Name: Capital Runners Richmond Park 10k and 5k series.
Distance: 10k (5k option also available)
Date: 22nd February 2015 (5 more races by this organiser through the year)
Location: Richmond Park, London SW14 8BJ
Capital Runners Richmond Park 10k and 5k series
If you want to take part in the series, there's 5 more races organised throughout the year, you may also wish to check out http://therunningbug.co.uk/events/running-events-home.aspx to see a selection of races and courses available at specific times.
As a 10K is (typically) under an hour, you may also wish to slot in some HIIT training to really boost your lung capacity.
The "undulating" (i.e. fairly smooth) 10k course was made up of a 5k route which was repeated twice, most probably to make it easier given that they wanted to provide a 5k option, although in my opinion, I prefer a full 10k route as it keeps things slightly more visually interesting when you're running around.
All in all, it was a nice atmosphere, but definitely more of a "local park run" vibe than a "charity leaden, hotly anticipated, crowds cheering" type of 10k.
There were approximately 400 runners, with myself being #10, and potentially 10 people dotted around the track to cheer you on. The route was particularly smooth and was contained within the upper most 20% of Richmond Park, rather than completing the 5k route twice, I feel it would have been better to use more of the beautiful space that Richmond Park has to offer.
With regards to hills, there were some small inclines and declines, but nothing much to worry about. Probably due to the time of year, the ground was slightly muddy which affected traction, which on the one hand gives it an element of a trail run feel, but also makes that final obligatory sprint to the finish that bit more dangerous.
Facilities & Amenities
This was quite a small 10k in relation to some of the 10ks I've done previously and my expectations of what I expect from an organised 10k are probably altered as a result.
From my experiences of 10ks, I feel that reasonable expectations are:
- Accurate chip timing
- Race Photography
- Drinks mid-way through the course
- Post-race nutrition
There was a single photographer on the course, for which I had to throw a couple of poses to on my way past (endorphins eh?).
With regards to the drinks, this was a little disappointing, having ran for the first 5k and becoming slightly parched I was looking forward to the prospect of a small chilled bottle of water to sip over the next km or so.
Upon reaching the drinks area I was handed a small plastic cup, half filled with water, which left me with in the predicament as to whether to slow down and be able to drink what was available, or try to drink it without losing pace.
I opted for the second option and because of the large area at the top of the cup, found it difficult to sip it without throwing the majority of it over my face and onto my beard.
As a bearded man, a wet beard on a cold February morning is not what you're hoping for...
It's not going to win any Michelin stars any time soon, but at least there was something there to kick start recovery I guess.
Finally, the last thing worth mentioning were the waves, or lack of organisation thereof. Setting ability based waves at the start of a 10k or longer helps people run at their own pace without being crowded by people of different abilities, either trying to slip past a group of people who are too slow or having someone much quicker nudging past you with their eyes set on a new personal best (PB).
The idea of waves this morning was simply a man telling people not to all run at once, which left the start of the race coming very close to a Formula 1 race with a first-corner pile up.
Despite the crowds of people bunching together on the park's path to avoid puddles, there was naturally no actual traffic to be aware of which was nice compared to any runs through streets you may have done.
I was also able to set a new PB at a reasonable 46:24, shaving about 10 seconds off my old time, though I feel this was not due to the course, but to my vastly increased lung-power (considering I'm also roughly 3kg heavier than I was when I set my last PB).
If you're in the area and fancy a relaxed run through Richmond Park, I'd look into the race itself, but realistically for the sake of £20, you might be better off heading for a run through your local park, setting up the GPS on your smartphone and spending the £20 on a banana, sports drink and a pub lunch with your friends afterwards.
Alternatively, if you fancy a slightly bigger challenge - try the Richmond Half Marathon or the full Milton Keynes Marathon instead.
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