Saturday, October 30, 2010

'A Run Is A Run'

This morning the clocks go back, so we get an extra hour in bed. Although we do try and keep this information from the party goers in case they try to stay a bit longer. Not that it will affect them if they don’t plan on sleeping.

Once we are up, we head over to the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. This is the location for the Birmingham 10k, our second race in the second city in eight days. ‘Birmingham 10k’ is a grand title that implies a ‘big city’ 10k. An image reinforced by the finish of the race being inside the Alexander Stadium and the fact that the race was advertised on Runners World.

After we’d entered at a cost of £12 + a £2 booking fee, closer inspection revealed a lack of information on a London based football website that would have been the location for further details had there been any.

Finally a few days before the race an email arrived informing us that the course was now multi-terrain not road as advertised and consisted of four laps of Perry Park. It also would not start or finish inside the stadium due to building work taking place there. Quite a few entrants were not happy about this and some demanded their money back.

I was unsure about it all myself but 'a run is a run' I suppose. I can’t believe I just said that. I’ll be out ‘jogging’ next. Oddly though it sounds like the sort of race I do well in. So we leave Doggo and MD in the car, to howl their displeasure at our absence, and head off to collect our race numbers from the organiser.

On paper the organisation didn’t look good at all but in the end it all went off very well. The race was well marshalled, well signed and even had a half decent goodie bag that included both a t-shirt and a medal, though no munchies.

There were no km markers, which wasn’t a surprise. Just how do you km mark a four lap race? Somehow they need to adapt this into, at most, a two lapper. In fact the four laps actually turned out to be four and a half. Luckily for me, as I’m crap at counting, they had marshals counting for you and letting you know when you’d done enough. Luckily for them, it was quite a small field that they had to keep track of.

It was a pleasant-ish course or would have been if we hadn’t had to do it four times. Though quite hard work at times as there were long sections on the long wet grass which at least got trampled down by lap four. Counting how many people I had lapped kept me occupied and relieved the monotony a touch.

At the end of each lap there was a drinks station. Well a pile of bottles on the floor and a surly teenage girl with her arms folded wondering why she was stood in the middle of a damp park early on a Sunday morning when she could have been doing something less constructive like a normal teenager.

By the second lap someone had clearly had a word, she had some bottles in her hands and looked as if she might be considering handing them out.

By the third lap she had help. All the other marshals were great though.

In the end I came 13th, although my time wasn’t great. It turned out to be a half decent race that could have better had more (and correct) information been provided in advance. We would not have entered but for the inaccurate information on the usually reliable Runners World website. There’s potential there and they hope to sort that stadium finish for next year.

In the evening we work on Daughter’s personal ‘sodding’ statement, her angelic words not mine. Her first draft is pretty good, my re-draft even better. L reckons I’d be sure to pull a fresher with that sort of spiel. Hmmm. She thinks...

Unfortunately my sort of girl is the type who gets up to run four laps around a park fifty miles away on a Sunday morning. I know how to pull her. I take a bottle out of the wine rack and reach for the corkscrew.

(Sunday 31st October)

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