Race Report by Brenda Lee
The “Real” Dave Lee works in Aldridge and after speaking to a colleague who is a member of Aldridge running club I took his recommendation to take part in their annual 10k. It clashed with Two Castles but as I have done that race more than once, decided a change was due.
The morning was bright and dry and the journey over was easy and traffic free. Dave has a parking spot near work (another bonus) but parking is available nearby and free. It’s only a short work to the race village.
Collection of numbers (very fancy bib number!), bag drop and information was all well organised and plenty of helpful, pleasant marshals to assist you. Enough port-a-loos but a kind marshal showed me where to go to use the “proper” toilets which was great.
I met up with Stuart and Kelli Sahan and we were soon off to the start. You are walked to the start line and the road literally closes as the 10k starts. There had already been a children’s race and a 5km so I guess it is an arrangement with the council to minimise disruption.
Overall the course was quite flat, lots of long straight roads which led us out of the village centre. We were advised that not all roads are closed so we were to stick to the paths and left hand side. This wasn’t an issue for me but I could imagine it being a little tricky up front with the faster runners. I have to say the locals seemed pretty tolerant and accepting of this disruption.
There were two short, steep hills though and at 5k we were back at the start. This is where the one and only water station was but an added bonus was that there were sponges being handed out which was a great addition as it had become quite warm despite the short drizzle of rain. For a moment I thought it was 2 laps and I had forgotten but then I realised the runners ahead were going in the opposite direction we went at the start. It is a kind of figure 8 course.
We then headed back out of the village and at 8k the marshals were “warning” us of “the hill”! I noticed that there were a lot of motivational comments on the road – great distraction but a little worrying. We were now in a lovely area of tree lined roads; the Greenway came to mind. However, it wasn’t obvious but it was a long, slow gradient and it was the toughest part of the course. No choice but to grit your teeth and get to the end. The 9k marker soon appeared and before long so did the 400mtrs left to go. We turned into a field, rear of the cricket club, and the finish was there. However, we had to do a lap of the field first – Arden 9 sprang to mind. Some great support and the race were done.
Our reward was a huge medal, nice tech t-shirt, drawstring goody bag with water, milkshake, chocolate bar, pen, and key ring. Oh and mustn’t forget a beer token (soft drink for under 18s and non-drinkers). Just to add to this the t-shirt was “Sky Blue” and the bag “Massey Red”!
There was a burger van, pizza stall, ice cream, sweets and drinks all in the race village and a lovely post race feel.
The marshals were all brilliant, really supportive and cheery. I thought it was a lovely route, great value for money at £15.75. The date is already set for next year and entries are open. I haven’t checked but there may even be an early bird offer.
Two highlights for me were arriving to see the children who had taken part in their race proudly walking around with their medals. It is wonderful to see youngsters enjoying the amazing sport of running. To see parents cheering their children on and then the children cheering their parents on, is a special thing. The option of a mixture of races really gives the opportunity for a family day out.
The other highlight was the last runner coming in. The tail cyclist and other marshals who had finished their duties were coming in alongside the last runner and the cheers as he crossed the line were fantastic. The photographer then took a photo of the last and first runner together with all the marshals – brilliant – true sporting spirit.
I would imagine that Aldridge is not a large running club and I have since read that they don’t take part in the race as the priority is for them to fulfil all of the volunteer roles of this race. In fact they broke with tradition and actually had one club member taking part in the race and that is because she won her place by designing this year’s medal! We are lucky to have such a big club that we can not only hold our races but also take part.
Cathy Keay, who did this race in 2018, said to me “it’s a good race, run by runners for runners”. She was absolutely right and I would love to see a large group of red and white at this race next year to support this committed club.
Stuart, Kelli and I all enjoyed the event and said we would do it again. I want to thank Kelli for the lift home, which again was trouble free. The “Real Dave Lee” had jobs as “D-I-Y Dave” to get back for!
Recommend it? If you managed to read to the end of this report I think you already know the answer.