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The Vitality Bath Half Marathon is a fast flat course, straddling both sides of the river Avon and avoiding all the hills surrounding the City. It is an ‘honest’ two-lap course with proven PB (‘personal best’ time) criteria, entirely traffic-free (full road closures throughout). Even at the front end you’ll have plenty of company to pull you round for a good time.
This is a ‘Big City’ race, starting & finishing at the same point in Great Pulteney Street – with a roadway spanning 46 feet – one of the widest Georgian boulevards in Europe and a course that threads through the heart of this historic city.
The first mile is gently downhill down Pulteney Road to Churchill Bridge – so resist all temptations to go off too fast.
You then follow two identical laps from Churchill Bridge, gently rising up past Green Park Station, a gentle ‘pull’ round Queen Square (the most crowded spot for spectators on the course), then down Charlotte Street and out along the Upper Bristol Road, gently undulating along Newbridge Road, and a longer ‘pull’ up to the ‘New Bridge’ at the beginning of the dual carriageway. From the ‘Twerton Fork’ the race heads back towards the City centre, pancake flat along Lower Bristol Road, before crossing over Churchill Bridge and up Green Park again for the beginning of the second lap. At the end of the second lap the runners pass across Churchill Bridge, finally rising gently (but remorselessly) back up Pulteney Road all the way to the finish with a dramatic last 200 metres in Great Pulteney Street.
The Course Map (NB. link is to 2016 map) will be included in the race programme which is posted out to all runners (with their race numbers and timing chips) in good time to have a proper read through before race day.
The course route is unchanged since it was remeasured in 2006 by IAAF official course measurer Hugh Jones (ex British international marathon runner & London Marathon winner). The current course is close to the original course used in early years of the race. Hugh described it as ‘officially flat, with three undulations’. The amendments were introduced in 2006 to make the course run faster, whilst reducing congestion at the ‘pinch points’ at Rudmore Park and Pinesway. We also introduced a fantastic viewing spot for spectators at Queen Square.
Toilets and drinks stations
Toilets are provided at all first aid posts and at all drinks stations. There are further toilets in the Runners Village and inside the assembly area for each start bay.
Bottled water & Lucozade Sport will be provided on the left hand kerb at the following locations on the half marathon course:
- Bottled water: 2 miles, 5 miles, 8 miles, 10.5 miles, 12.5 miles
- Lucozade Sport (orange flavour): 4.5 miles, 10 miles
Further water and energy drinks are provided after the finish of the half marathon and fun run.
Large Mile Markers signs will be erected on each measured mile mark, and at the 10km point. The first lap mile markers will be positioned on the left (inside) kerb, and the second lap markers on the right (outside) kerb
10K Timing Point
An intermediate chip timing point is provided on the first lap at the 10K mark. All first lap runners are required to run through the 10K timing point on the inside (left) lane.
Entertainment around the course
In addition to the ever-popular Samba Sulis steel band in Queen Square, our ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition is returning this year with local bands playing at nine locations around the course.
BBC Radio Bristol’s presenter will be announcing at the start and finish, with our own athletics commentator.
Heart FM, our commercial media radio partner will be providing presenters and a sound stage at Churchill Bridge, and ‘Heart Angels’ cheering points at two further locations on the course.
Many of our 120 race charities also organise cheering points around the course to support runners.
The Vitality BATHALF is famous for immense crowd support around the course. Due to it’s 2-lap configuration and bridges linking both sides of the river, spectators can move around the course to watch runners on multiple occasions. Also as the course runs through residential areas in the heart of the city, local residents can watch the race from outside their own houses.