I entered the brand new Chelmsford half marathon in 2020 with it due to be held in March 2021 but with COVID restrictions it was postponed until 3rd October 2021.
I went with a number of club mates from my local running club.
The route starts in Chelmsford city centre and finishes at the Anglian Ruskin University taking in some of the iconic landmarks of Chelmsford along the way.
The start was easy to find as there was music playing and plenty of people heading in the same direction that gave it away where to go.
The race was described as a fast flat course and not being a lover of hills it appealed having a course a short 30 minute drive from me that I could get a fast time.
There are plenty of flat sections to get some speed up but there were also quite a few undulating sections that really knocked the speed out of you. There were some really great easy turns but also a few annoying turns around a cone where you lost some speed and momentum.
The finish had plenty of spectators making plenty of noise to cheer you on those final few meters.
I did really like the fact the roads were closed and I do think paying a premium on your entry fee makes this worth it.
Overall I thought it was a really good course on closed roads, just not as flat as I was expecting in my head but it does have potential to get a personal best.
There was 3 water stations at miles 4, 8 and 11 with small bottled water with plenty of large bins to chuck your plastic bottles in.
There was also bottled water available at the end of the race with some goodies to refuel.
Restrictions at the time meant the recommendations were bottled water only, however I do believe in future events there are plans to make this more eco friendly with paper cups or something similar.
Due to restrictions at the time of the race there were no pacers but there should be for future races.
There were a number of car parks within a 10 to 15 minute walk from the start line and 5 to 10 minutes from the finish. Unfortunately, you cannot park at the university though.
There were plenty of portable toilets at the start line as well as some public toilets but if your like me and really want to skip the que upon entry you can upgrade to access the VIP toilets for an extra £8.
This gives you a wristband to access the nice toilets and importantly being diabetic and a bit of nervous racer it meant I could go to the loo several times before getting on the start line without worrying about if I was going to have to que for ages.
Was it worth £8? It was not the marble bathroom with gold taps I had envisioned for that price but it did give me peace of mind and I would upgrade again.
I am not really one for medals but even I crossed the line and felt a little underwhelmed by the medal.
It looked and felt like the sort of medal that was off eBay and you would give the kids on sports day for taking part and certainly not what you would expect from a well organised half marathon with a large sponsor...
...However, several weeks later the organisers explained that the medals they had expected to give out had been stuck in customs in another country and the medals we were duly posted to us.
Whilst not ideal it was a nice surprise in the post as I had not seen the email from the organisers telling us our new medal would be sent to us in the post.
There were photos taken by Epic Action imagery throughout the course and you can see the photos on there website and find your images by searching for your bib number.
They were pretty decent photos to be fair but at £10 to download a single photo or £25 for for 30 photos I didn't think this represented great value if I am honest especially as they were only for personal use and I wouldn't be able to use them on this website.
I realise the company who took the photos is just making a living but I think all race organisers need to take a leaf out of Cambridge Half Marathon's books and take photos as part of the entry fee.
I paid an early bird price of £30 when it was first launched but the price to enter the next Chelmsford half marathon is £45.
This doesn't include the £8 VIP toilet access or your parking.
Spectating was limited to the start of the race, some bridges over the main roads, a few sections had residents cheering you on but mostly people went to the finish.
How To Enter
You can enter the next Chelmsford half marathon on there website cmhalf.com
You can find the results below
Would I Enter Again?
I think the thing to remember here is that this was there 1st event, it was postponed and then reschuled with restrictions on there race licenses so the full experience I think there were hoping to deliver was a little against them.
This was also the same day as the London Marathon so a number of runners who had originally entered could no longer make it, so half of the entries did not turn up.
So I think future races will have more of an atmosphere and more people on race day that you would expect on a large city half marathon.
So Yes, although it is a little on the pricey side and I think there are still things they can improve I would enter again and fully appreciate the closed roads and was a well organised half marathon.
There also organised a number of virtual races in the build up to race day and were great at communicating with you in the build up to the race.
Things To Bear In Mind...
- The start and finish are in 2 different places and there was no where to place your belongings or clothes keeping you warm so ideally take someone with you to the start or go ready to race.
- Car parks are a good 10 to 15 minutes away from the start so leave plenty of time to get there but there are few shops open to get a coffee.
- The finish area does have some catering trucks and there was someone giving massage and is a good location for spectators.
If you have any questions you would like to ask about the Chelmsford half marathon, please ask below in the comments.
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