Sunday February 7th 2016 – Greenwich park 5k/10K by ‘Runthrough’ review by Paula Young
6am on a Sunday morning does not exist to many. It does however in the Young household on a frequent basis due to an aging incontinent dog and a daughter who wakes early, so an early start was no hardship.
The train journey was straightforward on the C2C to Limehouse and DLR to the Cutty Sark. You can however tell that we are not commuters because we arrived one and a half hours early with no other runners to be seen!
Registration was at the Pavilion which involved walking up a mahoosive hill which ran behind the Royal Observatory…more on the hill later!
Registration was easy and unsurprisingly as we were so early there were no queues. The race numbers were issued along with a baggage drop number and a disposable timing chip. Safety pins were readily available. It was the speediest baggage drop and collection I have ever seen. Toilets were situated about 250m from the start and had been opened up for the runners to use for free, usual cost 20p (more on that later!).
Due to the cold, we left the stripping off of our winter warmers until the last possible moment and were still fecking freezing!
There was the option for a 5K or 10K race. 150 runners opted for the 5K and 350 for the 10K. We had fun guessing beforehand which person was running which, only to find out that most of our guesses were wrong (never judge a book by it’s cover!).
The 5K runners started off at 10:00am from the finishing line and the 10k runners slightly further back at 10:05am. The 5K runners had to run one and a half laps of the course and the 10K runners unsurprisingly three laps! This did concern me as my sense of direction is terrible and I couldn’t bear to run anything over and above 10K. Fortunately the course was really well marshalled and this wasn’t an issue. The park was open to other users.
Having been to Greenwich park before we thought there would be a chance that the course might not be flat but it had been difficult to ascertain from the aerial photograph on the website exactly where the route would be.
The course consisted of running along the paths around the park. I love Greenwich Park and really loved seeing all the buildings and scenery. The sun came out for the duration of the run and there was only a mild breeze as you ran along in front of the Maritime Museum.
It was not until the race began that we realised that the hideous, mahoosive hill which we had just walked up was part of the course and we would have to run up it not once, not twice but three times! What goes up must come down and there was also a massive run downhill. The person who created the course clearly had a sense of humour as the last 1k of the race was going up that very hill, B******!
The marshals could learn a thing or two from the woman marshalling near the ruins at Southend parkrun #172 as they were not the most encouraging. However, the compere was excellent and very enthusiastic and funny and a nice touch was that he called out everyone’s name as they crossed the finishing line.
At the start of the race feeling pretty confident I said to Neil “Go at your own pace, although we often train together a race should be a race and we should go at our own pace” clearly thinking (and before realising about the hill) that I was onto a winner (not that I am competitive in any way!) and smugly set off quickly. About 5 minutes later the old sod whooshed past, I managed to take him going downhill only to be left for dust for the remainder of the race!
What can I say about the hill….well, I took great comfort from the fact that the noises being made by the man behind me indicated that he was suffering far more than I was! Neil reported that there were mutual moans from runners whilst running up the hill. Quite frankly I didn’t have the puff left to moan so big respect to them!
Marshalls were strategically positioned at the top of the hill to hand out bottles of water after laps 1 and 2.
I remember having the biggest grin on my face as I crossed the line which grew even bigger when I saw the homemade flapjacks (I mean Neil’s smiling face!). Flapjacks, water and bananas were readily available. Other runners were keen to chat at the end which was lovely. Incidentally we did have to pay 20p in order to get freshened up in the toilets at the end of the race (classy!) but we didn’t mind as we had pinched an extra banana and flapjack each!
The medal looked bigger on the website! It was however quite a nice bit of bling with a picture of the Royal Observatory in the background. The same medal was given to both 5K and 10K runners.
This was Neil’s first race having only taken up running very recently. He ran a very respectable 51:49. The winner of the 5K ran it in 17:19 and the 10K in 36:43 (crikey!). I missed my PB by 9 seconds 53:38; we won’t mention that the distance came up slightly shorter than 10K!
Would we do it again…..there will always be a mahoosive hill to run three times but where else could you run and have the most delicious street food afterwards from Greenwich market and be able to visit the best shop with the most fabulous clothes and filthy hilarious greeting cards, hell yeah!