In short: a course like a maze In full: it's a charity event so i'm trying to be charitable! certainly the wind did not help as it blew the tape marking the course all over the place.
rather than laps of clapham common the organisors have opted for a course that goes in and out of the centre and around the edges. this means that different parts of the course often come very close to one another.
to cause further potential confusion it's a two lap course and they start a 5k race on the same course just a few minutes after the 10k.
so with that in mind, good marshalling and course marking are required - especially if you find yourself running alone or lapping others or coming to a part where the course comes into contact with a different section of itself.
unfortunately none of the above were in place. refering to map afterwards i was able to work out:
on lap 1 i missed a small section as there was no marshall or sign at a turn.
then at the end of lap 1, rather than be sent through the start for the small loop at the beginning of the lap, again with no marshall (despite this being the busy bandstand start point!) i had to guess and guessed wrong and ended up doing the end loop of the first lap again! at this point i didnt know where i was and was debating dropping out. then i spotted the runner who had been ahead of me as he came round having done the first section of the second lap, and so i fell in behind him.
at various points i had to then keep checking i was going in the right direction as i was a little paranoid about getting lost again. some marshalls were good but some were chatting and didnt even notice lost looking runners and most seemed as confused as i was.
all in all i probably did a little short of 10k, but since i missed the start loop of the 2nd lap and hence missed going over the timing point whilst i was redoing the end of the first (!) my time chip didnt record my time!
luckily it was just a training run otherwise i'd have been a lot more disappointed
as it is i think a bit more attention to marshalling and a little less to music at the start would be very welcome!
In short: Lovely running around the common In full: As this was my first race post-injury I especially enjoyed the predominantly flat course around the common. It's a great location and even though the common is very popular and busy, other common users were not a problem at all. Surprisinly a lot of the course was in the shade which was welcome relief in the heat today.
The morning was well organised (number collection, baggage, number of toilets, marshalling). It was delightful to watch the little children take part in their race. Encouraging the little ones is very important.
I would say when plotting the course using the red and white tape it would be better for the posts to be closer together to prevent the tape being a tripping hazard etc. It was very windy and the tape was all over the place tripping people up.
Upon finishing you are presented with a medal, a bottle of water and a t-shirt. This is very very generous for a charity run I think. The charity shouldn't feel obligated. The t-shirt is great but I wouldn't have minded at all only receiving a medal and a drink. I want as much money as possible staying with the charity. They don't need to spend on these things. Although with people wearing the t-shirt it does of course raise awareness of the hospice.
I will definitely compete in this race again. Date of review: July 4, 2010
In short: Enjoyable but not spectacular In full: I enjoyed this race. The scenery was nice, the organisation was generally good, the support was good, the course was flat. It was also nice to see the kiddies finishing their 2k race before we set off.
The course itself is very flat but have rated it as 'midly challenging' as there are a few sharpish turns which reduce speed, and also a couple of parts where you run through longish grass. There was also the occasional problem with the wind blowing up the marker ribbons which caused obstructions.
The only major gripe is that the marker at the 8km mark actually read '7km'! Not really a problem for me as could judge it by my watch but might be quite de-motivating for a first time runner! A basic error which shouldn't have been made.
Overall, it is a good race for novices. The fact that only one runner finished under 40 mins proves that.