Barry Island is probably most famous for the TV series Gavin & Stacey, well give it a while and that will be forgotten but the way they put on this event will soon take over and be the talk of the town.
I registered earlier in the year for this event and booked a weekend hotel as this is a beautiful part of the country and my family and I have been there many times and love the place and when i said we were going back everyone was over the moon, even my mum wanted to join us too.
I got plenty of emails regarding the event and parking for the day which helped me with my preperation and i knew exactly where i wanted to be at what times, with checking out of hotels etc.
Then an interesting tweet and email was recieved to say that ex olympic runner Iwan Thomas was going to be entering the race and Healthspan, a race sponsor would donate £10 for everyone who finished ahead of him, i couldn't, i wouldn't not a chance, but out of interest what times he aiming for????
A few tweets later and he said he was going for 46 minutes, 3 minutes quicker than my PB, should i, could i, no its too warm, i've done alot in July lets take it easy and just enjoy it.
But getting to Barry Island on the Saturday i felt nervous and wasn't sure why, we went to the town and had a walk round to scope the place out and find out whats what, the family ate chips, i nicked a couple lol
The morning of the race and the alarm went off early, we checked out the hotel and drove to the car park which was busy but not full and got our space, runners everywhere, i stood by the car in my trainers, shorts and jacket zipped up, "why are you wearing a jacket" my wife asked "is boiling, are you crazy", i'm not 100% about running in vests and am a little body shy of my "girly arms" so kept it on until i was ready.
We walked down to the seafront and there were hundreds of people, we sat on a bench, and the megaphone guy said what start times and what colour bibs needed to be where, it was very helpful.
I went into the pen and we all shuffled forward, passing my jacket to my wife, i stood there and looked around thinking, its not so bad, i dont look out of place, no one here looks like what i'd picture a runner to be, everyone was different and thats why i like running.
The horn sounded and the wheelchairs were off, then Iwan Thomas counted us down too, oh yes i forgot about him, nerves kick in some more now, 3...2...1....go and we're off, round the corner out of the town, seeing my family and high fiving my son, a long road and up a slight incline the course was good and it was hot, a few more hills than expected and a few tough parts where a 5 second breather was needed, but i kept going through the crowd and maintaining a steady pace, supports everywhere, locals were out and not a part of the course felt lonely, halfway through was a water station and was just at the right point too, up a big hill, round a corner and back onto the seafront, pushing myself, cheering on others around me, but 300 yards i needed to catch my breath again when someone said "keep going", i looked up and saw the finish and went for it, the support at the finish was amazing, cheering and shouting everywhere as i sprinted with energy i didnt realise i had, past 1, 2, 3 maybe 6 or 7 i dont know but it felt like i had turned into the Flash
Over the finish line to collect my medal, t-shirt and much needed water, as i was met by my family, i turned the corner and started to walk away from the finish line to see Iwan Thomas coming towards me and his tent, i quickly asked for a selfie, it was great, shook his hand and he said well done.
My wife told me he had finished before me but that he had started before me too, he had a time of 48:16 and i waited eagerly for my time to come through and still a day later am smiling as i finished in 48:05, 11 seconds ahead of him, the event had said anyone who beat Iwan would get a t-shirt saying #ibeatiwan on it too which i will await, but we then went off to the race village for food and to relax.
I'd say this is one if not the best event i have done so far, great support, beautiful place to run and really well organised too, i would highly recommend this event, especially if you get the chance to beat an olympic athlete lol
Posted on 06.08.18
I entered all my races earlier in the year and booked them up for each month, my family had decided to stay at home for this event and i had to go out on my own, not knowing anyone that was going to be racing apart from people i had spoken to online, the pre race packs and emails had given lots of information about parking and tariffs so i had my mind set on a certain car park, close enough to stagger back to afterwards so i set out early on the sunday morning, i drove along and arrived at the car park along with other runners that were all parking up too.
I took a stroll down amongst other runners towards to event village and start line, spotting visors and racecheck logos everywhere.
Now this was only my second ever half that i had ran and i was a little nervous with being alone and a bit of a way from home but seeing the racecheck visors gave me hope that i'd be ok and i started chatting to a few.
The race village was easy to find and had all amenities that were needed, we had a few photos and then everyone made their way to the start line, unfortunately tohe start was delayed by 40 minutes and the megaphone they used wasn't clear so we were unsure as to why and a number of rumours started spreading round the start line, but we got going and the support from the locals was great, along the streets and out into the country with supports still scattered around, it was a little hilly in places but a good challenge and climb.
