Can I have a moan?

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!

Last edited by

14 Replies

  • OK, where's the edit button? And the preview button? Are they missing in this version of the site? I've only just been pushed over to the new version.

  • There's a little drop down arrow next to the Recommended tab :)

  • Doh!!

  • No preview button I'm afraid, not sure on an 'edit' one, shame about your run, I'd be pretty miffed too after putting all that effort in! Well done on your time though, looks like a fast one :)

  • Edit button is on right hand side of Recommend button. Drop down options are edit/delete/report :)

  • Ahhhhhhh, thanks, you never know when you might need this button :)

  • Blimey Beads no wonder you feel the need for a moan! That sounds like a right catalogue of irritations. Chalk it up to experience and congratulate yourself on a job well done under trying circumstances. Great time btw. I'd be more than happy with that time on a completely flat track with a following wind under ideal conditions :)

  • Feel free to moan all you want as that run sounds very frustrating. But you got a great time despite the obstacles. Congratulations.

    Without knocking the whole RfL 'movement' , from reports I've heard from several runners, it does sound as if they maybe tend to cater for the fun runners/walkers more than those who would like a good race. If I was you, I'd sign up for non-charity 10K asap and go for it, knowing you'll have a chance to run your best.

  • Wow that's a really good time considering you were doing all that dodging and diving. Poor organisation indeed though, its so important on these big gatherings that all participants know the ground rules. Mention it to some of the organisers so that the same things don't happen next year would be my way forward. Well done, excellent run and it does a person good to get things off their chest. When's the next bug run?!? :)

  • I suppose folks not reading the instructions and blocking the route for runners is bad for the marshalls too as they must get fed up with it too. Frustrating I agree as you must have spent more time freewheeling, running on the spot than moving forward. So I agree, to let you have several grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs! You deserve them. I feel annoyed and frustrated for you too. Bah

  • I'm now going to have a grumble....why can't chaps do a version of the RFL? I may wear a skirt and bra* for runing, but I'm not allowed to enter a RFL.

    *There are reasons for this....honestly!!

  • Yep, women only. But they did send out a survey last year after we'd done the run, one of the questions was should we let men join in.

    There was a chap walking the run last Sunday, hand in hand with his missus (or at least with a woman, possibly his missus, could have been his mistress though), but I don't know if he had a race number (possibly not) but the lady looked like the lady I'd seen with a white cane earlier (but then every one's dressed in pink so it may not have been) so he may have been an 'official guide' type person and allowed in because of that.

    You do have a point though, if it was 'men only, no women allowed' people'd be up in arms. You do have a similar thing, the Movember type runs and Survival of the Fittest events, but us girls are allowed to join in with those if we want to.

  • Never heard about Movember etc...I shall keep my ears open.

    I am pleased that RFLs are women only, as I am sure many would be self-conscious if men were there. I do however, believe that we should have a similarly popular event.

    Race guides are incredible. Have you heard of Simon Wheatcroft and his guide?

  • Nope, not heard of him, just looked him up and all I can say is BLIMEY!!!! Wow! That's amazing!!!

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