Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Event Review : Gloanna 2014

When you take part in as many events as I seem to it's nice to come across something a little different. Indeed that tends to be how I decide whether or not to enter things these days... is it a bit special? Gloanna is an event that falls into that category, for me. I took part last year with Anita and enjoyed it so much that I decided to enter again this year, this time with my mum.
Pre-run selfie
For the uninitiated, Gloanna is an event held in Battersea Park that consists of an untimed 5k run preceeded by a shot of prosecco, followed by a 45 minute yoga class, more prosecco, a sushi brunch, a massage if you're lucky enough to get a slot and rounded off with a goody bag to take away. They now have events in London and New York and this year have Sweaty Betty on board as a sponsor (or as my dad refers to them, "Frizzy Lizzy"... I prefer "Perspiring Elizabeth"). It's not cheap, at £41 for early bird with one glass of prosecco or £43 for two (if you were a very late entry you'd be paying £68/70 for the privilege), but I was swayed by the "experience" factor. As some folks on twitter pointed out, with parkrun and various free yoga sessions available in London you could buy a full bottle of prosecco, go hang out with your besties and save a stack load... but that's not the point for me.

Mum and I arrived at the park in good time and managed to avoid the worst of the rain. Bag drop was straightforward (lovely to see Bangs there helping out) and we had time to have a nose around before a very fun warm up and the start of our wave. Shot of prosecco knocked back and we were off! It was a joy to run without worrying about time and to run with my mum in an environment where she felt comfortable. We chatted to a few girls on the way round (I was persuading them to try a triathlon), danced through bubbles and got high fives from the police constables present. I wish I'd carried my phone to take pictures.
After the run we were handed some Vita Coco and had time to grab our yoga mats for the class which was mildly challenging but perfect for stretching out. I think we ended up having two helpings of Whey Hey and snaffled a couple of extra Bounce balls and Vita Coco's each as well as our lunch and prosecco. Basically we had a really lovely morning and some quality mother/daughter time. We didn't feel rushed at any point and felt really relaxed by the time we set off for home, apart from the moment when I realised I'd left my yoga mat against a tree and had to sprint back for it.

Lovely as our morning was, there are still things about the event that could do with being ironed out. During registration not only could you choose your start time (choice of three rather than two this year) but also choose one or two glasses of fizz and which level of yoga class you wanted to take part in. Only the start time was confirmed in the pre-event information and I'd completely forgotten about the other choices. As such when it came to claiming the fizz we couldn't remember whether we'd paid for one or two glasses. We were kindly given two anyway but that could perhaps have been resolved with a different wristband, or tokens included in the race pack. Apparently you could buy more prosecco on the day as well but we weren't made aware of this at the time and in any case we were rather put off by the very fierce girl behind the prosecco bar who reprimanded us for taking things at the wrong time.
Again with the yoga, I couldn't remember what level I'd signed up to but I didn't see any information on the day about different levels, the tents weren't labelled and we didn't know what time the classes started. We weren't allowed to collect our goody bags until we were about to leave but it wasn't explained to us why... turns out they take your wristband so you're unable to collect brunch or bags after that point.

But lots of plus points too! The DJ was very good and the food was lovely. There was lots of free Whey Hey protein icecream (I fancy having a try at creating something similar at home), Vita Coco coconut water (the new Latte one is LUSH) and Bounce Balls to be had. The goody bags were lovely and contained an event specific very in a choice of colours and sizes, a water bottle and pair of socks in a lovely bag all courtesy of Sweaty Betty. I did note that the price tags had been left on things so it did feel as though we got our money's worth.

I would still be tempted to do this again next year, despite the flaws I felt existed, and think it would be a great event for beginner runners to build confidence... if they can afford it.

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