The organisers had put out extra water stations and they were definately needed, although the small plastic cups weren't that easy to manage whilst runnning especially with electrolites rather than water at times, got in a sticky mess, but again the support and locals were great, bringing out hosepipes and children with water guns to cool down the runners, even a shop owner handing out energy drinks as we passed before finding the firebrigade with the sprinklers on too.
The run was nice and managable until towards the end and the local parks seemed to be in the glaring sun without shade, the final mile was a killer and it took its toll until finally getting some shade and out of the park to turn the corner and see the final stretch, a small sprint with whatever energy i had left and a massive crowd to greet the finishers.
Upon crossing the finish line we were to join a queue to collect more water, a banana (no thanks, food of the devil) our medal and finshers t-shirt, once collected i composed myself under the trees in the shade and waited for feloow #visorclub members to finish and saw faces i knew and had seen on the course.
Back to the event village to collect my bag which was very quick, efficient and well ran by the local cub scouts.
overall a great event and great fun, best of all i got to meet more racecheck members and discuss running more with like minded people.I'd definately recommend this event
Posted on 06.08.18
A local event that had brought alot of arguments online before it even started, race sponsors Mattioli Woods Plc had put together goody bags for the first 1000 entries, after that the race entry fee was still the same but no goody bag and the race organisers said that it wasn't down to them but sponsors instead caused alot of dispute.
The race number came through a week or so before but a friend who had to collect his on the day said that it wasn't very organised and confusion when collecting numbers.
We stood waiting for the event to start and a man walked through the runners blowing a whistle saying the start had been delayed 10 minutes, no reason why and didn't entertain questions either.
The race started to alot of surprise as people further back down the pack didn't hear anything or a horn go off, people just started running and we knew we were off.
The course was brilliant and some fantastic views across Leicestershire, starting with a big incline and a test of calf muscles.
The course would weave through the small town, via a housing estates, onto a main road and back through the houses again before into the countryside and back round for a second loop, a brilliant course and lovely route, some tough hills and inclines but a challenge to take on.
Another challenge was some of the locals who didn't appreciate the runners about and still insisted on driving around despite over a thousand people taking up the roads.
Whilst running up a hill in a pack of runners a bus tried to come down the hill, overtaking parked cars and other cars were then trying to overtake runners.
Overall a great run but let down by the safety aspect of it and the cars, closing roads for a couple of hours wouldn't have been rocket science.
The highlight of the race was the local support, so many running clubs and locals cheering people on, not at any point we're you alone, there were people everywhere cheering and supporting all runners, handing out sweets and showering runners with hoses a great display of local support that really helped to power up them inclines.
Posted on 19.06.18
My first ever main event and first Half, really enjoyed it, the organisers were very helpful and informative from registration and onwards, easy to ask questions on social media and great with help and advice from pacers in the build up to the event too.
We stopped over the night before and the organisers also helped with advising where to eat and relax the evening before for my family and me, the morning of the event we used the park and walk which I didn't quite realise was about 3.5 miles from the event, got to the stadium and the were Marshall's and signs everywhere to let me know where to be and where to go.
A fun fair and race village for my family whilst I was on the course and entertainment on a very hot day, I went to the start and the crowds of people were massive, not just runners but support too, and that didn't change throughout the route, the help, support and refreshments along the way were awesome, the community and people of Milton Keynes made this and amazing event that just got better and better.
With people you never met and didn't know cheering you on, local support singing and cheering for every runner, bands along the way and the super soakers and hose pipes were brilliant, jelly babies and water were handed out along most of the route and even at one point small cups of beer in the park.
A good route to which if anyone tells you that Milton Keynes is flat and full of roundabouts, well the organisers must have found the hills, there were a few and through the centre and along the roads were shaded areas to run in and shelter but a good idea to bring in water stations ever 3 miles.
A route that took us along dial carriageways, through shopping areas and main roads, all closed for us, then into the parks and tree surrounded by green grass and blue skies, the route was tough at times and the weather made it tougher but the people alongside me and along the route made it easier and helped me keep going, out of the parks and back on the dual carriageway, turning into a straight to see a McDonald's sign, I asked a spectator "is that the McDonald's by the stadium", he said "yes, down there and 600yards into the stadium" just as I thought my legs were going to break they felt like I was 18 again and a new lease of life, never felt so happy to see a McDonald's before and couldn't wait to get past it and into the stadium, passing McDonald's, hearing the music in the race village and the crowds were building again, round the corner, down the hill and I to the shade of the stadium, through the tunnel and I can see the pitch.
