Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Beat the Reaper 10k and 1k Fun Run

Andy enjoyed Beat the Reaper so much last year that it was an easy decision to sign up again. It was made even more tempting by the addition of a children's 1k fun run this time so we signed both boys up too. So we drove the 2 hours once more to Croxteth Country Park where the race, organised by Pool Runnings, was held. We headed straight for the hall and collected Andy's running number. A rather ominous looking reaper was hanging about the registration desk, probably checking out which souls he'd like to scare on the course. I didn't even realise that William had even noticed him until I saw this photo posted after the run! The look on his face is brilliant (although I'm not sure it bodes well for our upcoming Zombie Run on Halloween)!

Photo taken by Anna Watkin

We headed over to the children's playground and let the boys play here and on the exercise equipment until it was time to head over to the start line.

The thing I like about this race as a spectator is that it's 2 laps and there are several places to view the runners from. So once we'd waved Andy off we dashed over near the playground again and spotted him shortly after, then dashed to another point to spot him again.

Then at 5km we were able to do it again. Or at least that was the idea. We went over to stand near the water station to watch Andy come round at the halfway point and after putting his costume on, William managed to get himself involved with handing out water to the runners! 'We need to go to see Daddy at the finish' I said. 'I'm a little too busy' was his reply! I gave him a few more minutes then managed to get him over to the finish line.

Andy's chip time was a fantastic 54.36, a whole 5 seconds faster than last year's time. He received a really cool medal and a bright orange technical shirt for his efforts.

After Andy finished we went round to the cafe and got ready for the fun run whilst having a coffee and hot chocolate. Sam's devil costume went on and so did the boys' running numbers. We then headed over to the start again to wait for the last of the 10k runners to come through and the start of the fun run. I think the boys were getting a bit excited!

Andy ran with Sam and William ran independently. I headed down the path a little way to get some photos of the boys coming through. I could hear the DJ getting the kids all excited, jogging on the spot etc. Then came the reapers, who really hammed it up for them. There was a bit of pantomime booing from the kids and the reapers told them they'd never beat them to the finish as they skulked away down the start line. There were huge smiles on the kids faces as they set off.

I did the same as I did for Andy's first km, once both boys had gone past I ran over to watch them come round the building. William did fantastic and I was worried I'd have to abandon seeing Sam come round so that I could get to the finish in time for William but the worry was for nothing as soon after Sam came speeding round the corner with Andy.

After cheering him past I ran over to the finish line in time for William coming through, followed shortly by Sam. William loved seeing a reaper fall to the floor just short of the finish, pretending that a child had tripped him up. These guys were really fantastic.

The boys received the same medal as Andy with an alternate fun run ribbon and a sweetie bag so were extremely happy. Once again, the trip all the way to Liverpool was well worth it for a fantastic morning of running. I am sure we will be back again next year!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Burnley Fire 10k and Fun Run

It was with great trepidation that I registered for the Burnley Fire 10k, mainly because it had the words 'undulating' and 'hilly' in the course description. But it offered a children's fun run and the opportunity to catch up with my parents who live nearby so I registered myself and the boys and we headed to Burnley on the 4th October.

We arrived at the Community Fire Station to pick up our race numbers just after 10am. Parking was in the college just behind the fire station and well marshaled. The fire fighters had an engine or two on display and both boys had the opportunity to sit inside, William even tried on a helmet!

Just before 11am I went with the crowd to the back of the station for the start. I'd had a good look at the elevation map for the course when I registered so I knew where the hills were. Luckily we started on a slight slope downwards and then flat for a bit before starting to climb the first hill. I managed to run up this one, only pausing quickly to tie a shoelace that had come undone. Then between 3 and 4km we had a lovely bit of downhill. Fantastic!

I reached a village and the marshal was pointing up a road that was obscured until you turned onto it. Oh my. And there it was. I knew there was supposed to be a hill here, but hadn't quite grasped the gradient. It was steep, and everyone I could see in front of me was walking. So I didn't feel too bad when I started walking up it too. Once you reached what you thought was the top there were more houses and a left hand turn which revealed more climbing! I managed this bit a little better though with a mixture of running and walking.

The nice thing was that after 6km it was all downhill! I must have managed to pick up a good amount of speed to make up for the walking sections as I reached the finish in 1.05.30 so was extremely happy with that. Plus I earned another medal for the medal hanger!

Fifteen minutes after the 10k runners set off, the children's race started outside the park opposite the fire station. Sam ran with Andy and William took himself round. The distance ended up being about 2.7km. William ran really well, his first km was done in 6.09! I would have struggled to keep up I think. Sam ran really well too, averaging 7.33 minutes per km. Fantastic.

Photo from Pendleside Hospice Facebook page


The boys both received a medal and a certificate.

Both races were well organised and really well marshaled. In fact the marshals were the most cheery marshals I've seen at a race recently. After the run we headed over to the park for a picnic lunch and the boys had a play at the playground! Fantastic day!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Yarrow River Splash 10k and Fun Run

The weekend after my half marathon debut we headed over to Chorley to take part in a trail run organised by Mad Bull Events. Andy signed up to the 10k (there was a 5k option too) and I had signed the boys up for the 1 mile fun run.

We arrived at Chorley in good time to collect running numbers from the HQ in the Flaming Grill pub. We had at least half an hour to wait before heading to the start area in the park down the road so we had a sit down in the pub and watched everyone else come through. William, as usual, managed to make friends with another little boy whilst we were waiting and they were happily chatting to one another.

We headed to the start a little before 9am as that was when the children's run set off. I was running with William and Andy ran with Sam. The run started and William flew down the path through the park. We reached a gate that we had to go around and that led us onto a section of grass. It was very wet and our feet were soaked in seconds. William kept running though, having been reassured that we had spare shoes and socks in the car! A sharp turn half way in saw us head back the way we came but through the woods this time. I just caught sight of Andy and Sam a little ways behind us and it looked like Sam was having a fab run.

William flew through the woods and loved it when we came across a huge fallen log that we had to climb over. He soon picked up the pace again and all of a sudden we were back out on the path and headed to the finish. He received his medal and immediately asked if we could go round again! We walked over to the path and cheered on Sam as he came in shortly afterwards. I think the trail element of the run must be very appealing to little boys!

Shortly after the children's run it was Andy's turn to set off.

He already had wet feet from the grass so wasn't too worried about the river crossings that were coming up! One ended up being only ankle deep but the other was up to his knees. He arrived back in 1hr 5min and collected his medal and tech t-shirt. He said it was a hard run but fun. The only possible drawback for him was that there was no water station (although from looking at the photos afterwards it's entirely possible that a few people had a mouthful of river water when they fell over at the crossing!).

Needless to say we all had a change of shoes when we got back to the car, feeling strangely satisfied peeling our socks off! We all agreed it was well worth the trip to Chorley, the run itself was great and the medal and tech t-shirt made it extremely good value for the registration fee. The boys absolutely loved the fun run so I can see us heading back for next year's run!