Kilomathon - London
Decided to do this race as I was in London with my sons for the NFL game on the same day. I entered 2 weeks ago and then didn't run for a week due to an injury so went into this with some trepidation. All I can say is this was an event with totally contrasting experiences.
The race started at Lee Valley Athletics stadium and I actually quite enjoyed the 300 metres I ran round the track (quite bouncy) very different from my school days. We then went round the buildings and car park and onto the main road. This proved to be the most uninspiring part of the course. Industrial units and drab buildings. The small buses taking spectators to the finish went past on the other side of the road and we then passed them a little later as they were being held back (will come back to buses later). Apparently the boys spotted me - I didn't notice them.
Eventually after about 6km the scenery became more picturesque as we were sent down a canal path. From then on the route was mostly footpaths (a few puddles and occasional mud) in woodlands or by the canal. After passing the point of being able to chicken out (by doing the half), I was enjoying the run. The marshals were great despite the fact they must have been very cold. However there was very little support on route even in the area that turned out to be near the finish (again something I will come back to that later). The water stations also had gels for those doing the 26.2, which was useful. There were even some loos. Again support here was good from the marshals manning them. There was also a chip map on part of the route we passed twice during the race, I assume only checking you do the full route as have not seen any splits published.
I started to flag a little after 13.5 miles, but managed to plod slowly on. Eventually to the 25k marker just over a bridge to be told I was a few minutes from the finish (hmm… not at my pace). This proved to be along the canal and then a right turn up what felt like a steep hill to be passed by two runners much to my annoyance. Off we set over the bridge and thankfully downhill to the sparsely populated finish and I even managed to pass one of the runners and cross the line with the other runner. Overall I was pleased with my (slow) time of 2:53:44 although a little annoyed a stop to use the facilities had added minutes onto my time!
Walked a few feet to be given my medal, which disappointingly had no date on and a bottle of water. This was when the good points about this race stopped. I had to go and ask for my goody bag or I don't think I would have got one. Liam and Luke and noticed that a few people had silver wraps like we get after the Robin Hood. But I couldn't find where they had come from. So we decided to walk to where the buses were supposed to be leaving from as really needed to get back to our hotel. However there was a bit of a queue in front of us and I was starting to feel a bit cold even though I had my LERC hoody on. Fortunately I had made a flask of coffee up so drank some of that in an effort to get warm. After an half an hour the Red Cross volunteers started handing out the silver wraps which helped at first. One bus turned up and we moved up the queue slightly. After another 3/4 of an hour two buses turned up, but we couldn't get on as full just as we got to the from of the queue (only carried 29 people). By then I was starting to feel a bit ill. The poor girl who had come to try and calm some rather angry runners and passengers down had a thankless task at this point. She did however make the decision to take us over the finishing bridge to Lee Valley Park, where at least we could get some shelter. Eventually after 2 hours we finally got on a bus to take us back to the start.
There were also complaints from spectators who were not made aware that there were facilities available and that they could see runners passing if they had crossed the bridge. This together with the fact that some of the children doing shorter races missed their starts and had to run alone due to the transport taking so long to get from the 26.2 k start to the finish area (where the short races were also starting). Also several of the spectators for the 13.1k race missed seeing their friends or family finishing.
Would I do this race again? I doubt it, after paying £12 for the boys for a ticket on the bus from start to finish and all of us back again, I have requested my bus fare money back from the organisers. I'm not holding my breath. This is such a shame as i enjoyed the race but doing my longest ever run to then stand around for two hours (mostly in the cold) spoilt it. I will give one huge thanks to Liam (who had felt ill before we set off in the morning but still decided to come and support me) and Luke for standing at the finish and the bus queue in a cold muddy field for hours.
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