September is a busy period for running obviously, at least 3 races this month and today I present you with the second of the 10k races I participated in! Today’s race was a first for me as I took part in the Larne 10km for the first time. Luckily I brought Retrosnowflake with me too. You can read her review here!
I know from being a Belfast lad that it would be a rare occurrence for me to travel outside of the city for a race. The only time I usually do is for the East Antrim Series races and honestly that is just outside Belfast. Those races take part in Carrickfergus / Greenisland / Jordanstown, so I always knew that just down the road (well 10 or so miles down the road) was Larne which has a very popular half marathon race in March. How popular? It sold out months ago… For March 2019! Crazy popularity for a Northern Irish race in my opinion, but obviously there is something great there for runners.
So when I found out there was a 10km race there I thought that I should give it a little look! I used to spend many a weekend down in Larne with my family, so it was not totally unknown to me, but it was to Victoria and instead of getting the bus there, I went for the train, as who doesn’t love a quiet Saturday morning train journey?
Was it organised?
You bet your ass it was. For a 10km race with less than 500 participants I would say it was top for organisation that I have been a part of and that includes the Laganside 10km. From the start and finish area all the way to the sheer amount of marshals on the road supporting runners. It was top notch and one that really should be commended. They even had a mini buffet for after the race! Victoria and I had planned for a lunch at a place near the train station otherwise I would have been filling my face!
Due to the organisation of the race I can only assume that if they are permitted to that this race will grow and grow fast. Everything they did was great and for a race that was closing some roads and lanes, they did a far better job in comparison to a certain other race.
If you have read Victoria’s post you will know I may have mislead her about the course. I had assumed it was all very flat except for a long hill that wouldn’t have too much of an affect as it was a gradual incline. What I had failed to do was look at the bloody arrows… So the one decline that I kept seeing in an elevation map was in fact a massive incline as I had us going in the wrong direction… Oops. As soon as I saw it and saw Victoria a little bit ahead of me running and then walking up it, I knew I was in trouble. I had promised her a nice flattish race and had actually given her a very flat race except for this short steep hill from hell.
I used the tried and tested, small steps run and got up the hill quite fast. In fact on the second lap I overtook a group of runners I was near as they tried to run and then had to walk the hill. The momentum I had from that little step run up the hill meant I could break away from them over the last 2km!
The rest of the course as I said was flat and if anything more of a little decline which is always welcome. We started at the community centre and ran through the town centre. In my previous experience of running through a city or town centre during a race, you are usually met by frowns from passers-by or shop workers as you are disrupting their business. Not so with Larne, the high street was packed with people clapping and cheering us on, for both laps. I even overheard another runner bemoan that their boss was outside the shop cheering her on! The atmosphere was one of the best the whole way around the course, on the normal streets, along the coastal path, everywhere. It almost felt as if there were more marshals on the road supporting us than runners.
Would I run it again?
Without a shadow of a doubt, I see no reason not to run this race again and with the knowledge of that hill, I can plan a little better and Victoria and I can be a little more prepared! Everything was done right, from the start to the nice touch of having someone announce the finishers with a screen of times as you were finishing so you knew for certain what your gun time was. Just really good touches and well thought out.
I believe the race was organised by the local running club and if so, then they deserve all the credit as it was such a great race. I am a bit annoyed that I missed out on that half marathon now, as if it is as well run as this event then it should be a cracker.
One last final touch I loved was that the last finisher was an elderly lady and the police bike was escorting her around the last parts of the race as if she was the lead runner. I really enjoyed that, also that a lot of the runners and families were still there to cheer her on as she finished. I almost want to say that the prize giving was getting held around an hour after the finish which is great as it meant that people would actually be there to witness it, as some races hold the prize giving early and a lot of runners are still finishing as it is happening.
I can’t wait to return to this race and if I could I would have already booked our sports to make sure we get in again! It is amazing how good you feel when a race is well organised. Well that is all for today’s post! Until next time.