City of Birmingham 10k/5k

I’ll start this race report with a quick confession. Although I was originally entered into the 10k, the injury to my left foot meant that I ended up running the 5k fun run. The 10k event consisted of two laps of the standard Sutton Park course, I only completed one lap.

The City of Birmingham 10k run is a new event in the West Midlands running calendar and is organised by UK Triathlon. A few years ago, most weekends I could have entered a 10k race in Sutton Park . For some reason there are now far fewer events so this race is a welcome addition.

Race Entry and Registration

I entered back in July via the UK Triathlon website and paid £15 (affiliated rate) to enter the 10k. I think this is very reasonable for a race that is Run Britain registered and takes place on a traffic free course. After registering I received regular email updates and reminders. There was no way I was going to forget about this event!

My only minor complaint was the lack of option to have my number sent out to me. With the exception of the London Marathon I’ve never had to register for an event in person. Luckily as I live next to the park I was able to register and collect my number and timing chip the day before the event. I was also able to swap from the 10k race to the 5k fun run. After collecting my number I was handed some goodies and a couple of energy gels.

finish tunnel

The calm before the storm

The Course

A few years ago the majority of 10k events held in Sutton Park followed a standard 10k route around the park. Now most events seem to use a standard 5k loop with 10k events consisting of two laps around the same loop.

I have no idea why the course has changed, but it’s a shame that races don’t incorporate more of Sutton Park. I suspect that the old route used to create too much disruption to other users of Sutton Park. I personally dislike completing one lap and knowing that I have to complete another identical lap.

As with all courses in Sutton Park there are plenty of inclines! The City of Birmingham 5k/10k route is relatively challenging as the first two kilometres are downhill, the third kilometre is undulating, the fourth kilometre incorporates ‘Three-Stage Hill’ and the final kilometre is mostly uphill towards the Jamboree Stone.

The Race

The weather on the morning of the race was perfect, always a massive positive.

park

Perfect weather, I love Sutton Park

My left foot was unfortunately feeling far from perfect, so I decided to take it steady with the option of stopping if required. The organisers tried to get people to start in the appropriate area with faster runners behind the lead vehicle and not so fast runners towards the back. I positioned myself 3/4 of the way back which meant that it took me a couple of minutes to cross the line. As the race was chip timed I wasn’t concerned about the delay in crossing the start line.

I soon realised that I had started too far back and that the course was really congested. I spent the majority of the first two kilometres weaving in and out of people walking in the middle of the path and other park users. My first two kilometre splits were 6:46 and 6:39 not very good considered the first two kilometres are downhill. The third and fourth kilometres passed by in a blur. I purposely avoided stopping at the drinks station as I didn’t want to stop running. I was a lazy moo and walked up the majority of Three-Stage Hill, I just didn’t have the willpower to attempt my nemesis hill. The final uphill kilometre was the fastest, an indication that I had started far too slowly.

The Finish and Medal

I staggered across the finish line, a race marshal took a note of my number, I removed my timing chip, was handed an impressive medal and was offered the choice of a cup of water or orange High5. I decided that water was the safest option. We were handed a goody bag at registration so I was out of the finish area in less than a minute. No hanging around and no fuss, just the way the finish of a race should be.

medal

Excellent bit of bling!

The Aftermath

After finishing I hobbled back to the Tennis Club and knew that running hadn’t been sensible. My left foot was twice the size of my right foot and I could hardly walk. I spent the majority of Sunday afternoon icing my foot and trying to avoid walking. It is now Wednesday and my foot is still sore, luckily I will be able to visit my sports physio tomorrow afternoon. I have come to terms with the fact that I probably won’t be doing much in the way of running for the remainder of the year. Shit happens and life goes on.

Races Photos & Results

As I always travel to races alone and unfortunately don’t have a willing unofficial photographer, I always like to see the official race photos. The official race photos were quickly available via The Event Photographer on Monday morning.

This is where I will have a moan… I managed to track down four decent(ish) photos of me running towards the finish line.

finish grid

Please don’t sue me!

I thought about purchasing one of the photos as a digital download, then I spotted the price. It would cost me £18.00 for a full-res JPEG on CD-ROM (what happened to email?) and the same for a 10*8 print. No offence but these prices are a joke. I can’t imagine that many people will pay those prices which is a shame as there were quite a few first time runners taking part.

My second issue is with the official race results. There was a slight delay in the results being published which isn’t a problem. There was an issue with timing team, these things happen. What I don’t understand is how my official time can be 36:44 when my garmin recorded my time as 33:48. The results have every competitor as starting/crossing the line at 10:00 so I suspect that the results are gun times rather than individual chip times.

The Verdict

Would I recommend this event to other runners? Yes!! I suspect that this event will become a regular fixture in the West Midlands running calendar. I believe that entries for 2015 will soon be available. The timing of the event is perfect for people training for the Great Birmingham Run.

Random Photos

flags

The finish

start

Waiting to start

sign

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