On Sunday 23rd Oct, 16.5K runners took part in the 10 mile Great South Run.
This was my first big running event so I arrived with the normal self-doubts/questions such as:-
1. Which carpark should I use. The big one next to the start, the ‘park and ride’ or one of the other ones?
2. The runners have been divided into three main running waves. Why am I in the first wave. Have I been too optimistic on my race time predictions?
3. Am I going to freeze in my Sandhurst Joggers vest?
4. Have I done enough training?
5. Which trainers should I wear?
6. I really hope I don’t need a pee, that queue is monstrous!
7. Will I be on TV?
Gee there is so much to worry about. As usual, once the race was started by Dame Kelly Holmes, all these issues dissolved away. It was time to hunt the little Duracell Bunny Pacers.
The actual run was really busy from start to finish (minimum 4-5 of us running next to each other). On reflections, this may have made me run some extra distance, but it also slowed me down at the start, preserving energy for the end.
Portsmouth and Southsea have a fantastic historical past and the route really does its best to showcase this. To be honest, I totally missed some of these. At the most famous, HMS Victory, I was waving at the TV camera on the other side of the road.
The route was lined with happy cheering spectators and small children with Jelly Babies. Interestingly, this is about the only time you can take sweets away from Children without floods of tears being involved. Other points of note on the route was the live music from some really fantastic bands. The route also includes sections that allowed you to see runners in front or behind you. Just to reassure the mortal runners such as myself, the slower elites that didn’t get any TV coverage looked pretty shattered. If this wasn’t enough, there was three water stations and some cheer leaders which I didn’t notice in case my wife reads this.
With all this going on, the flat miles passed with ease, until you turned the corner for the final two along the Southsea promenade. Storm Brian was still around but he was no match for what the event organisers had next. An official Jelly Baby station. In the final 500m the crowd really started to increasing the volume helping you finish this truly Great Run. My time this year was 1:17:42. Next year I’m going in the elite wave. Honest.
Would I do it again? Without doubt. 21st October 2018 is booked already.
General items I had wondered about, that became clear during/after
Toilets: Yes, Tons. But never enough. Next time, don’t queue at the first block at the start. The race compound has another block.
Parking/Traffic: Loads, arrive early.
Pre-Race Freeze: Yes, It’s damn cold. Either take something to disregard or follow the lead from the seasoned pro’s with a customised rubbish bag or emergency foil wrap.
Bag drop: I didn’t use it as my personal support crew included provision for this, but appeared to be really quick and easy.
Goodie Bag: Oh yes. Medal, T-Shirt, Nutrition Bar, Flyers, Water, Emergency Foil Wrap
How fast do I need to be: If you want to win, 48 mins for males, 55 mins for females. Other positions are available as well as other race distances.
Duracell Bunny: Don’t start. It was a bloke in an orange t-shirt with a flagpole sticking out of a battery backpack. I felt totally cheated. He may have been wearing bunny ears, but frankly, it was lame compare to the advertised pink bunny.