After a lack of races recently, I compete in two in successive weeks! This is my review of a very local race, the Offerton 10k.
About the Offerton 10k
I’ve commented previously that we have a lot of runners in Stockport. Over the last couple of years the number of events has grown locally as well. However, the Offerton 10k has been a staple in the Stockport Harriers &AC calendar for many years. It is a midweek race, usually held at the beginning of July and is contained within the two local parks. Woodbank Park is a flat park with wide tarmac paths. Vernon Park is on the edge of a hill.
The race route begins and ends on the track in Woodbank Stadium with three laps (roughly 9k) of the two parks.
Offerton 10k organisation
The race is organised by Crazy Legs Events and is chip-timed. Runners collect their numbers and chip timer from the clubhouse in the stadium ahead of the race. The size of the event is not huge (168 finishers this year) and registration was fast and uncomplicated. Whilst waiting for the race, a local sports physio company were providing free 5 minute ‘taster’ massages which is a great idea.
The race briefing was amplified and easy to hear, and despite a heavy shower immediately beforehand, the race started on time. The route is well marked and well marshaled.
Offerton 10k route
The above synopsis paints a picture of a quaint gentle summer event of easy running. The Offerton 10k is far tougher than you might think. The fast flats in Woodbank Park lure one into a false sense of security before the steep and rapid descent into Vernon Park. As the adage goes ‘what goes down, must come back up again’. The hill climb back up through Vernon Park is in two sections. The first is moderate but the second is quite steep. Whilst it is a bit of a shock the first time around, the sick reality is that this same climb is there again in another 3km, and then again for the final lap.
The Offerton 10k was my second ever 10k when I started to run in 2006. I have little memory of it really other than it being hard work and that it had been a warm day. My time back then was 48 minutes which was a couple of minutes slower than my Manchester 10k time I’d done a couple of months early. Manchester, of course, being about as flat as you’re going to get!
Chatting to other runners whilst at the track on Tuesday, the consensus was that the Offerton 10k course is about 3 minutes slower than a flat course. Oh, and that it was a tough beast!
The downpour came just as I was lying face down having a sport massage before the race. So by the time I lined up at the start my back was dripping wet, my front was dry but sticky due to the sultry hot day. The rain didn’t cool things down. It just made them damper!
My race plan was more to get around and to achieve a faster time than in 2006. Two fairly reasonable goals. As usual I started further back than one might expect, just so I didn’t go out too hard. This is not a PB course! The two laps of the track and out into Woodbank Park were fine and the downhill section (lap 1) felt good too. Even the uphill was OK first time around!
Lap 2 and things got tougher. As I finished the downhill I was struggling to maintain pace and ended up walking up both the uphill sections. In fairness, I probably didn’t lose a huge amount of time and it did allow me to drink a few mouthfuls of juice.
Lap 3 and actually things seemed a bit better. Perhaps I’d gone out too hard on my first lap and thus suffered on the second. I caught up with a few people, although not the ones that passed me on my second hill climb. Again, I walked on the second part of the hill, with a fellow Harrier who took great delight in telling the marshals he was looking after me! As we got to the top of the final hill though, I was able to pick up my pace and go chasing after the people in front of me.
As I re-entered the stadium and started my final 300m on the track, I could see a runner up ahead. I like a sprint finish and here was a golden opportunity. I hung back until the final 100m, and went for it! Always a crowd pleaser when a local club runner takes a place at the finish line! I’d done it, 10 hard earned kilometers in 43 minutes 30 seconds.
Offerton 10k price and finishers bag
At £12 it’s a bargain of a race, especially given it is chip timed. I knew there was a finishers medal (we didn’t get that in 2006) but in addition there was a goodie bag as well. In fairness it was a bit of a hand-me-down, as it was mostly surplus items from the 2016 Stockport 10 race. I got a T-Shirt, water bottle, sweat band, a flapjack, a notepad and a magazine. I’ve no complaints as it was in addition to what had been advertised.
Offerton 10k photos and results
The results were posted within a couple of hours of the finish itself which is great going. You can find them here.
There were two photographers. Carl Ryder provided a good selection of free snaps from the finish line. APN Sports Photography did some photos in the park and at the finish (usual price of £1.50 per digital photo). Again, very good value if you want a photographic memento. Admittedly one showing how wet and bedraggled you were after the punishment of this particular 10k!!
Offerton 10k conclusion
This is a tough race, albeit great value and easily accessible. It’s really well organised and executed but if you’re expecting a gentle summer evening jog around the park, think again. I suspect, subconsciously, this is why it’s taken me 11 years to return to try the course again. Roll on 2028……!