Race Review: The Spitfire 10K RAF Museum Colindale, London

The Spitfire 10K RAF Museum Colindale, London: The 75th Commemoration of the The Battle of Britain

Anyone who reads my blog, and there are some who do, know I am not one for pulling punches. It is not to be mean or overly critical (unless you are the British 10K, in which case you deserve all the shit I can throw at you) but I want the best out of events or people or products and if they fall short I suggest where there is room for improvement.
I have had issues with Nice Work races before. At the Regents Park races I ended up getting the same cheap, bargain bucket bling, with no goody bag, or even bananas. They are well marshalled, or at least the Regents Park and Watford races were, but it all seemed very under par for the 25 pound entry fee. I did swear off Nice Work races and it wasn’t until I had already signed up for this one, based on what it is and where it was being held that I noticed they were the organiser. If I had seen that beforehand I would not have signed up and would have gone to the Richmond Running Festival instead.

But that aside, this was to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and, as I am a supporter of our armed forces past, present and future, I had to run it for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Location and Route
RAF Colindale is is North London 5 stops north of me on the northern line (a lot of north there) and was very easy to get to. It is the RAF Museum and has a superb collection of planes, helicopters and other artifacts for fans. I would highly recommend it as a place to visit if you and your little ones, or not so little ones, love their planes.
This was the first running of the Spitfire 10K and pretty soon after arrival I started to discover niggles that would need to get ironed out for me to recommend it, or do the unheard of an run it again next year.
  1. Toilets. There were only the cafe toilets for a field of 600 runners. Queues were long.
  2. Delays. The 9 o’clock start was delayed as the marshalls were not out on the course. Some of us had already completed our warmup when were told there would be a 15 minute delay minumum.
  3. Warmup. Despite the volume of his warmup, the guy who ran it couldn’t even warm me up enough to write this blog post let alone run a 10K.
  4. GPS. Whilst it was super cool to be under the Lancaster bomber for the speeches and warmup, we were in a hanger, a metal hanger and a lot of us had zero GPS signal. The Scramble! Chocks away! Start meant that some of us, and it was quite a few walked out and had to wait for signal before we started. I ended up starting pretty much last, letting the entire field go before my Nike+ kicked in.
  5. Route. Was awful. I am sorry, I want it to be great but it wasn’t. The museum isn’t actually that big, so the route was out of the museum then 8K out on the streets, none of which were closed and some were quite dangerous dual carriageways.
  6. Route 2. The marshalls hadn’t all done their job well. Some did, clearly, but several  of the kilometer markers (2 close by each other, one for each lap) were absolutely nowhere near the actual measurements. If I didn’t have my watch I would have been screwed.
  7. Route 3. The marshalls. Some of them were just not marshalls. They were on their phones or talking rather than cheering us on, pointing out the route etc.
  8. No outdoor loos on the route.
  9. One water table, at the entrance to the museum. I would have probably had one a little later.
Chocks Away

But all that aside, how did I do?

This was not a race for a PB, and I would have been 3 minutes away from that if the course had measured the 10K and not been 60M short. There was a motorway bridge to cross twice, and a few nasty dips that you needed to navigate. I also had to pick up the speed at the beginning as I started last and ran a 5 minute first kilometer to push myself through the crowd, not that it really matterd, as once you left the museum and were on the pavement there was a lot of bunching.

But, I tell you what, after a brisk 10K yesterday too I am happy my time and my run.

The Bling



For all my umming and ahhing about this race, and all my reservations about running a Nice Work race, the bling is amazing. It is bespoke, large, unique and I love it.

Reeeeeeeeeowwwwww! Duggaduggadugga! Bandits at 11 o’clock. On your tail, ginger!

In Summary


I did have the option of running the Kew Gardens 10K and in the end the start time, the closeness and the potentially fun venue won it for me. I am glad I did run it, but this was not really a useful test of my training as it was nowhere near a PB course.
Would I run it again? NO
Would I recommend it? If they could guarantee the bling and t-shirts then sure, if you like your planes. Not a fan of the course though.
 Thames Challenge (16 Bridges) 20K

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