Monday, 25 March 2013

Cranleigh 15/21 Race Review

On Sunday I ran the Cranleigh 15/21 Tortoise and Hare race. It's a very cheap race, only £10 if you're affiliated, quite mall (about 1000 runners) and good in terms of distance and timing for marathon practice but I was not impressed.

The pre race instructions in the mail were rather commanding and unfriendly, but I'm sure they meant well. There wasn't a route map included and the online route maps weren't particularly good. There were none available in the race HQ for spectators/supporters which was a pity. However signs to the car parks were good, parking was free, and the race HQ and start and finish lines were quite close together. Always a good thing after a cold race.

The race brief said that there would be refreshments in the race HQ but given that proceeds from these were meant to go to charity it was beyond belief that there was no one to serve prior to the event. We ended up having to help ourselves, for free. No queues for loos though.

The start line was confusing and briefing couldn't be heard from the middle backwards despite the use of a megaphone. I only knew we'd started because the pack started surging forwards. There's no chip timing at this event, which accounts for the cheapness, so in order to ensure you are running to time you have to make a best guess at when to start your running watch. Yes this race has a time constraint which I found difficult to overcome mentally. I ran 16 miles without issue a week and a half ago but the knowledge that if I didn't reach the 15mile mark in 2:45 I wouldn't be allowed to continue, made for a completely different mental approach and resulted in the race being less enjoyable.

In the event I reached the check point with 3 minutes to spare but then had to bow out anyway due to impending injury. The route was on undulating country lanes, for the most part. One 9mile lap then 1 or 2 6mile laps depending on which distance you were going for. As I was towards the back of the pack I was getting lapped on the 6mile lap by faster runners finishing the 21mile distance, never fun, but such is life. The drinks stations were plentiful and even had lucozade at some which I thought was a nice touch for such a small event. The mile markers obvious but the one section through the town wasn't confusing as it obvious where we were meant to go. Marshalls could have given a bit more direction when runners were more spread out. But I did appreciate them being there in the bad weather. It snowed, all be it lightly, all race and it was pretty cold.

The finish line was well marked and you funnelled yourself according to which distance you'd just finished as medals were marked accordingly. There was a cup of squash or water for you but no other refreshment. Again, reflective of the price paid. It was good value for the distance but I definitely wouldn't do it again. The pressure of the time limit made it mentally tough and I thought it wasn't especially well organised.

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