I hate to do this, everyone seems so over the moon with their RfLs........
I did RfL at Crawley about 4 weeks ago, 5k, got my medal, brioche and water then ran back to daughter and accompanied her in (she was walking, I was running).
I'd already signed up to the Lloyd Park RfL today, doing the 10k version. Weather was looking good, a mix of sun and showers (unfortunately the showers were somewhat missing, there was a very brief few spatterings). Did the warm up (I cannot follow what everyone else is doing at all!), walked down to the start with the runners, got in the 3rd row, the closest I've been to the front, run briefing consisted of a coup[le of mexican waves and the instructions for the 5kers to go round once, the 10kers to go round twice. Then we were off! I managed not to have anyone stop running directly in front of me, good run, though set out a bit too fast, pulled along with the crowd.
Anyway, it was what I hate, 2 laps. I hate laps, all the way through the second lap I'm remembering the hard bit coming up next. So at the end of the first lap (about 25 minutes) the first 5kers are finishing, 10kers to the left, 5kers to the right and through the finish. OK, no problem. Out again for the beginning of the second lap, I see a black clad figure running in front of me. Only 1???? Yep, I was only the second to start lap 2. Lost sight of her as we went round bends, through trees etc. Marshalls were being really good, clapping, encouraging etc, I managed to thank most of them and the couple that were too far away got a thumbs up in lieu of thanks. At 6k out (1k for the first lap) I caught up with the first few walkers, a couple of ladies with a pushchair, probably started right at the back knowing they'd be 'wide' and slower, then a few hundred yards alter another couple with a pushchair. Then a steady trickle of walkers.
Unfortunately the steady trickle got bigger and bigger. And bigger. Blocking the path. What I foresaw was coming true. When I first signed up I said to Alex, my walking partner and BF, that they'd have to start the 10kers before the 5kers unless it was a single extended lap as we'd be coming up on walkers blocking the path. Everyone started at once (or sort of, it must have taken the back markers some time to get over the line), so from about 7k in I was dodging round people, in the rough, long grass. I turned my voice on, I had lots of practice when we were at school, my brother swam for the local swimming club and we were always the noisiest cheering our swimmers on at galas. So lots and lots of 'excuse me' and 'coming through' as I dodged round people. But a whole lot of them just weren't moving. Looking at my stats the first 5k were at a pace of about 5 minutes per k, the second was about 5:30, yes I would be slightly slower, but not that much. So that's my first moan.
Second moan. Running round I could hear sirens in front of me, then behind, I thought someone was having great fun. They were! It was the chap on the bike. The volunteer (I think). I've got a feeling he was collecting the 10kers running well, riding in front of them and using the siren to get everyone out of the way. Well that's my impression when he led someone straight past me with about 100 yards to go, did a double take and asked if I was on my second lap! Where was he when I needed his people clearing skills? Especially in the bottlenecks where the mud was and people didn't want to get their shoes wet/muddy! Grumble grumble!
Third moan. She wasn't getting past me, not when I'd been in front of her for so long, picked up the pace, we got to the 10kers to the left/5kers to the right place and were told to go left, so we did, I looked ahead, there's no 'finish' line, just the carry on to the next lap, so I dodged back to the right, through the finish line, I think at about the same time as her, but she was on the other side of the barrier. I've no idea whether she was on her first lap or second. I got a drink, picked up my medal, brioche and more water and headed out. Then they announced that the second 10ker had finished. Should we have gone to the left to finish? Gone to the right? Was I second? Third? Was she on her first lap or second? The end seems somewhat disorganised, could have been done better.
Fourth moan. I forgot to pause my garmin, the finish came, according to garmin, at about 9.9k, having got the medal etc I was walking off back to find Alex and daughter when my garmin beeped the 10k. I paused it then, 52:39, a good time anyway. So I found Alex about half a k out and walked with her. Apparently they told the walkers to let the 10kers through, to keep right and let the runners through on the left. Unfortunately they hadn't managed to tell the 10kers about this little arrangement and this one naturally overtakes on the right, it's what we're taught from when we first get on our pushbikes as kids and reinforced when we start driving cars, you overtake on the right. No wonder people weren't moving over!!! Grumble grumble, why wasn't that in the 'race briefing'?
So anyhow, a good run, albeit frustrating. And final moan (promise), could they not have changed the ribbon on the medal, made it a different colour or something, 5k one colour, 10k another and pretty muddy a third colour. I won't be the only one with identical medals for 2 different 'events' this year.
And then it rained!
Oh blast, I added an edit and it's all turned Spanish. Maybe not enough wine???
OK, going for the 'editar' again: Do you think it was the fluorescent pink tutu? Was that maybe a bit too much? Do you reckon the tutu on top of the dilapidated running shoes, bright pink top and running shorts made them think I wasn't a 'serious' runner and couldn't be done? Even 20 minutes after I finished, walking through the end with my daughter they were trying to direct me into yet another lap.
And another EDIT: We got there at about 10am, 11am start and they say get there an hour early. The portaloos didn't turn up until much later! The queue for the 3 working permanent loos was HUGE. But I felt sorry for the blokes, there to support their wives and look after kiddies, with about 10 minutes to go before the warm up starts and they need to take over child care from their other halves they decide that's the right time to go for a wee. Walk in to the Gents' loos, walk straight back out because there's a queue of ladies in there as well!