Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Race Roundup: Offerton 10km


Last week we ventured out to tackle a midweek 10km event (come heavy rain shower or shine) hosted annually by local running club the Stockport Harriers, here's what we thought...


Ahead of the day
James discovered this race by searching for local events online, the advertising wasn't particularly prevalent but it sounded like a good challenge and at only £12.95 to enter it seemed a bit of a bargain!
There, otherwise, was little advertising, unless we just aren’t very observant, which is entirely plausible.

before the offer ton 10km race

To enter we signed up online via the Cazy Legs Events site and upon entering you’ll receive an email to confirm your place as well as give you some key info about the events (such as date and start time).
The day before we received an email confirming the information for the run with a link to more detailed things you might need to know such as where to park.

On the day organisation
As this event is a bit more “low key” and local there’s definitely a reliance on your local knowledge to know exactly where you’re going and with a choice of 3 car parks surrounding the parks it could be easy for any new comer to get a bit lost – Maybe the odd sign directing where the start is would be helpful?

offerton 10km warmup

Once you have managed to locate the Woodbank Park Running Track (and home of the Stockport Harriers Running Club) it’ll be very obvious you’re in the right place. You can collect your number and chip from a porta cabin close to the entrance and there are plenty of officials around should you have any queries. An announcement was made a few minutes before the start time for all the runners to gather on the track for a photo before the race began.

offerton 10km start line

Atmosphere
Despite this being a relatively small event there were still plenty of people out to support the runners and it’s always encouraging to have someone cheering your number even if they don’t know your name!
The supporters tended to stick to the Woodbank part of the course but as you dropped into Vernon Park the marshals were extremely supportive too – a good atmosphere all round!

running in the rain

One thing we did notice is that a lot of the participants are from local running clubs (we are both currently unaffiliated) which for James was fine as he knew the route and knows he can get a  good time, for myself (a less experienced) slower runner it was a little daunting to be taking part in an event with few people on a similar level to myself – perhaps with a bit more advertising a wider range of abilities could be attracted.

offerton 10km runner in the rain


The course
We knew before we even arrived that this was going to be a toughie. The Offerton 10km starts with two laps on the running track at Woodbank Park, from here you leave the stands and head out across Woodbank which is flat and has a wide footway making it a nice easy run.

offerton 10km route

As the path heads closer to the Park’s entrance you veer right over a little more of a trail path before re-joining the pathway by the Vernon Park museum, it’s here that you might begin to get the sense of why this run is going to be a toughie as you begin to descend the big hill! 
You’ve now dropped into Vernon Park and it’s a quick jog around the back of the park before returning to this time ascend the monster hillthe elevation gain being about 50m.
From the top of the hill it’s a flat route back towards the running track (there’s a water station on your left as you reach this furthest section with some very eager kids to pass it to you) before veering back around for two more laps of the parks. The final lap finished with one more stretch of the track before the finish line.

offerton 10km elevation

Repeating this hill three times is what makes this run such a challenge, the terrain is almost entirely even pathway, with track to start and finish plus a tiny bit of trail.
Whilst it might be a challenging it’s certainly rewarding as you get to take in the scenery of the two parks in the centre of Stockport, both of which (although Vernon in  particular) are very well maintained.
runner crossing finish line offer ton 10km


The goodie bag
With this being a cheap and local event we weren’t really expecting to receive anything other than our chip times from the event – how pleasantly surprised we were!

offerton 10km medal and goodie bag

Upon crossing the finish line we were given a medal (in the Stockport Harriers trademark yellow and black colour scheme), a carrier bag containing a few more goodies and a t-shirt! Inside the bag we found; a flapjack, a notepad, a drinks bottle, a sweatband and a few leaflets about some upcoming events.
The T-shirt was perhaps the most odd thing, when we actually looked we realised they were surplus stock from an event in December 2015 (an event we’ll be taking part in later this year!) but hey, it’s a free technical t-shirt and they’re a pretty good fit!

Entry Fee:£12.95
Atmosphere: 4/5
Race Organisation:4/5
Course Difficulty: 3/5
Goodie Bag: 4/5
Overall Score: 4/5


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.
Goodie 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 event was. 
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