Well... Where to start! The Run Bolton Abbey event was new to the racing calendar. It was held on the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales, and for those that have been there, will know that it is a stunning location. The registration process was nice and easy along with pre race information that was sent out. So, I woke up on the Sunday and opened the curtains - the sky was blue as far as you could see and the sun was shining, however, it was bitterly cold!!! I arrived at Bolton Abbey nice and early, collected my race number, and then went back to the car to warm up! Closer to the start time, I took in the atmosphere as they had a DJ playing in the back of converted Land Rover which was pretty unique. Unfortunately, the start was delayed by 15 minutes due to cars not being able to get into the estate. The entrance is a single track lane so people would need to give themselves plenty of time. Speaking of which, entry to the Bolton Abbey Estate coats £10 per car, but runners were allowed to park for a reduced rate of £7.50. Personally, I would have thought that runners could either paid as little as £5 or even got in for free. I can gurantee that the Estate doesn't have that many people there at 09:30 on a Sunday morning so they will have made a pretty penny from the event...! (Maybe thats just the Yorkshireman in me).
Due to it being on Remembrance Sunday, the start time was due to be 11:02. Every single person there observed the Last Post and minutes' silence impeccably.
The race itself! I have been running for 2.5 years now, and this is right up there as one of the most scenic runs I have done. (The North Yorks Moors, Sherwood Forest and Kielder Water come close). The 10k runners gathered on the start line and they were off - right across a narrow bridge which meant you had to walk about 200 yards after starting. Up you went into the woods where it opened out a little - until you hit another bridge!! The first mile took 18 minutes to complete. I knew this as I had the chance to talk to fellow runners and take some pictures as we were just stood... Finally, we were moving again. When you managed to get a pace, the scenery was beautiful. Runners were laughing and joking with each other and the race had a good feel about it. We then started to head downhill off the moors towards the Estate again where we were met with a style over a wall..... And about 50 runners waiting to cross. Some took matters into their own hands and just jumped over the wall, ran down the hill, then crossed over a gate back into the correct field. At last, some flat to run on. Along the river and through a couple of fields, we were back into the woods on the flat heading to the finish line. The support at the start and finish was fantastic, along with a great medal too.
There are lessons to be learnt from this event, and this has already been taken on board by the organisers as they have emailed all participants this week apologising for what went wrong.
1) They understood they should maybe have started the race in waves.
2) They apologised as the lead runners did an extra 1k due to a farmer closing and locking a gate that was open for the race.
3) They admitted they wrongly assumed that runners would be well spread out by the time they reached the styles.
The email went on to say that the organisers "apologise and can assure runners that lessons have been learnt".
On final point to add.... It was advertised as a Trail race, but I'm pretty sure it was a Fell race, and I'm not the only one to comment on this. If you do decide to enter next year - it is tough!!! But worth it..
Posted on 14.11.17