Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Race Roundup: Manchester 10km

The Great Manchester 10km run is probably the biggest annual sporting event in the city, this year 17,157 participants took to the streets to run, jog or walk the 10km route and for the first time I was one of them. For anyone who’s thinking of taking part next year and wants to know if it’s an event worth participating in then here is a summary of what you can expect from Manchester’s biggest run.

manchester 10k race roundup


Ahead of the day 
Signing up to take part for the Simply Health Great Manchester 10km is a very simple process and can be done in a number of ways. If you just want to turn up and do the race for yourself then you can go via their website and fill in the online form, should you wish to run for a charity get in touch with them, they might have subsidised entry fees! I ran for the University of Manchester who offered discounts for all students, staff and alumni.
Once you’re signed up you’ll receive your entry pack a couple of weeks before the big day, inside you’ll find your race number as well as a magazine offering helpful training advice and information about facilities and transport on the day – if you’re driving in we recommend the Charles Street carpark, it’s £2 for a full days parking, it’s fairly close to the start line but also avoids manages to avoid the road closures throughout the city.

manchester 10k start line portland street

On the day organisation
The proceedings of events for the day are detailed in your information pack and you should make sure you read it carefully as it can be a bit confusing when you actually arrive in Manchester! The run is divided into different coloured waves (dependant on ability) which have staggered start times to try and avoid congestion along the route. Pay attention to your wave colour and make sure you’re aware what your assembly time and start time actually are. As long as you make sure you arrive on Portland street at your assembly time and make sure you’re in a good position to start at your specified time you should be fine – be aware there aren’t many officials around to help in the crowd!
All waves of the run this year (starting with the half marathon) were delayed by 10 minutes which added more to the wave confusion and was probably the reason for a few rogue colours within each block but given the huge number of participants to only be 10 minutes behind seems like pretty good going.
The timing for the run was via a chip (which is on the back of your race number) there are 3 timing gates that you’ll pass over on the course to give you splits for 3km, 5km and 8km’s.

girl runner purple wave manchester 10k 2017

Atmosphere
Something that really makes an event is the atmosphere on the day and for this event it felt like the whole of Greater Manchester was out in force to either take part or to cheer on the runners! The crowds were fantastic and had managed to line almost the entire route to cheer on the participants, the busiest area being the final 400m up to Deansgate and the finish line which was packed! Having such an amazing crowd cheering you on really does help spur you on to push harder and keep going! There was even a very kind man in the crowd handing out Haribo.
As for the race atmosphere itself being part of such a large wave is quite exciting at the start line with everyone raring to go, as you set off there’s a fair bit of shuffling as people settle into their pace. Further down the route a lot of people (both from my own wave and earlier ones) had stopped to walk but were receiving plenty of encouragement from their fellow racers to keep going.
Dotted along the route you’ll come across quite a few live bands and choirs, all of whom are playing uplifting songs and anthems to help drive you along on the course and it really does help! Thank you to all of those who’d taken the time to participate in the bands or even just stand along the roadside and cheer!

manchester 10k finish line deansgate

girl runner finish line manchester 10k

The Course
The Manchester 10km is a nice easy route, perfect for any first timer 10ker’s, who find the distance itself enough of a challenge, as well as more experienced runners who are pushing for a new PB. The course if pretty much two straight lines out of the city and back. You start on a pretty packed Portland street and go straight out of the city, passing Old Trafford just after the 4km mark, from there is an odd little loop (towards the river overlooking Media City) before heading back in the opposite direction to finish on Deansgate. The route is completely flat and all along roads making it ideal terrain to go for that new PB.
Along the route you’ll find 2 water stations (at around 4km and 7km) as well as 2 rain showers to cool you down (at around 3km and 6km) – the showers are like being in a mini downpour rather than the fine misting I was hoping for but I’m sure on a hotter more than welcome and are easy to avoid if you don’t want to get caught in a shower!

manchester 10k finish medal

The Goodie Bag
The bag itself was a plastic drawstring bag (think a mini version of the classic JD bag everyone used for PE…) inside was a purple technical t-shirt with “10K Finisher” on, the small is a bit big for me (they’re unisex sizes) and it’s very similar to the purple wave t-shirt I had to run in so for me personally it’s a bit disappointing to have two almost identical tops. The medal is pretty impressive, it’s a fairly weighty one on a thick blue ribbon, with a nice design to it.
Also inside the bag was a foil blanket (which I put to use almost immediately and very much appreciated) a chocolate bar (which again was appreciated), a porridge on the go “drink” which I probably won’t be using and a bunch of advertising flyers including one for discount at Nando's. 

Key Stats
Entry Fee: £38
Atmosphere: 4/5
Race Organisation: 3/5
Course Difficulty: 1/5
Goodie Bag: 3/5

Overall Event Score: 4/5

How did I do? A new 10km PB of 50:42!


Key Stats explained
Atmosphere rating (1-poor, 5-excellent) based on other runners, the crowd and general feeling of the event.
Race Organisation (1-poor, 5-excellent) based upon key information being communicated ahead of time, race information including number arriving in plenty of time, speed of response from organisers on requesting information, facilities available along the route and ease of starting the race.
Course Difficulty (1-very easy, 5-extremely difficult) based on gradient of the route, running surface eg. Road or trail, obstacles along the route and ability to stay on the correct route through markers or marshals.
Good Bag (1-none available, 5-best goodie bag ever!) based on prizes given out post event such as medals and t-shirts.
Overall Score (1-Would not recommend, 5-would recommend to everyone) based on all factors above to give an overview of how good the events was. 
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