Race Report by Brenda Lee
I was up in Liverpool visiting my daughter so decided to take the opportunity to enter Run Aintree 10K. It was a short drive from her house and was held at the famous Aintree racecourse, somewhere I had never visited.
There are 3 different distances available to enter, half marathon, 10k and 5k. The weather on the morning was good, dry and not too warm. Easy journey there and although parking was limited at the racecourse there is a large shopping centre a 5 minute walk away which a lot of runners seemed to have used.
I had to collect my number on the morning and this was all straightforward and dealt with by a pleasant lady who was very helpful in pointing me in the direction of toilets and bag drop. There was immediately a really good atmosphere. Probably a combination of a rather grand venue, weather being good, the half marathon already in progress and the Liverpool people – who are generally friendly and chatty.
There were quite a few stalls selling energy type products and also clothing, and a van selling hot food and drinks. The bag drop was swift and the toilet queue was the shortest I have ever been in! I think the practicalities were helped by the staggered start times for the 3 different distances. A spent a short time watching and cheering on the half marathon runners and then the 5k runners who began their race 10 minutes before us.
By now it was warming up and it was feeling a little humid. I also took a few minutes to double check there wasn’t any other Massey family there and I was still destined to be “First Massey over the Line”! We were guided to the start line but there wasn’t enough room for everyone to line up together so it was a bit of a rolling start, this didn’t matter though as it was chipped timed.
Race was soon underway and yes, it was humid and hot! Each lap was 5k so we were all soon mixed in together, which I enjoyed. No one standing out for speed or position, just runners all enjoying their race at their pace.
The first lap seemed to pass quite quickly. After only 1k there was a shout of “Go Masseys”. A couple of Badger runners past me, which was really nice. The surface was mainly tarmac although short areas of shingle and one small part run outside the ground along the road. The signage was a little tricky at first, especially if you hadn’t got a watch. There were both mile and kilometre markers, but was quickly sorted and understood. They had used different colours to help with this.
For some people doing laps is torture, however, on this particular day I enjoyed it. All the support was in the grandstand, but this made it easy for people watching and also meant for the half marathon runners, their loved ones would get to see them 4 times without having to move!
There was a good number of marshals, all supportive, and most with a tambourine – this may a nice change for runners and marshals. There was even a young man playing his guitar and singing, which was very welcome addition.
Unlike the previous Sunday at Northbrook, I was feeling good and enjoying the race. It was very warm but very calm until I turned into the home straight for the first time – it was like a wind tunnel. Took me by surprise!
I passed by the finish funnel, collected some water, and started lap 2. Still feeling good and I now knew what was ahead of me. There was a real mixture of runners, experienced club runners, social runners, charity runners and people walking. I felt it was a very inclusive event with an opportunity for everyone. Finally the finish line was in sight and I enjoyed running into the wind more this time and was really pleased with how I had ran and how I was feeling.
A lovely medal was handed to me along with, water, banana, popcorn, sweets and a flapjack. The lady who had given me my number was now at the finish line giving the goodies out. I stopped and had a quick chat with her. Congratulated them on what I thought was a good race/organisation and she told me that the company is a family based one.
Whilst collecting my bag I bumped into the Badgers lady. Herself and her husband and done the half and really enjoyed it. I asked her was it boring doing so many laps. She said not, as they passed quickly and she also commented of how inclusive it was, and what a positive thing that is.
I made my way back to the shopping centre to be collected by my daughter and then home for lunch and to wear my “smug” pants for the rest of the day – oh and my lovely medal!
So do I recommend this event? Well a long drive, hotel stay for a 10k race – maybe not. However, a Parkrun tourism on Saturday morning, shopping, theatre, museum in Liverpool Saturday afternoon, 5k, 10k or half marathon Sunday morning followed by a trip to Crosby beach to see Antony Gormley’s statues on Sunday afternoon – sounds worth the trip.
Despite my first visit ever to Aintree wearing shorts and trainers and not a posh frock and hat, I really enjoyed the event and at £21 entry fee, (nice medal, post-race goodies, free photos and chip timing), I don’t think it’s bad value for money compared to other races.
All in all a very enjoyable morning at the races – odds on, I’ll do it again!