I have gone back and forth with writing this post. How to write this race report and what exactly to say.
After a very early morning and a 1 hour drive I arrived ready for a 9 am start. There was no marshals out directing where to park, or any clear signs of where to park so as a result parking was a bit of a free for all. In fact I did wonder if I was in the right place given the complete lack of signs about anything. I spotted another runner and simply walked behind them, we wandered around aimlessly before finding an open door. Here I was told the race had already started, then I was told it was a 10 am start. Great I had more time to pass. Where was the start I asked? Don't know came the reply.
I stood outside and admired the view. There were 3 races happening. A 5km, a 10km and a half marathon. The half was supposed to be 2 laps of the 10km course. The 10km course was pitched as flat, the half marathon as undulating. The half we were told to wear trail shoes, the 10km road. Everyone was rather confused. No clear signs, no idea what time to start and no idea where to start from. People started heading down the hill, so that is where I went.
A few cones and a start flag were spotted and we started to congregate around them. 10.25 and still no sign of anyone in charge. 10.30 a white van pulls up and starts laying chip timing mats! 10.35 the word go is shouted and we start running.
A nice downhill start, followed by a run through the woods and uphill to 5km. Not trail shoes surface but still off road. 5km is a water station, with cups, followed by a nice flat/hilly [those little hills that are just slightly bigger than bumps] maybe wavy route before a steady downhill. Road running then started again before the turn into the drive to lead back up to the house. I do mean up!!
Here it all went a bit wrong. Up to that point there had been a person stood and pointing, not very enthusiastically I might add, to stop you from going wrong. The person at the top of the hill back in was lovely, friendly and encouraging. The 10K were going on to the finish line and we were to continue straight on. Then there was no one to turn us back round onto the loop, and no sign. Runners all over the place guessing which way to go. Was a slight nightmare. We got back onto the route to do it all over again.
Lots of the half runners stopped after 10km as the route was very hilly and they simply did not want to do it again. I must admit I thought about it. I have never known a race like that before. The start was eerily quiet. No cheering, no clapping, just the pounding noise of feet on concrete. Very weird. Everyone confused as to what was happening. Very little support from the marshals and whilst I appreciate they gave up there time, a well done would have been nice. Route was badly signposted. I had no idea which way to go and the mile markers just baffled me. Some where in km and others in miles. Finally when we did cross the finish line we were asked what race we had done to be given the right medal. Oh and the t shirts were only available in one size.
I was really disappointed with this race. I have put it down to a learning experience and moved on from it. To make it worse 2 weeks after running I discovered my medal in several pieces, the ribbon still on the hanger the rest all over the floor. Guess this one was just not meant to be!