By John Grimshaw
So a trip to Blackpool for a 10k race in Stanley park, which I believe is the site for the normal parkrun in Blackpool, was interesting as I had last visited Blackpool 11years earlier for my 40th birthday. It was noted then that it was rather run down and not the forefront of birthday celebrations and to be honest nothing much has changed.
We arrived Friday night and after a relaxing night and good nights sleep, we woke to mainly good weather. The race was situated only 10 minutes away from the hotel via car and although the sign posts were not great to direct you to the race upon arriving, after getting directions from a friendly local, parking was more than adequate.
Once we found the HQ/reception it was easy to get my registration, which left a good hour before the race.. mainly spent in the car… But also allowed for a decent warm up on the running track.
There we plenty of people to help on registration with your race number set out in alphabetical order so was easy to find, the support people asked if I was doing both races as it was being held over two days, Saturday and Sunday, I had entered only for the Saturday 10K so was given my race number and told warm up would be 10 minutes before the race which would start promptly at 11am.
The people were friendly and a few took the time to speak to you and the stewards were helpful and plentiful, as the race was held in a public park they had stewards at all the major intersections and they were both friendly and encouraging.
The actual race consisted of 1 and 3/4 lap of the track before exiting onto the footpath around the outside of the park. We made a loop around the skateboard park, meeting the slower runners, for the first time on the exit before entering the park again but this time to circumvent the boating pond before exiting the park for the last time and then entering it again at the zoo.. Who knew Blackpool has a Zoo! The run itself was undulating but with no hills to talk about I would put it on a par with Newcastle Town moor parkrun for difficulty. Because it was a public park you were warned at the start that the general public had right of way, however if there was a slight disappointment it would be there were a number of dog walkers who were oblivious of everyone around them, nearly causing a number of falls with dog leads! A couple of runners, myself included, had to do a couple of detours to get round groups of people walking, on one occasion 4 abreast in the park even though the race was well signposted, but these were only slight niggles.
Before the final return run to the stadium via a pretty formal garden, entering the stadium (think small Gateshead version) after a further 3/4 lap of the stadium, when I should have taken water (half way) we then repeated the lap, I by this time was hanging on like a limpet!
Still I managed to do a second lap, managed after a lightning.. Ok 4:15 first K then 4:30.4:45, then 5:00 Pretty much the rest except last K 4;30…. Now for this year with the stop/start training due to injury I’m well pleased I managed a 48:19 and came 93rd out of 313. I also managed a pleasing 4th in my age group. The reward was a small medal (fairly nondescript) a bottle of water, waggon wheel and a soreen cake!!!
At the end of the race, you crossed a finish line that had a large clock next to it which made it quite easy to see what time you finished, we were not chipped but as there were 300 odd runners there was only a short delay even starting from the back (think parkrun)
Would recommend the race but not the place!!!