I did the Great Midlands Fun Run today in Sutton Coldfield, West Midland. This is by far the busiest run I have done so far. I normally sign up to smaller events with a smaller field size. I thought I’d write a blog about my experience so I can refer to it in future.
The race was at 11am. I had to be there earlier and this was a bit tricky as it was a Sunday. I couldn’t get trains there from my house to be on time. I had to take a bus to Birmingham and then get a train from Birmingham New St to Sutton Coldfield. All in all about an hour and a half travel time.
The weather was not so bad. Yes it was raining but it was only drizzly rain. I bumped into some friends at the train station and we headed over to The Parade street where the race would start and finish. We found somewhere to put up a Dr Hadwen Trust Banner facing right on to The Cancer Research Charity Shop.
I then popped off to the loo and changed into my shorts and took off my jackets. When I returned the supports in our group not running, where nice enough to look after my bag for me so I didn’t need to run with it.
I believe there’s about 6,000 people at this event. I’m used to about 500 max. I had no idea where to stand in the line. It was somewhere about 3 quarters of the way to the back. There was a little noise and then by 11:15 people at the front began running.
I never realised how long it would take to pick up the pace. At the start my first lap pace was almost 11 and a half minutes per mile. The second mile wasn’t much better, but then it broke up a bit a and I was able to speed up a bit. I kept a pace I was comfortable with and knew I could handle for many more miles. I knew I would keep myself to roughly this same exertion level until after the half way mark.
About half way I started to pick it up a bit from 8:43 minute miles to 7:55 minute miles. I only had half the distance left to go and it was time. There was a bit of slowing down on a few hills but nothing too major.
At about mile 6 we had to run up, what is locally know as, Cardiac Hill. I slowed down and reduced my stride… I was constantly waiting around each bend, anticipating a steep big hill. Then the path levelled off and I had just ran Cardiac Hill. I’m not being all snooty in saying this… the fellow other Vegans at the end agreed that it didn’t warrant it’s intimidating name.
The rest from here was awesome because it was all mainly just weaving about in and out downhill. I got my pace up nicely and tried to leg it in for the last of the race. Eventually I saw purple and black balloons arched over the road and I kicked it to them thinking it was the finish… then I saw the finish further on. I pulled it together a little longer and got myself over the finish line. The time on my Garmin was 1:13:10 Hr:min:s with an average pace of 8:33 minutes per mile.
When I do a busy run like this again in future I will start much closer to the start line. Perhaps about quarter of the way in or perhaps just a tiny bit further out. Throughout this race I felt like I was just constantly passing people all the time and not many passing me. I was kinda happy with this because I was wearing my Vegan Runners t shirt and a Dr Hadwen Trust Sticker on the back. I especially made a point to jiggle my behind in front of cancer research runners or the British heartless foundation runners as I swiftly passed them 😉
On the other hand, because I had to pass people so much I believe it pulled me back a bit and that first 11:30 minute mile was hard to recuperate later on, as the miles left became less and less.
We did some group pictures later holding banners for Dr Hadwen Trust and Birmingham Animal Action spreading our support. These were of course done in front of the Cancer Research and British Heartless Foundation Charity Shops.
After this I was kindly given a ride home by a fellow Vegan Runner and we stopped off at Cannon Hill Park for some Vegan Grindhouse Street Food Burgers 😀
So next is Birmingham and Black Country Half Marathon and then the JW Ultra 30 miler. There may also be Shirley 10k in August too depending on how I feel nearer the time.
Cheers for reading.