As you leave the tunnel and emerge into the stadium the crowds roar is even louder but to hear my son loduer than anyone shout " daddy, Go daddy Go" meant the world to me, the announcer was loud and clear and as I got my head down and powered through, grunting and groaning as I powered past the half a dozen people in front I heard him say about people and sprint finishing and knew that was me, I got round and threw my arms in the air as I crossed the finish line, caught my breath and walked round to collect some water and a goody bag before being informed that I needed to climb the stairs in the stadium onto the converse to collect my t-shirt and medal.
Climbing stairs, I was stood still in a line of runners and didn't think my legs would hold me let alone up the stairs but knowing how cool that medal looked I had to do it and managed my way up.
A great event and day out, brilliant route, I'll definitely be booking in for next year, I now have a target time to beat and would recommend anyone else wanting to do a half or full marathon then this is the one to try.
Posted on 14.05.18
A nice family fun run in a little town in North West Leicestershire, starting in the market place, registration begins and white t-shirts are given out, stalls with refreshments and powder paint are dotted around before a fun and enthusiastic warm up, we were taken to the start line between two tables of powder paint where volunteers awaited, ready to fill the air and our faces with colour.
The route would funnel us in straight from the start which was a shame and then across the main road in the town, which wasn't closed off, we then went up towards the local football club and around the local nature reserve and part of the natural forest, around a few corners and turns and past a few more check points with alot more paint, the streets become covered in colour, we then went down towards the town again, having to cross another main road and around another local park, passing my house on the way lol, the park had another paint station where we were covered in another colour to add to the many that had already stained our t-shirts and were in our hair, we ran out of the park and into the town centre, having to wait at the centre and the crossing for the green man, we ran up past the library and out of the centre of the town having to cross multiple roads that weren't closed and some un-marshalled, past the council building and taking a turn into the town's main park, where more volunteers would splatter us with powder paint, that much you could see it a mile off, and across the finish line, treated by a water station and a medal.
The park had local bands playing live music, beer & prosecco tents, sweet lorry's and then a Zumba paint party too, as we came across the finish line there was an announcer calling out numbers and spurring people on, people again funneling in as soon as they finished and stopped right in front of other runners.
As more runners finished the park turned into a party and the Zumba paint party started, a great day out and a good family run.
It is only a little town and only the second run, they are learning and progressing, there are things they can improve on but overall a great day, fun for all the family and ideal for beginners and a way to just enjoy running rather than chasing PB's.
I ran it with my 5 year old son and my wife and we all enjoyed it, felt we had support along the way and are all different abilities, overall a good place to start for runners and a little town.
Posted on 21.01.18
A great event, really well set up, there were lots of posts and tweets about the event in the days and weeks leading up to the event, the event organisers were very good at communicating and answering questions.
The event itself started at a school in Nottingham and had ample parking and facilities, registration was very quick and easy, very well organised.
The only thing missing was probably a group warm up for everyone to join in with but I warmed myself up and stretch, making sure my current knee injury was looked after properly.
We were then told to go to the start line which ran alongside the tram line but when the organisers were talking it was a little difficult to hear with general noise.
The race began and was a good pace, well marshalled with positive people cheering us along the way, maybe the Marshall's needed markers so you knew how far had gone.
The course followed the Trent and looped back in itself and at times seeing familiar faces was an incentive to pick up the pace, we went underneath and past the Nottingham Forest football ground (no goals being score there lol) and back along the Trent, it was a lovely course but I imagine alot are similar countrywide.
The finish was very well structured with a long straight so you could see it coming and race the teams back to the line, the organisers were on the microphone commentating as people were finishing and a photographer was snapping away down the home straight, there was then a short walk back to the school to collect you water and medal.
The event had stalls and stands for physio's and other events upcoming, which to be honest I think I will look to join in and give a go.
Normally this would be a virtual run but today was an annual live event and was great fun, brilliant for people getting into running and without the confidence to enter a big event and also the price was alot lower too.
A great morning and fun being had by everyone, even when the email came through with times and photos it has been good, I'd recommend it to anyone starting out and looking to get into events but doesn't want to mix with elite athletes and ultra runners.
Posted on 14.01.18