Race Review: The BBC Running Club Regent’s Park 10K

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I really need to get back on it. With King (urgh!), Stones (sobs uncontrollably) and Punk Run (meh!) weighing on me I needed the next race to be better. I was hoping that the BBC Running Club 10K had everything I needed in a recovery race:

  • It is short, only a 10K
  • It is local, in Regent’s Park, 10 mins walk from my house
  • It is on paths, rather than multiple surfaces

Although the communication from the club from the off was a little odd. You sign up, but rather than for a specific race it reads like you are booking a session or an appointment with someone, and then you choose when that session is. The session time being the race. Also it was a midweek race (unheard of in my race calendar) and an evening race (a rarity).

You get a few interesting emails. This is a smallish field (according to the website max 130, but it was closer to 300) but there is no bag drop, although there could be one. I’ve had bag drops at races with 30 people before. We have a bag drop at my Park Run. It is just quite odd, lazy and TBH very BBC. You have to 1) not take a bag at all, but the races are at 6.30pm and therefore most people will be coming from work, with a  bag, with their work clothes in it, 2) leave it in the changing rooms at the HUB, that are open to the public, until they are locked, and only then for part of the race (until the first finishers come in) or 3) spend a £1 on a locker. I decided on going home first, and then just run with keys in my shorts.

The emails did include more information on post-race talks by Broadcasting House and the offer of £3 off a BBC Running Club vest. So you needed to bring money. Although the Race Director admitted in the email he tends to forget them so to remind him nearer the time.

The slight disorganisation made it felt like being absorbed into the organisation of a less popular show, maybe a radio show, with a long standing host, small but loyal aged audience and household known theme tune.

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“Dickie, they keep asking for somewhere to put their bags.” “Tell them to carry them, Clive. As I did when interviewing Harry Secombe in Up My Fringe in 1954”

The Route

As you can imagine I have raced Regent’s Park quite a few times, not least with the two runnings of the ZSL London Zoo stampede (same route, same medal) and the Nice Work Spring and Easter 10ks (same route, same medal)

 

 

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BBC1

It is very similar to the ZSL Route.

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BBC2

And exactly the same as the Nice Work (sic) races.

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BBC3 is now online only and BBC4 is now off air.

It is a route though, well known to me, but one that I haven’t raced for over 2 years, and I have not run over an hour for a 10K since January 2015 so am hoping for a good one this time. My confidence certainly needs it.

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Team UKRUNCHAT

As has been a feature for much of the year, in fact probably all of it as there were peeps I knew at the Winter Run back in January, there was a UKRUNCHAT presence with @CassLinda1, @RunningNettie and Birthday girl @_Jen_Mo in attendance.

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Should’ve worn my Hugh Hefner robe.

And when getting there the earlier email shambles seemed to be continuing with two guys giving you the numbers, the emailing guy not there, so when asking about the running vests 1. he looked in the wrong box (there were two, one with the words RACE VESTS in large letters, and the other clearly with tarpaulin and plastic bags in it), then 2. he didn’t know how much they were.

Still, I managed to get one, and for the discounted price offered, before the bags were locked away in the HUB and several hundred runners congregated. Oh, there was a safety pin shortage too. We were asked to donate to those who arrive late, and didn’t have enough.

And, as I looked around, this was a London race. There was the hip Run Dem Crew crowd, and a large one at that, Morningside Chasers, Serpies, Highgate Harriers, as well as Linda and Nettie representing Tring AC and St Albans Striders.

Three laps, one water table at the start finish, no timing chip (hence the £13 price), so gun time and after nearly tripping over one of the iron poles dug into the ground to make the finish tunnel we were off.

How Did I do?

It wasn’t as hot as my 20 miler at the weekend but I had just run across town to get there from work, it was after a day of work, and my lungs were feeling a little congested. Perhaps that was the humidity or pollen. Not sure. But others felt it too.

I started ok, realising my watch was set to miles rather than KMs, so was constantly working out the maths in my head before stopping at the toilets on the first lap. Here I lost time, walking into the toilets only to find that barriers and a pay turnstile had been fitted. I had cash on me, in my new snazzy OMM shorts, but only notes, not the required 20p. Oh well, that was a wasted journey.

pass

I then got back to it and just bimbled around really. My running fitness has clearly taken a hit whilst my other fitness has taken the forefront at the gym. I was labouring in my Ons (did I tell you I got new ones? Oh how exciting). And after the weekend my Achilles felt tight. I stopped at one point, and at that exact moment Jen “showbiz” Morris came racing by. Which was good, as I now had a pacer.

Now, before I continue two girls, short shorts, expensive gear, loved themselves a little too much, were using a strict run/walk strategy. They were young and the run was pretty fast. But annoyingly, and this is just me maybe, although others said the same thing, their walking in the middle of the path until you got level with them and then them running by you at speed chatting away, then catching up with them 50m down the path, was hella annoying. #justsaying

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Ok, so 57 mins, kept my sub-hour run going. I did stop at the loos for a couple of minutes, did stop to feel out my Achilles and did bimble, especially on lap 2. So I am ok with that, and that could probably have taken 5 mins off that if I was more inclined.

The Bling

Was okay to be honest, after this year’s craziness with the Caucus and the Punk run medals, this was absolutely fine and better than the other ones I got for running the same venue.

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Bling #111 present and accounted for
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Bling #111 Present and Accounted For  (that comment clearly a repeat)

In Summary

I was glad to get back to road and, after a conversation about the state of Beachy Head in October, am going to relish any chance I get to run on a flat, maintained surface. It was a well known route to me, and even though my time wasn’t great, I knew it could have been if a myriad of other factors had gone my way.

Would I recommend it? To be honest, if I was asked which of the races to do in Regent’s Park, the ZSL London Zoo stampede, the Nice Work series or this,  I may well say this. Despite a feeling of chaos in the organisation, and lack of proper timing, I thought it was well supported and had a good few hundred runners. The BBC element is good, they sell the vests and shirts, there was a photographer and a videographer, and the bling is nice. No goody bags, but what do you expect for £13.

Would I run it again? Probably not. I am limiting my races next year to marathons or above. But it was nice to run Regent’s Park and on path again.

NEXT UP:

The RAF MUSEUM SPITFIRE 10K

Epilogue

Oh, two other things happened.

One, walking out I felt something bite me on my elbow and now it is hot to the touch and swollen. Great. After the famous spider bite of a few years ago on the Thames Path that destroyed my calf and caused a lot of DNSs I am going to have to keep an eye on it.

And two, as we were all walking away, in search of hot chocolate, ice cream and post-race cake, a group of young kids walked past us with their parents. A young girl spotted Jen’s medal and excitedly said something along the line of “Olympics!” before running to tell the others. It made the evening.

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