My fiancé and I were looking at this event for our first 10k as it seemed good value for money – £18 for a full UK Athletics accredited race with bib chip timing, and you got a technical t-shirt, medal, a banana and free race photos. We decided, however, that Nottingham was a bit too far away to go for a race as it would mean driving an hour and fifteen minutes each way… our plans soon changed when we won a free race entry.
March 4th 2017 soon rolled round, and we went to bed early, setting our alarm for 6:30 Sunday morning. Race day started with our alarm buzzing, and up we got to get some breakfast. We got dressed, filled out the back of our race bibs, and set the sat nav. The drive seemed to take forever, mainly because I was nervous about getting there on time and it being our first 10k event. We arrived a little late, but luckily so had a lot of other runners; it did mean that I didn’t have time to use the toilet beforehand though! We followed the marshal’s directions and parked up on the allocated car park (a very muddy field). We made our way to the starting position, and the atmosphere started to kick in; there were announcements being made on the tannoy and a commentator feeding information to the crowd.
There were no official pacers for this event.
A little late, but finally we set off for two 5k laps around the National Water Sports Centre – home to some of Great Britain’s Olympic athletes.
About half a kilometre in and the rain started; it was already cold, but the rain made it worse. By the third kilometre it was raining heavily and we were all soaked through and freezing; I could barely see through my glasses, but my t-shirt was too wet to be able to wipe the water from them.
The first lap was slightly different to the second, as we had to climb up a slope and take a detour.
By the 7th kilometre I could no longer even feel my GPS watch vibrate to tell me I had completed another kilometre marking, I was that cold.
The last kilometre was the best supported as the crowd cheered you to the finish. Finishers who were on their way out of the centre also cheered runners on.
We finally crossed the finish line in 1:22:28 (GPS watch time).
Bottled water was provided at the end of the first lap, around the 5k mark.
There was music playing at the start / finish area which was also the 5k mark as there are 2 laps.
People could only spectate from the start / finish area. It did mean that spectators had a good view of the runners as it was a looped course and they could see most of the way around the route.
The atmosphere was definitely lacking and it was hard to find the motivation to push on as there were no crowds along the way.
The marshals on the course were friendly and offered encouragement, but it’s not the same as having crowds with signs of encouragement.
There was no goodie bag provided, just a banana and bottle of water at the finish line.
Photographs from the event were available to download for free though.
T-shirt and Medal:
The t-shirt provided was a technical top, which was nice, however the colours were definitely not to my taste. The design wasn’t the most inspired either.
I liked the medal design as it represented the course, but the ribbon was low quality and let the medal down a little.
All in all, despite the abysmal weather conditions, I enjoyed my first 10k event. The event was well organized, however the course was a bit boring due to the lack of crowds, the route and the fact that it was a lapped event. There was nothing scenic to see at all and I probably wouldn’t enter this event again. We didn’t really plan ahead as we didn’t bring dry clothes to get changed into, so we ended up sitting in wet clothes for the drive back home, but it didn’t detract from the day.
I would recommend this event to others in the future if they are looking for a personal best, however I don’t think we will be running it again, purely down to distance and the fact that it is held during the March period, which means it’ll probably be another cold and wet day next year. The race organizers were great and originally hosted the competition that we won a race place in; they also answered all of our questions promptly and kept us informed. Race numbers were sent out well in advance, so it was all very well organized. The route was clearly laid out, with marshals along the path to give guidance. The photographers were located in different points and we managed to download our free photos a few days after the event. There were plenty of medals and t-shirts to ensure that no-one went without, so overall it was a good event – just a shame about the weather!
I gave this event 3.5 stars as the course is not the most scenic, and a lot of people won’t enjoy the 2 lap nature of the course. Once you have ran it once, it would be hard to find the motivation to run the course again as there isn’t anything interesting to see. It is definitely a nice course for personal best potential as it is relatively flat and wide enough at all points to overtake other runners. The lack of a goodie bag was made up for by the free downloadable race photos.