Race review: Marathon training continues with Wimborne 20 2016

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COST

£13 UKA members, £15 unaffiliated. Entries in advance only.

PRE-RACE ORGANISATION

Registration and payment was nice and easy online, with race numbers posted well in advance. So much so that I ended up forgetting I had it already and had to embark on a frantic search for it.

On the day things were fairly straightforward – we arrived in plenty of time so parking wasn’t an issue. The race start was delayed by 5 mins due to toilet issues but other than that no problems!

TOILETS

Race HQ was a junior school. The women’s toilets were actually the children’s.. The toilet seats were about calf height, while the doors only went up to chest height. I thought it was pretty amusing, and they were still a vast improvement on some of the dodgy toilets I’ve seen at races, but other runners were slightly underwhelmed. The race ended up being delayed by 5 minutes due to the toilet queue, although I wouldn’t say it was significantly worse than most other races. Either way I’m sure they will probably opt to bring in a few more portaloos next year!

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THE RACE

Yet again I was going into a race with very low expectations. I’d attempted to mix up my running with alternative exercise by joining a netball team with work, but on my first attempt landed awkwardly on my left leg and spent the next few days with quite a lot of pain around my knee. I’d kept my knee strapped up and managed a very short run on the Thursday, but still had no idea whether it would hold out for a full 20 (hilly) miles. Knowing the course was three laps, I got to the start line having no idea whether I’d do the first 6.7 miles, let alone the whole route.

I ran the first couple of miles with my dad’s girlfriend, but by mile 3 I could no longer keep up. I was slightly daunted by the prospect of running another 17 solo, but soon found the miles ticking by.

I find lapped routes can be a bit repetitive, but appreciated it on the 20 miler. Knowing what was coming was certainly appreciated by the third lap, and I didn’t mind repeating what was a quite pleasant route. Although passing the ‘400m to go’ sign twice before it actually applied was slightly painful.

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Even being lapped by faster runners was actually quite enjoyable… Watching Steve Way bound past and practically glide up a hill was pretty awe-inspiring, even if I would have liked to have made it beyond mile 8 before being lapped! By the time I finished lap 2 there were a fair few runners finishing, but almost without exception were very supportive, offering encouragement as they ran past.

The marshals were all brilliant too, offering great support throughout the race. One of the best bits about a lapped race is getting to see familiar faces by the end! A big thank you to all of the race marshals – they really created a great atmosphere.

My time was nothing to write home about, but I’d managed the route largely pain-free which was all I’d hoped for. I even ran the last 200 metres with my dad which was a nice way to finish!

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RACE BLING/GOODIES

No medal, but there was a technical t-shirt for all finishers. When entering you selected a shirt size, which was written on your race number, and late entrants were warned they might not get their choice of shirt size. Unfortunately this wasn’t enforced. By the time I finished there were no tops in anything even resembling my size, so my race souvenir was given straight to my dad! It was hardly the end of the world as I was doing this run for training, not a t-shirt, but it is quite disappointing to register for a race and state your shirt size six months before the event then on the day essentially be told you’re too slow to get the size you ordered. Hopefully something that will be sorted for next year. The chocolate bar in the goody bag was very gratefully received though!

OVERALL VERDICT

Nice course, wonderful marshals and a great atmosphere made this the perfect race to tackle as part of marathon training. A couple of minor issues were to be expected given that this was the race’s first year, and I’d definitely return if I was doing another spring marathon.
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