This was my first race in over 6 months due to the COVID outbreak.
The race far exceeded my expectations and I really enjoyed taking part.
The race organsiser Nice Work were brilliant and I couldn’t praise them enough for their efforts under difficult circumstances.
Rye 10 Review
Written by Simon Linklater – Monday 24th August 2020
I entered my first race in 6 months. I was apprehensive. I shouldn’t have been. It was great! I’m guessing most of you are interested in the new procedures in place, so rather than talk about dropping my phone after 1km or walking too close to the starting mat, 30 minutes before my race began, I’ll cut straight to the chase.
Nice Work were the organisers and my level of respect for this company has just gone up another level. In fact I’ve had to create a new level just for them. I’ve called it “Total Respect”. I’ve bumped a few others into that category but the names are sparse. They know who they are.
As I drove into the car park, the first observation was that any marshalls around the start line were wearing face masks. A trip to the portaloo pre race is never ideal, especially in the current climate. But Nice Work had a marshall handing out disposable sanitized cloths, meaning you didn’t have to touch any surfaces.
The next big change is the beginning of the race. It’s no longer a mass start, instead runners are sent off in waves with a 5 minute interval between groups. Before entering the start area I had my temperature taken. These starting groups are limited to 12 runners.
Nice Work had requested our predicted finishing times, so within that group we were called to the start line, one at a time, based on these predictions. You can only estimate your finish time. I can only imagine it would be slightly embarrassing to start ahead of someone, only to see them beat you by over 5 minutes, aye Susan.
We were clearly told where to stand, ensuring social distancing was maintained. A quick 3 count and we were off, the race was underway.
This is where I thought the race experience was going to be lost. With runners so spread out across the course I was expecting it to feel like a time trial or even just a normal training run where you end up running alone. It wasn’t like that at all.
Part of the route was an out and back, so for the first 3 miles I had the early starters passing by in the opposite direction. We gave each other encouragement and it was great to see some friendly faces, taking on this hilly 10 miler.
Is there anything more enjoyable than hurtling down a hill with a smile on your face, whilst an old friend grimaces and struggles his way past, heading up the slope in the other direction. I think not.
I settled into my stride and it wasn’t long before I was able to catch up with some of the group who’d started before us. I may have passed somewhere between 10 – 15 runners, all of different ability, which wouldn’t happen in a normal race.
There was one water station at 6 miles that had a Marshall wearing gloves. But the water bottles were simply lined up on the table for runners to grab and there was a bin 30 metres or so down the route to drop the empties in.
The highlight of my race came in the final 400 metres. I was pushing hard for a good time and I could hear the footsteps of a quicker runner closing in. I’d yet to be overtaken and so I put my foot down and was able to fend off the challenge. I clocked a last km of 3:53 and a total time of 1:17:45.
Having entered a predicted time of 1:22 and hoping I might sneak 1:20 I was so proud when I glanced down at my watch. All the training, all the miles on my own during lockdown and now I’d had the opportunity to really test myself.
I waited around at the end for some of my fellow Hastings Runners to finish, including Susan. With the staggered start it’s always going to have a different feel to it, but if you arrive early and leave late, you’ll be amazed and how many fellow runners you come across.
I can’t speak for other race organisers but Nice Work were brilliant. I will definitely be taking part in their upcoming races and I highly recommend that other runners give them a try. Who knows what the future holds heading into the winter months. This may only be a small window for these types of races, don’t waste the opportunity.