Today was the annual Stockport 10 road race. As usual, I like to do a write-up of my races.
Stockport 10 – a brief summary
The Stockport 10 is a slightly unusual race as it’s a 10 mile distance. Most road races are 10k or half-marathon. However it’s a nice bridging distance if you’ve done some 10k races and are wanting to step up to the half-marathon. When I first started running in 2006, I took this exact step. And whilst I’ve not done this run every year since, this is the 5th successive race and I’ll let you work out how many I missed in the interim!
Stockport 10 – conditions
The race occurs usually on the first weekend of December which usually means the weather is ‘unkind’. Indeed in 2015 we were bombarded with hailstones before we’d even set off! Once we had got started, we were subjected to a cloud-burst. So by mile 3, cold and very wet!
This year, something strange happened and the weather was beautiful. Clear, crisp and very sunny. It’s the first time I’ve experienced those conditions, and I’m not complaining.
Stockport 10 – marshals
Best in the business. Seriously, of all the events I’ve undertaken the marshaling at Stockport 10 is one of the best out there. Loads of marshals, loads of encouragement. Everybody is so supportive.
Stockport 10 – The race itself
One change this year was the absence of commentator ‘Tom Potson’, a character provided to the race by actor and Stockport Harrier Tony Audenshaw. Whilst today’s commentator was competent, it just wasn’t the same lunacy as provided in the past.
The route was the same as it has been over the last 2 years, being mostly estate roads with a couple of sections of main roads and a trail section from Romiley back into Lower Bredbury, starting at Stocpkort Harriers’ track in Woodbank Park. No Benny Hill music this year (Cutbacks? Brexit?) but we were off promptly and all was well. I was a little late to the start line and had to start much further back than my target time, but there were plenty of places to pass once getting off the track and into the Park.
I’d planned to try to take things a little quicker than in 2015 when I set my PB for 10 miles. However, due to what could only be described as a ‘freak poisoning incident’ yesterday, I’d been completely out of sorts. So getting around in one piece was actually my aim.
That said, having carved through lots of runners I was up to speed pretty quickly. Perhaps too quickly, as in the second half of the race, I had to slow down a little compared to 2015. Indeed the first main hill which takes the route up to the top of Overdale Road, saw my pace do something a little kamikaze. Thankfully, what goes up must come down and I was able to regain composure (and speed) as we headed out of the estate and onto the trail part of the route.
By the time we returned into Woodbank Park with a strong headwind, I didn’t have much in the tank. Normally I’ll sprint anyone down that I can at the end of a race, but today I just had to settle with following them in. Still, in a time of 66m42s (chip time) it was an improvement over my 2015 time. And with the slower beginning, my chip time was 95th, despite crossing the line 106th.
Better than last year
Two things made the whole experience more fun this year.
Firstly, having joined Stockport Harriers I know so many more people. For me, running has always been a bit of a solitary experience; I turn up, I run, I go home again. So it was lovely to be able to chat to people from my group and a few people recognised me from the Trust 10 (which I am run director) so it was nice to talk about that too.
Secondly, 3 other Lyme Runners took part in the race, a further one was marshalling and a fifth came to support us all. So it was a jolly and social occasion.
Stockport 10 – parking
Due to being at work before the race, I got to the car park very early and was in the first bank of parking spaces. The problem was getting out at the end of the race as the cars were queued all around the car park. I’m not sure what was happening in Stockport but the traffic outside was gridlocked (major road closure apparently), so as a result, the journey away from the race was a little frustrating. Just one of those things, although unlike Tatton, at least it didn’t impact on people actually getting to the race on time.
Stockport 10 – entry cost and goody bag
This is a new section for me. I’m starting to include it because, having looked at the calendar for 2017, there’s been a steady increase in the cost of entering races. So, if you like, this is a rough value for money feeling. Of course this is personal as peoples’ expectations can be wildly different. For example, Stockport 10 is only a 15 minute drive away, whereas other events may require a long drive and/or overnight accommodation.
This year the Stockport 10 cost £19 to enter, which, all in all, I think is reasonable. Especially as it’s on my doorstep. Again it’s difficult to compare directly as there are not many 10 mile races compared to other distances.
Traditionally the Stockport 10 Goody Bag prided itself on being erm. A bit random! Radiator Keys, mealworms, running based top trumps. Quirky and fun. This year, it was very much a standard affair:
– T Shirt
– Note pad of paper
– Drinks bottle
– Money off from the online stores of some of the sponsors
– Usual future race literature
Still a good selection, but a shame that some of the fun has gone.
One big plus is that the event photos were up on Flickr by late afternoon and are free to view and access. More free photos are here too. In addition I discovered that JPK Sports Photography also took some photos. These are pay-for photos, however at £1.25 per high quality image, it represents a superb deal. You can find the Stockport 10 album here.
It’s great to see photos that are both free and others which, while you pay for them, they’re reasonably priced. I’ve been to too many races where afterwards the photo prices are embarrassingly expensive and I wonder if they actually get any business. So full marks here for Stockport 10!
Stockport 10 – conclusion
Well it’s been another enjoyable Stockport 10. We missed Tom Potson, Benny Hill and the madness in the goody bag, but yet again it’s been a fabulous event. A great road race to finish the year on and if you’ve not visited this event, you really need to get it on your list.