Monday, 28 April 2014

Race Review: Electric Run

I think I might be becoming a running snob. Quick poll: If an event has the word “run” in the title would you expect to be able to run it?

The Electric Run is a night time event that takes place in cities all over the world. For around £35 you get access to a 5km course full of music, lights and colour, a cotton t-shirt (in men’s and ladies cuts and sizes), an LED bracelet and “glowglasses” as well as a finish line after party. It’s a bit like a rave crossed with a race… except this very definitely is not a race. This is an “experience”.
Alex enjoying a cheeky pre-race cocktail.
Alex and I took part in the London event which was held at Wembley Park on a bitterly cold Saturday 26th April. I swallowed hard as I paid my entry fee. For a 5k course this felt expensive. It started to feel even more expensive the closer it got to the day, as race packs were not posted out in advance and it was publicised that if we could collect our packs from either Covent Garden or Wembley in the two days before then we would be charged a £5 “convenience fee” for the privilege of collecting them on the night. 

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to collect in advance so joined a very long, cold and slow-moving queue on the night. After an hour we got to the front of the line. My fingers were numb and it felt like they should have been paying us for the inconvenience. To their credit we weren’t actually charged. Maybe they’d given up by that point.
Being on a tube that’s slowly gathering more and more people dressed in race attire is a lot of fun, even more so when that attire consists of as many neon and day-glo colours as you can shake a glowstick at. Tutu’s, face paints, shutter shades, mirror caps and multi-coloured onesies… it was all there. The sight of us all parading to the start village was one to behold.
Partying in the race village
There’s a laid-back feel to the event. We arrived at Wembley Park around 8pm so it was all in full swing. The start and finish lines were in the same place as those for The Colour Run last year and were quite similar in makeup. There were merchandise, food and drink stalls in the start area and a big stage hosting DJs where you could party afterwards. The start time is all a bit laissez-faire with participants being sent off at 5 minute intervals from around 8:30. You just turn up, crowd into the start pen and get slowly herded and shuffled to the front, pacified by dance music and showered with glow sticks every now and again. Groups are encouraged (teams of 4 get a discount on the entry fee) as are kids (under 7’s go free) and prams are allowed. Keep the dog at home though. You can enter for charity and being able to run certainly isn’t a necessity. Walking, skipping, dancing are all encouraged. Lots of people seemed to be there for a good old party rather than with any intention of moving with any speed. I’d almost go as far as to say running is DIScouraged.
Ready to run...
So. Race pack collected, cotton t-shirt hastily donned over running top and under “warm layer”, we got as close to the middle of the herd as we could in an attempt to stay warm. By 9:30 we were finally at the start line! One more countdown and we were off! Sort of! It was impossible to run in the first 200m and not much easier after that. The course wound around the stadium (who knew you could run 3 miles just around the stadium?) but was so crowded that it made me quite anxious. Lots of people had lost some of their colourful clothing in favour of the black event t-shirts which made bodies hard to see. I was worried about losing Alex, tripping over a child or accidentally barging into someone who might decide to glass me. It really did feel like being at a rave that some people were trying to escape from. Now I had no intention of racing, getting a PB or any of that sort of thing, but I had wanted to run, or at least jog. I did want to take in the sights and sounds of the course, enjoy the atmosphere and take photos, but at a speed above walking pace. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations? I really enjoyed the periods of time when we could run, even if we had to dodge people constantly. The “worlds” of colour were fun but also crowded as most people stopped to take photos. This was an issue right at the end too where most participants seemed more interested in taking pictures of each other BY the finish line rather than crossing it.
The start area
Out on the course
One of the "worlds"... this one was actually very cool.
Now despite all that I did have fun. There was music all the way round the course which was excellent. I grinned a lot. We took photos, boogied and warmed up around mile 2. As with many 5k events it was over far too soon. Had it been warmer or earlier I think we’d have hung around to rock out in the after party but at 10:30 and with a 45 minute tube journey ahead of us we decided to head home.

My verdict: I’m glad I took part but I wouldn’t do it again. Go for a party, but don’t bother going to run.

No comments:

Post a Comment