Lee Valley VeloPark 10k – 29.8.20

Race Report by Claire Newman

Yesterday I took part in my first actual event since March 😱. Lisa and I headed down to the Lee Valley VeloPark to do a

RunThrough.co.uk 10k. Obviously it was massively exciting to be going to an event finally, , but we were also both really interested to see how all the Covid-19 measures would work in practice, and how different races would now ‘feel’.
We arrived and had no trouble parking right next to Velopark. the Velodrome itself was not open to participants, instead there were several portaloos (the cleanest I have ever encountered) and several tables with hand sanitiser and antibac wipes. There weren’t many people milling about which was surprising, I guess an effect of spreading the start times across the day and discouraging spectators.
The different distances all had different start times, and the distances themselves were separated into waves:
10am – Half Marathon Wave 1
11am – Half Marathon Wave 2
12pm – 10k Wave 1
1pm – 10k Wave 2
2pm – 5k & Kids Race
We were in the 10k wave 2 At about 12.45 we were called to an area and told that we would be asked to come up in order of expected finish time and we were to select a cone to stay by (pic below). We would then move forward cone by cone to the actual start line and would set of one cone at a time which meant we all entered the course in a staggered fashion and joined those already running…who were already very spread out due to the large gap between waves starting. So although our wave start was at 1pm, that was really the start of you wave period for starting, I think I got going just after 5 past as was quite near the front, but some people in the wave probably didn’t get going until 15 past. it is all chip timed so didn’t really matter (although at the moment all the wave 2 10k times are showing chip the same as gun 😭 but it is only affecting our wave so am sure will be sorted).
At no point was I ever really ‘near’ another runner. I honestly felt safer and more socially distanced etc then when I go to the supermarket. It was amazingly well done. So well organised and considering it was the first event the organisers had done like this it went astonishingly smoothly. Frankly I could not think of anything they would need to do to improve it. They obviously put a lot of thought into keeping people safe, but also maintaining the ‘feel’ of a race. All the marshals were in masks and visors and were vocal in supporting and cheering people on, all the runners were being respectful of each others space, there were no ‘pinch points’ on the course. There were frequent signs reminding people to distance and not spit (am loving the no spitting rule!).
I was hoping to get somewhere in the region of my current PB (1:02), I didn’t think I’d be able to beat it, as my PB was from when I wasn’t doing run/walk and also it had been so long since I had run an event I had no idea what my ‘proper’ pace was. At about 3 miles I realised that if I managed to hold the pace I might PB. At 5 miles I twigged that if i clung on I might…I just might be able to get sub 60, which has been a goal for nearly 4 years. I really pushed the last half a mile and sprinted up the hill to the finish. My watch said 1:00:33, so a PB! I then realised the course measured a teeny bit long (prob as I went wide on a lot of corners) , and for the actual 10k distance I was sub 60. HAPPY DAYS! I collected my medal from a table and followed the signs past the tables of post race goodies (lots of yummy stuff) and back outside to wait to meet with Lisa.
We then headed off to eat, my first time in a restaurant since March…almost as exciting as getting a PB! Sitting having post race food wearing a medal made it feel like life was almost normal again