I did the Notts 10k by accident, after I ended up not being able to do my home Lincoln 10k and the organisers kindly let me transfer to the Nottingham race 3 weeks later. And am I glad I did!
I got a lift into Nottingham from a fellow club runner and we parked easily at the Victoria Centre (£4.50 all day) and walked the easy 15 minutes to the start. The race village was easy to find and nicely laid out in the attractive market square. We had arrived in good time so headed for a coffee and to meet some fellow UKRunChat runners who were also racing.
The race was due to start at 9:30, nice and early which meant I could get back in time to spend the afternoon with my family, as well as avoid the hottest part of the day. I did a quick warm up run up the first hill and back then headed to the starting pens. The sub 50 pen was already overflowing so I decided to stand in the sub 45 section where I bumped into Rob Jones who was pacing. The start was delayed ever so slightly due to a parked car in the route but communication during this delay was good.
Then we were off! Around the market square and straight up a small incline as we got warmed up on the first kilometre. Turning a corner just after the 1km and seeing the biggest hill in the route was a bit of a shock – why did I think Nottingham was flat??! – but there was a nice downhill on the other side to compensate for the loss of pace uphill.
The route wound around the castle and through the streets and was very scenic, before heading out towards the river. There was one water station on the route at the 5k point, where I was hoping to get a drink. It was a very hot day, even at 10am, and as we rounded a corner the water station was suddenly upon us. There was a bit of chaos as runners tried to get a drink, and a marshall shouted – “keep moving, there’s plenty of water further down” – so not wanting to lose pace I kept onwards as instructed, except there was no water further down. I was gasping in the heat as we ran onto the Victoria Embankment, and a little cross at the marshall who had made me miss the opportunity to grab some water. It would have been easy to spread the water station out a little to make it less chaotic. Not putting it directly after a 90 degree bend would have made it better organised for starters. But I let it go, and carries on as we headed back into town. There were plenty of ups and downs, and at 9k a marshall shouted – “all flat and downhill now”. Music to my ears! Except as we turned the corner he was standing on, another incline! But that was the last one, and it was a nice flat return back to the market square and the finish line.
I have to say the crowd support, particularly at the finish line, but also around the course, was very welcome. The goody bag contained a medal, a Mars Bar, some very welcome salty snacks, glucose tabs, and a bottle of water and an electrolyte drink. And the organisers were offering free medal engraving too. Although I had ran a PB on this course, I decided not to get my medal engraved, as it wasn’t the exact time I wanted, but I’m doing 3 more Run For All events over the summer so I’m sure I’ll hit that magic sub-50 very soon!
I was also impressed to see a family craft area inside the race village to keep families entertained if they were waiting.
All in all a great, well organised event, and a lovely route. Just needed a little more thought about the positioning and layout of water station.