The Glastonbury Road Run is a series of races from a fun run through 3k, 5k and 10k in the town of Glastonbury, home of the Abbey, the festival and the Tor. The 10k flavour we were running is essentially a large undulating loop around the mystical Glastonbury Tor.
I wasn’t exactly feeling fresh, the marathon still ringing through my legs but I thought I’d give it a decent crack nonetheless. There was a medal and a tee shirt, so what wasn’t to like!
We arrived in Glastonbury and parked up at Tor Leisure, a local leisure centre where we were recommended to put the car, as it was only a short walk to the HQ. It wasn’t exactly well signposted, and it advised of the road being closed ahead – which strictly speaking, it was… But it added an element of confusion. a “Race Parking” sign might have been useful next to the “Road Closed” sign.
One of the things we noticed headed to the start was all the “Millfield” students in different coloured tee shirts. There were hundreds of them! Millfield is the local private school and it turns out each Millfield boarder MUST take part in one of the races. I guess “house” pride and personal glory is at stake. We witnessed the start of the 3k – testosterone fuelled teenagers sprinting the first 50 yards – no doubt they blew up early on and ended up walking most of the race!
The finish was right outside of the race HQ. The problem was, getting to the HQ meant you had to cross the course, go all the way around the back of the finish funnel in order to get your number. Not ideal. When we eventually made it into the registration area, it was a bit chaotic, with advanced entry packet pickups being separated by Surname – but no signs to indicate who should queue up where. When you did see the signs (They were on the table, which meant you couldn’t see them from the back of the queue) they didn’t necessarily equate to the packets that were there!
Anyway, we eventually sorted all of that out (I had number 111, which looked like a barcode! Which I thought was pretty cool but no-one else agreed…) and headed for the start. According to the race information there was a special starting zone for club runners, right at the front! I was quietly impressed, I’d never been invited to start from the front before! (Yes I know its hardly a GFA or champs start ha ha). Only problem was it didn’t actually exist, so there was no starting areas based upon pace. But not such a big deal really, there were only 600 or so runners.
As we lined up to the start the sun started coming out, which we thought would be a blessing! That lasted about 1 mile before I was moaning about being too hot!
Unfortunately the race was delayed as one of the Millfield buses broke down on the way to the race, and we had to wait for them to arrive. I couldn’t (and still can’t) understand why when there are 600+ people waiting to start, we had to wait for 40 odd people to arrive. it was chip timed after all! But never mind.
Before long we were off. From the start we headed down through the high street through the finish before heading out of town. The support was BRILLIANT! The streets in town were lined 3 deep, cheering people on. It really was a great atmosphere. We then progressed on a large loop around the Tor – Not that I actually saw it!
The loop took us out into the countryside along some undulating country lanes, and despite it not being a fully closed roads race, I think I only saw two cars. It was pretty undulating though, and had 80m elevation gain, which is quite a lot compared to other 10ks I’ve raced!
This did mean my pacing was shocking though. I was targetting a sub-42 (rather optimistically), and though I went through halfway just about on target, my marathon fatigued legs soon started falling apart. I had my eye on Simon ahead of me and whilst I was gradually catching him (He was also not having a particularly good race) I had nothing in the tank to catch him. I was overtaken by Chris from the running group and club after about 8k and managed to keep in in sight to the end.
As I got to the 9k mark there was the Glastonbury equivilent of “Heartbreak Hill” and my word it was tough! There was some support here as we were back in town, and someone event shouted “Come on parkrun guy!” but my legs were screaming! I gradually made my way to the top where it levelled off for a bit.
What do you need when you’ve just rinsed your legs at 9.5k? Oh yes, a photo op! But always one for a posing opportunity, did managed to do the “double thumbs” (I need a new pose) and make it look like “It wasn’t that tough!”
This was followed by a long downhill finish into town and more magnificent support. It was the best finish for a local race I’ve ever seen, rapturous cheering, and a cheeky “After the marathon this should be easy!” from @bentimmo. But believe me, my legs were in bits. If I had anything left the finish would have been fast and enjoyable but instead it was a miserable sufferfest!
Coming through the funnel we earned a medal (Though it was the same as last years apparently, no date embossed anywhere so a bit “generic”) and walked over to get something to drink. I saw Simon, and we both agreed it wasn’t a great deal of fun! Though I think that was largely due to our own lack of conditioning at the moment.
We then headed back along the course to cheer Jodie in. She, despite running London last week and the course being tough, managed to PB – so I was very proud of her!
Although I didn’t really enjoy the event, I have to say the race was very good. I think with a few small tweaks to make things a bit more streamlined it could be really excellent. More organisation in Registration with a couple of signs, better parking directions, and a better planned finish area to make it easier to get in and out of HQ would be a good start. I’m also not a fan of the medal and prefer something more customized year on year. Pre-registrations also received a free technical tee which was nice, though the colour scheme wasn’t to my taste, training tops are training tops!
The crowd support was amazing though sparse on the back end of the course, and the course was undoubtedly pretty. Its not PB friendly but does have some character. At the moment, I’m not keen on running it again, but they may yet change, as I think I have a score to settle with it!