First up I guess current state of training - ran 10 x km off a 100 jog to see if target pace for Reading was achievable. Ran roughly a 3:18/19 average exactly as planned so very pleased with that and felt relatively relaxed. Considering I'd had a long lunch and day at work it's good. Certainly since starting to work full time I've found track sessions are definitely a touch slower than before - that said tonight I was very much in control and chatting to people as I was going around. Looks like setting off at 5:20 is a goer.
So- as I said I'll be doing frequent race reviews on here - full disclosure I'm indirectly involved in Thames - is run by my second claim club chasers but I'll mostly try to be impartial. The organisers last time around seemed happy enough with my review despite the irreverent tone so I'll continue as before.
Thames 20 - Race or Pace
Entry for the Semi-Serious
This year - very simple entry online system. Last year I didn't know about the race until the week before and I was "squeezed" in - so top marks on that front and were very approachable. Was very simple to pick up the number on the day. Very early start though!
Pushing to the Front
Pace groups are easily set out so you get a nice clear run. Absolutely perfect and almost everyone seemed to line up in roughly the right one. The one thing is that due to council regulations etc. you have to run the first mile at around 7 minute miling which isn't great but then the race isn't super serious anyway! Here's a photo of me and the 7 minute mile group starting last year...
So "Undulating" Means F:!@:##! Big Hill, Twice
Course is straight out along the Thames and straight back all on the towpath this year (last year there were a few diversions). I actually really like this sort of course but I know it's not to everyone's tastes. You won't run a really super fast time as it's along the towpath, rough aggregate worn away and gravelley stuff - you probably lose a few seconds a mile. This year I really felt the wind coming back though. The course was also marginally long by ~200m - not a huge issue in a non-certified/measured race.
Was Anyone Else Running Out There Today?
Nice big official pace groups so you get plenty to run with at your target pace - more races should do this! In terms of the pointy end it was a much quicker race this year with the course record being dropped by about 10 minutes. If you're in one of the target pace groups (7, 7:30, 8, 8:30 etc.) - then you'll have plenty of company. If you're much faster than that you could end up on your own for part of the race.
3000 runners at £20 a pop less £4 for the Winners Trophy....
£8 for entry - in miles per pound that's definitely better than most! (if a race is less than a £1/mile I think that's good value as a rule of thumb). Gatorade set out at miles 5,10 and 15. Lots of cakes at the finish. Definitely VFM. In terms of the winners prizes they've taken the trouble to arrange vouchers which is much appreciated and given the low cost of the race is very reasonable.
Movie Time (AKA - The Big Picture)
Pleasant early morning race. If you're hyper serious about running an official 20 mile PB this probably isn't the one but if you're looking for a friendly 20 mile hard training run/off-road race this is absolutely perfect. The cheers from the guys going the other way are much appreciated as well. Definitely a good race so it's getting a Race for Runners Bronze award. It's a great race and good value for money - for a training run last year huge steps have been made forward.
Race for Runners Award (Bronze)
Link to Clapham Chasers Site
Entry for the Semi-Serious
Race isn't until mid-May but is already filled up. Fair enough must be doing something right. The course record is 68:57 - now I don't mind if I sent an email to GNR, London, GSR etc. asking if they had a place and they blew me off - they're bloody huge races with top class runners. Unfortunately the big ones are always courteous and it's the little ones that are often small minded, petty and rude. I sent a polite email enquiring if they kept back any places for the sub-elite (yes - I know I'm crap in the big scheme but when the course record for a half marathon they claim is fast is less than a minute faster than my best then in relation to the status of the race I'm not that bad) explaining that I'm in good shape and would be looking at hopefully taking a shot at the course record.
So I get back an a fairly rude rejection email explaining to me (as I'm clearly slow) - "The race is FULL. There is no reserve list." - you know when they're using CAPITALS, BOLDING IT and UNDERLINING IT they really think you're too stupid to get the message.
I'm a little surprised at this as Ranelagh are always friendly and are a well-established club but clearly there's not much of a thought for trying to put together a half-decent field for the race. Therefore the race gets my first...
REAL RUNNERS RUN FROM THIS RACE AWARD
(bolded, capitalised, underlined and italicised to really explain the message).
Okay- now this has really annoyed me - the tickets are being sold and ballots are being operated - perfect. Unfortunately people don't know what tickets they are going to get when they pay for them! The money is being taken before you know which tickets you have (they can literally take several thousands pounds for a month and give you no tickets). For me - this doesn't make a huge deal.
For some of the people from Newham, Tower Hamlets - the guys who have been really paying for the Olympics with council tax and all the disruptions and a lot of whom aren't particularly rich - if they want to guarantee themselves tickets they need to book a lot of different events, pay for all of them, and still potentially not get any tickets. This really disappoints me and seems so badly organised.
Huge thumbs down for this.