Let me first start off by saying that this time I won’t be following up this post with a Results post as my Garmin didn’t like the trail nature of the course and didn’t record a GPS map for me to show, plus some of the pace and distance data was out (my watch only recorded 9.25km instead of the full 10km).
The British weather had been a bit on and off the day before the run, but on August 6th, the weather was lovely… perhaps a little too warm for running! Me and my fiancé entered this event over a month ago, but since entering had done very little running – I sprained my foot around that time and lost all of my motivation to stick to my plan, so we were both very unprepared for this 10k and both decided that we’d be happy just to finish so we didn’t set our sights on beating any specific times.
We arrived early (just before 10am) to ensure that we could park and to give my fiancé time to pick up his race number as his had been lost in the post. There was adequate parking space and no parking fees, which is always nice. After picking up his race number we waited near the start line; there was no organized warm up or anything, so we did a few stretches and our own little warm up before following everyone else to the starting point.
The event started at 10:30 with no delays.
There were no official pacers for the event.
The course got a little congested at the starting point but it was easy enough to overtake or drop back depending on your pacing. There was only one section of the course that was a bit narrow, so we had to come to a complete stop and wait for the runners ahead to get through before following in single file.
I opted to run in full length tights and a long sleeved running top, as I thought that there may be nettles or sharp branches along the route, but this wasn’t the case; even on the narrow section, I think I would have been fine in shorts and a vest top.
I have to say, this was our first true trail event – the Chasewater 10k was around 50/50 with path and off road – but Cannock Chase is a beast. There is a section where you have to cross a shallow bit of water using some large stepping stones and as such your pace will drop. It’s definitely not a course for a fast 10k!
Lots of hill climbs – one of which was absolute torture! Personally, I hate hills anyway, but at around the 5km mark there is one hell of a steep climb; I had to keep telling myself not to let myself stop otherwise I’d really struggle to start again. I enjoy running downhill as I’m not a speedy runner, so it gives me a sense of speed, but some of the downhill sections of the course were a little scary due to the steep decline and the fact that the ground has a lot of loose rocks which I was nervy about tripping over.
There was a bottled water station just after the halfway point.
Due to the trail nature of the event, there was no on course entertainment.
There were no spectators along the route, again mainly due to the trail nature.
At some of the crossing points there were people walking their dogs or riding bikes, but it was mainly just runners on the course.
The goodie bag contained some well needed goodies: popcorn, Haribo’s, water, a banana, a Cadbury Fudge and a coconut and almond butter squeeze pack.
T-shirt and Medal:
There was no t-shirt provided for the event.
The medal was a nice weighty design and looked trail like.
All in all, it was a well-organized event, albeit with one of our race numbers being lost in the post. Bottled water was provided just past the 5km point, although they were twist bottle lids rather than the sports lid type, which is a little annoying when trying to drink and run. Free parking is always a bonus, the medal was a nice design, and the finisher’s pack had a fair amount of items. For £17 each, it was a decent event, although I’d have liked to have a t-shirt included in the price. As scenic as the route was, it was a really tough course, and one that should be avoided if you are looking for a personal best; if you are looking at getting into trail running, or fancy a different kind of 10k challenge, then this could be perfect for you!
I finished the event in 1:29:52 – which is my slowest 10k event to date, but I hadn’t been running regularly and it was a really tough course.
I would still give the event 4 stars as it is a scenic route and a good introduction into light trail running.