped by the warm sunshine. Changing tents, showers, a bar, decent food (freshly made baguettes and a barbeque) and hot drinks were on offer.
All in all a really great effort by Chippenham Harriers for an event that the whole town obviously takes to heart. A real treat for the thousand plus runners who took part.