Having enjoyed the Chasewater Easter 10k in 2017, I decided to enter the Pudding Dash this year. My last 10k was on September 2nd, and I wasn’t really fully fit for that, nor prepared. My most recent 10k personal best came in the Birmingham Half Marathon with a 10km split of 1:12:02. Having recently ran a sub-30 minute 5k, I wanted to try to beat that time in a pure 10k event.
The event had a 1 mile fun run for children and families, a 5k event which was one lap, and the 10k event which was the 5k loop ran twice. I paid £17 for the 10k event.
Considering the event isn’t widely advertised, the turnout was impressive. There were 456 runners for the 10k and 257 for the 5k.
There were no pacers at this event.
This event may not be to everyone’s taste as the course is looped. The 5km event is 1 lap and the 10km is 2 laps. The benefit of this is that it allows you to start and finish in the same place so it is easier logistically.
It’s a multi-terrain event and is classed as a trail run. As it’s a trail run, all headphones are allowed. The majority of the course is made up of mud paths and trails, with a few sections of pavement and asphalt paths. There are two really steep climbs, but the rest of the course is fairly even.
On the day, the ground was very wet and muddy. There were large puddles which everyone was trying to avoid! The ground was slippery and I actually sank into the mud a few times. A lot of the mud paths are uneven or have tree roots which you need to be aware of.
At around the 2.5 mile mark there is a narrow bridge. This is only suitable to pass in single file so everyone was slowed to a walk. I lost around 60 seconds here on the first lap as everyone had to come to a complete stop to wait their turn to cross.
Running a trail event makes a nice change from road races. The scenery was quite nice and I even got to see a huge Stag! Last year I saw a few Deer too.
With it being a trail race, it isn’t the best opportunity to set a personal best time. The course can be narrow in places and that makes it difficult to overtake. With that being said, I did still beat my 10k time by almost 4 minutes. You can read about my race experience here.
There was a water station at the 5k point. Water was provided in plastic cups.
There was no entertainment at the start / finish area or on the course.
Despite a high number of runners for a small event, the atmosphere wasn’t anything special. There were a few supporters at the finish area, and a couple within the first quarter of a mile. The lack of music made it feel a bit more like a longer Parkrun rather than a dedicated event. The marshals were great at giving encouragement and support.
A lot of runners were dressed up in Christmas and festive related fancy dress. Even with the tough terrain, this felt more like a fun run than a race. With that being said, I did have a club runner annoy me just before the 5k finishing point. He overtook me but was too close and ended up crashing into the side of me.
There was no goodie bag, however a Christmas Pudding was given to each finisher. There were also Mince Pies and Jaffa Cakes at the finish area.
T-shirt and Medal:
A t-shirt would have been nice, however the medal was a nice design and actually really big. It’s quite a weighty medal and more than twice the size of my Birmingham Half Marathon medal.
Race photographs were priced at £3.95 per downloadable image.
I did enjoy the Chasewater Pudding Dash 10k, however it isn’t one of my favourite events. For me it is a fairly local event, and can be quite scenic under the right conditions. The course is fun as it features a range of terrain and challenges. It’s a good way to dip your toes into trail running to see if it could be something that you enjoy.
The medal was huge and a nice design. Having Mince Pies, Jaffa Cakes and a Christmas Pudding at the end was a nice touch. Unlike last year, there is now a small charge for parking; £1 for 2 hours or £3 for all day.
If it has been raining I would recommend a pair of light trail shoes for extra grip. I ran in road shoes and the mud became very slippery, plus the wet leaves didn’t help!
Overall I would give the event 4 stars. It was well organized and the marshals were great. Despite the fact that the event sold out, the atmosphere was somewhat lacking. It definitely felt more like a fun run than a race. I loved the medal and the race images were reasonably priced. I do think that a photo should have been included though as the event was £17 and there was no t-shirt or goodie bag. The cost of organizing the event shouldn’t be as high as a road race as no roads had to be closed off and the park was still open to the public. I wouldn’t have hesitations about entering a Chasewater event again, whether it’s the Easter run or the Christmas Pudding Dash.