I was apprehensive about this event, mainly due to the fact that it was one of the most expensive 10k events that I had come across (£26), and I almost didn’t enter due to that fact. However, I was due to run the Ronnie Bowker 10k on the 9th April, but was ill so I decided to enter the Birmingham 10k to make up for the event that I had missed… and I am so glad that I did!
Me and my fiancé took the metro and arrived in Birmingham for around 10:20; we then followed a few other runners down to the information point, where we were then directed to the start area for our wave (we were in the pink wave, 70s music, and were due to start our warm up at 11:08). Immediately we were caught up in the atmosphere of the event… there were a group of men playing bagpipes, runners lining up in their waves and spectators cheering on the runners already on the course. At 11:08, the commentators called the pink wave forward, and then proceeded to play some 70s music and give warm up dance instructions (we ended up dancing to YMCA amongst a few other songs!). At 11:16, the pink wave officially started out, and it took us an additional minute or so to cross the starting line due to being towards the back of the race pack.
There were pacers for the following times:
- 45 (x2, one in the orange wave and one in the white)
- 50 (x3, one in the orange, blue and green waves)
- 60 (x3, one in the blue, green and pink waves)
- 70 (x2, one in the blue and pink waves)
The start of the race is a little narrow, but the route then opens out and allows enough space for overtaking. .
The course was relatively flat, with a few small inclines.
At certain points, there were also paramedics and members of the St. Johns Ambulance Service.
There were a few interesting things to see along the course, and the crowd provided additional entertainment.
I enjoyed the last kilometre as it was downhill and felt quite fast towards the finish. I started the downhill section and before I knew it I had the finish line in sight and my legs were just on autopilot. After crossing the line you are directed down a little further where you can then collect your finisher’s pack.
There were a few photographers around the course, and 3 or 4 located at the finish line; all in all, I was snapped in 18 photographs and the race line video (there is a short video of every runner crossing the finish line). There are a number of digital and media packages available for purchasing the images, or you can purchase just selected ones or order specific prints; it’s £29.99 for all of your images in digital download, and £9.99 for the race video. The event was also broadcast live on Channel 5 from 10:00-12:00 using various cameras from on the ground, and also a dedicated helicopter which hovered above the route – I made the TV broadcast for 6 seconds or so, unfortunately it was at the 5km water station mark, so not my finest running moment, but hey ho!
All of the course is completely closed off to traffic.
Water was provided at the 5 kilometre mark, and was provided in small bottles which had already been opened and were ready to drink from.
There were various bands, DJs, singers and other entertainment along the course.
Spectators also provided music via home stereos from their front gardens at certain points.
The crowds were great all around the course, and there were a lot of families spectating with children offering Jelly Babies and Haribo sweets to runners, as well as holding their hands out for runners to “high five” them on the way past.
The goodie bag contained a bottle of water, a Cadbury Fudge bar, and an Up & Go Brekkie Without the Bowl drink.
T-shirt and Medal:
The t-shirt provided was a blue technical t-shirt which was of good quality.
The medal was quite heavy and was a nice design with a quality ribbon.
Both me and my fiancé absolutely loved this event and would definitely be interested in running it again. The price was justifiable due to the quality of the finisher’s pack including the t-shirt and medal, and the fact that it was a closed road event. The event was well organized and there were plenty of portaloos available. The marshals were great at providing directions. Water was provided before the start of the event, at the 5km mark and in the finisher’s pack.
One thing that I only found out a day or two before the event, was that there is a car which follows the runners at a 13 minute per kilometre pace, and if you are overtaken by this car, you are asked to leave the course and follow pathways to complete the event; you still get the finisher’s pack as long as you complete the event within a certain time.
Entering this event also gives you £10 off the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run which takes place later in the year.
I’m not sure whether it was from the support of the crowd, the music around the course, or the relatively quick route, but I finished in a time of 1:14:58 – knocking more than 5 minutes off my previous 10k personal best.