This was only the 2nd actual race I’d done this year so anticipation was running high!
It was an excellently organised race and the marshals were awesome! Seems likely that, due to the wave starts, they were standing out in the torrential rain for even longer than for a ‘normal’ race. The chap standing by the entrance to the garden was amazing – you could hear him shouting encouragement for ages before and after you passed him. I’ve not done this race before but the course was apparently different as it was 3 laps rather than 2 and all on the Westonbirt grounds.
The wave starts are a novel addition to races to stop large groups of people congregating (you’re only supposed to arrive at the start a few minutes before your allocated time) and, naturally, have their pros and cons:
• On the upside, as there are runners of different paces starting at different times, you get to pass (and be passed by!) lots of different people so you get to greet runners you wouldn’t normally see.
• On the downside, there were a number of people I knew running the race but I only got to meet a couple who had similar start and/or finish times. It’s also slightly odd not knowing who you’re actually racing against, is that person in front on their 1st, 2nd or 3rd lap? Am I ahead of them or not? That person that just passed me, can I get them on the final lap or are they just finishing?
Did I mention the rain? That also meant a significant amount of mud too, the course was all traffic free (apart from a random car near the drinks station – not sure what that was about), undulating and mainly off-track as well around the playing fields so the new Mud Claws were an essential aid to staying upright and moving forwards; I saw several runners heading off on interesting tangents, hope they made it home safely!
In summary – It was wet, it was muddy, we had fun