On Sunday we headed over to Bath for the Running Festival, organised by Relish Running Races. Taking place on the same day, there are a variety of distances to choose from – 5k, 10k, Half Marathon (16 miles) and the Full Marathon. I wasn’t running this one but playing the part of marshal whilst Dan, Juliet and Alan ran the full and half marathon.
Having enjoyed a lovely Saturday of sunshine, the heavens opened on Sunday morning and it was set to be a soggy one – all day. Bath isn’t too far from here, it took about 1 hour 10 minutes to get there. The advantage of early morning races – clear roads!
The start and finish for the race was at the University of Bath, a fantastic location. Plenty of (free) parking and a short walk to the start. Due to the weather, most people were staying in their cars until they had to get out and run.
Registration was open just before 9. There are no timing chips for this race, but there was a timing board at the finish.
As I was marshalling, we left the start to set up the fuel station and directions. I was in team 1, which meant we had the responsibility of making sure the 10k and marathon runners all went the correct way!
The marathon and half marathon runners set off at 10am, so it wasn’t a long wait until we saw them all to direct them through the first loop. Everyone had a big smile on their face, even though it was pouring with rain. It felt like a really great atmosphere and mix of runners.
15 minutes later, the 10k and 5k race started and we were soon welcoming the other side of the bridge. The rain has eased off a little and we had a short break before the marathon and half marathon leads would be passing us to make it out to their big loop.
Once the final 10k runner had passed, we moved the fuel station to ensure there was a final pit stop after the all the hills. By this point the running crowds had completely disbursed and runners were coming though in pairs or by themselves.
Even though the marathon and half marathon runners were feeling the burn, they were still in great spirits and took time to thank the marshals (and some even stopped and had a chat).
As I didn’t run the course, below is Dan’s account of the marathon course.
“One of the top races I have ever run that had the friendliness of a massive parkrun. The marshals were epic all the way around the course and I struggled to hold it together approaching the final feed station, when the entire crowd of marshals were clapping me.
It was a long distance trail run, mixed in with stretches of Hell Runner terrain (minus the bog of doom). Reaching the trig point on Solsbury Hill felt like being part of a fell running race – huge exposure to the elements mixed in with rain, mist and amazing views. Reaching the top of the hills and taking a look over the valley into Bath was an incredible sight. Even if it was raining.
The hardest part of the entire course was running along the canal tow path. It felt relentless, flat and difficult underfoot compared with the terrain I had just been experiencing. It seemed to drag on for miles.
After the final hill, I was happy to see the duck pond, knowing there were only a few hundred meters left until the finish was in sight. Tough but brilliant run. I’ll be back next year!”
If you ran the race, take a look at my photos over on Flickr – all are free to download for personal use.
Well done to all the runner – amazing effort by all and thanks for all the smiles!