This was a challenging, yet beautiful run with nice spectator support. It was pretty well organized, although shirts ran small and there was no way to exchange.
It may not be a great first marathon just because of the hills and a portion of the marathon is on pretty well maintained trails. Manchester City was very welcoming and was a fun, walkable place to hang out after the marathon.
By AH about 2013
Spectator friendly. If they know the course they can see particular runners in many locations. For runners, it's rolling hills with good traffic control. There are not many participants (~500) and there are sections that are very remote, and it can get lonely. The last 3 miles have a lot of annoying turns, including a switch back on a sidewalk, which at mile 24 always makes me nervous. Post race refreshments were not strong, although the hot chocolate was very welcomed.
Early November in Manchester can be cold and raw, dress accordingly.