For me, racing is the best part of running; it's the culmination of all your training and hard miles you've put in and for the chance to push yourself against like-minded individuals. On occasion they can be the worst part of running, as I discovered this weekend.
In the last two weeks I 'completed' two races; a local club organised 10k road race, and an independent company organised 10k tough mudder type race.
One cost £12.50, was extremely well organised with excellent marshalling, water on route as well as being chip timed and having a great technical t-shirt on completion.
The other cost £30, had no sort of organisation about it, with close to no marshalling and no form of signage to show the route you should take (pretty important given the course took you through wooded areas with multiple tracks) and the tackiest, cheapest medal at the finishing line.
Probably not surprisingly, the cheaper, well organised race was the Penny Lane Striders 10k, for which I couldn’t commend, or recommend enough. It follows a route along the Otterspool promenade before looping back and diverting on to a paved, wooded section. It was a tough race with a strong head wind on the return leg of the promenade, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. I completed it in 42:19, and despite wanting to go under 42 minutes I was happy given that head wind.
The independent company organised race, titled ‘Total Grit Xtreme’, was clearly just set up to be a money maker. For £30 it was a cheap version of tough mudder (other obstacle races also available), and whilst my expectations weren’t high, I do expect a race to start on time, and to ensure I get round safely. Not the case; I and over 20 others got lost due to there being little marshalling and no signs, and spent a good 15 minutes running around a wooded area just trying to get back to the start. We eventually did, but only by running alongside, and eventually crossing, a main ‘A’ road.
So, in the last two weeks I’ve seen the best and the worst of running; a running club organising a fantastic race for the love of running, and an independent company organising a ‘race’ only to fleece and make money out of people who just want to do an activity they love.
Final Race Stats
Penny Lane 10k:
Cool technical tee:
Excellent photography skills here showing I am, in fact, winning the race (!)
|Source: David Pinnington|
Total Grit Xtreme:
Before getting lost; a tunnel, and bales of hay obstacle.