Another random race, random location. Corey who leads Run Dem Crew West and Darren signed up and after Harvel and the fun we had on that excursion, I had to be a part of that action.
So after waking up at the asscrack of dawn on a Sunday, I got ready and met Corey and we made our way to Acton Town meeting some of the others from the crew along the way.
Thankfully there was reception as it was apparent from the moment we made our way from the tube station, that there would be no signs. Anywhere.
Arrived in plenty of time, got our race numbers promptly and decided to change/go to the loo etc. With limited direction we eventually found the toilets. Dirty and far away from the start.
Back to base and after checking bags and a chat we were lead to the middle of the field where we had a group stretch and then started a few minutes after 11 with no visible start line. As there wasn’t a clock to show the time or anything we checked or watches/phones. Winging it dot com. I had already decided to take this as a Sunday race, with a tee and medal. Shrug it off dot com.
As we started (when the dude shouted “go” a la school) we all set off from the middle of the field to the edge and onto the pathway which led around the park. As usual it was about taking time, and it was my job to rein in a certain person who shall remain nameless (Corey, it was Corey) from running too fast as we both had the British 10k the following Sunday.
It was apparent after a while too that Darren was going to take his time as the recurring ankle reared its ugly head. With no real mile markers (spray paint on the floor, I mean c’mon man) we ran around and I barked at Corey ever so often to remind him to tek time. I do take a few miles to get into the groove so I just kept on until that happened. By that time we had gone round once and things seemed to be going okay, water at the designated station and energy drinks in cups. We had a chat with a few people as we ran including a lovely lady from my end of town. I talked to her about RDC West and then let Corey do his thing. Second lap I got excited as the site stated two laps round the park. I quickly got told by the very man I was supposed to slow down … to slow down as we had one more blasted lap to go. Kiss My Teeth. I was hungry now.
Having slowed down a fair bit, Corey and the lady I recruited to RDC West with her partner took up their pace a little leaving Darren and I to take our time round. A fair few people around the park giving encouraging applause and words of encouragement as they were out in the park with their kids or dogs. Have to say despite any form of markings apart from marshalls pointing out the way Gunnersbury isn’t a bad park at all.
Speaking to Darren to encourage him for a little while I made sure I checked on anyone walking to make sure they were good. For me, those moments where you want to give up are often averted by the right thing said at the right time. Grumpy bag didn’t quite appreciate me asking if she was okay, nevermind innit. I expect if she weren’t so grumpy she’d have friends running with her offering encouragement. *blows a raspberry*
It was that time for the final corner, I put in a sprint for the last 300m and then waited for Darren to cross the line.
On reflection, it was a very nice course in terms of the park and was glad to be running en masse again with some of the RDC/RDC West folk, but mate I was not impressed with no lack of a clock at the start/finish line. Having someone should GO! and have a woman with a stopwatch record your time (which I’d like to point out a fortnight later I am STILL none the wiser) aint cool.
*How do people coming to the park from the station know how to get to the aformentioned park? Telepathy? And I don’t mean the jungle rave, either …
*No markers, spray paint on the floor? We aint in Hackney. At least laminated cards on a tree or something? No? Okay then.
*Tee was okay, although an option for smaller people would be nice.
*Medal … next!
Would rather pay a bit more money for that. Harvel was for around the same money and THEY managed to have all of this for a five-mile cross country race.
Take note, organisers. If you do, I may reach back.