As is my norm, I do a race and then I do a write-up about it. It gives me something to look back on and hopefully helps other people decide if it’s a race they might be interested in the future.
Run Tatton – it’s at Tatton Park you know!
There used to be a Tatton Half Marathon a few years ago. I ran it in 2012 and in fact it was where I set my best time for the distance which stood for 3.5 years. Quite possibly because that course was one of those in the North West which had been measured short….. Anyway for whatever reason there was some acrimony between the venue and the organisers and that was the end of the event.
Still that was then, this is now.
The Run Tatton event which has started up in 2016 appears to be aligning itself with being a more inclusive event, attracting first timers and charity runners as well as seasoned runners. There are two races, a 10k and a half-marathon.
Run Tatton – the courses
Unlike the previous (2012) event both the 10k and the half-marathon distances are almost entirely in Tatton Park itself, with about a mile which runs along a rural road connecting two of the entrances to the Park itself. The 10k is a single loop whereas it’s two loops for the half-marathon. This has the positive aspect of being traffic free as well as being somewhere that looks nice! The route is almost all tarmac, save for a woodland path (still solid) which means that road shoes are fine.
Run Tatton – the facilities
Getting to Tatton Park is pretty straightforward although the difficulty with two big events is that you can end up queuing to get into the Park. The organisers had tried to stagger the parking (the 10k set off about 30 minutes before the HM) however the combination of a single gate in for lots of people, plus a road collision on the M56 did cause problems getting people in on time with the result that both races started late to try to accommodate. Just one of those things, I’m used to turning up very early and usually miss the chaos of parking, but that didn’t work today.
The ‘Event Village’ was right next to the start and finish but to be honest I couldn’t see what was in the tents due to them being crammed full with runners trying to keep out of the rain before the race!! I went and sat in my car instead. There seemed to be plenty of toilets which seems to be something that is usually lacking at races!
Run Tatton – the weather
OK this bit they have little control over. Although events at the end of November do risk being colder and damper than springtime ones, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be. Today however started out raining, windy and very cold!
Run Tatton – the marshals
Plenty of them and all enthusiastic. Which is everything you need from race marshals!! Thanks to you all, a sterling job well done!
Run Tatton – the ‘bling’
When I first started entering races, I had a prerequisite of at least coming out with a T-Shirt! (I like practical things and it saves me the effort of going shopping for clothes!) Now I have a wardrobe full of the blighters, I’m less concerned. Anyway, it was a cotton T-Shirt today and a funky reindeer medal.
Run Tatton – my race
Having sat in my car until moments before the race announcer had stated the half marathon was going to start (it was 10 minutes or so late due to the M56 accident) I found the appropriate timing group in the start line, and along with a fellow Harrier (Dave) and the other runners, shivered a lot whilst the weather threw November at us. At least once we got going, I warmed up.
Unlike most previous races where I’ve run at whatever pace I was going, today was intended to stick to a pacing plan, to bring me in just below the 90 minutes mark. And on the whole, I stuck to a plan of looking at my watch at each mile marker! While it wasn’t perfect, most of the splits were about right.
Dave had planned to just try to keep me in his sights to see if he could beat his PB but after the first couple of miles we’d each settled into a slightly different pace. I got amongst various other runners planning on the 90 minute task, indeed running with one chap for about 6 miles. I’m usually fairly uninterested in multi-lap routes, but today wasn’t too bad. But as we clocked in mile 11 and I realised we were off the pace I set off to try to catch up on myself. The other chap was struggling by that point.
One aspect which made things difficult was the mile markers weren’t tallying very well with the GPS. Although they started off almost spot on, by mile 9 I had a discrepancy of almost a quarter of a mile. It’s a difficult one; GPS watches are not inherently accurate due to difficulties pinpointing the position especially in woodlands or other places where an adequate line of sight to satellites is lost.
That said, despite the differences the watch settled on 13.05 miles at the end which was a darned sight closer than the markers. Not that it matters other than one questioning the finishing time when your pace tallies but the location doesn’t!
The finish funnel was nice as it came straight through where the Event Village was. So plenty of spectator space and the announcer was doing her job brilliantly (she even got my name right which is something that rarely happens – ever!) Actually my only worry was the finish was on grass, rapidly turning to mud. And I had visions of going flat on my back or face-planting my body in front of an audience. Not exactly a ‘heroic’ finish to a race, but thankfully I stayed upright.
Run Tatton – results and wrap-up
The provisional results are here. I did 88 minutes 28 seconds, my second fastest at the distance (and best post injury).
The race itself was a strange one. The course is pretty flat, but I found it harder work than Congleton which is relatively undulating. Interestingly speaking to other Harriers, as well as a couple of my own Lyme Runners, it was a comment echoed that the course was more challenging than it looked on paper.
I had hoped to get a few photos with some of the other runners, however as it was so cold, everyone zoomed off! The Run Tatton Facebook page has several thousand photographs to work through!
The support for all the runners was solid and I’d like to think there will be a lot of people who maybe haven’t done an event like this before today who have that warm feeling of achievement this afternoon.