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Sunday 10 June 2012

Uphill All The Way

So the Two Castles Run, which has an appealing bio, as it starts in Warwick Castle and finishes in Kenilworth Castle. Meaning it’s an A to B, which I like, and there aren’t too many of them about.

However I was already getting second thoughts about this race when emails started arriving every day, and I mean every day, for about the last three weeks. Many of them referring to the whopping eight pages of race instructions. This is for a mere 10k run, it’s not a Ironman. It’s been a real case of too much information.

The most worrying of which has been repeated dire predictions about the lack of car parking around Warwick Castle (and associated expensive) and a repeated insistence that we be in the Castle grounds for 7.50am. This for a race that already starts too early (for me) at 9am. Hmmm.

So we leave well early, only to find that parking is a doddle. We park in the street by the entrance to Warwick Castle for free.

Spectators are banned from the grounds of Warwick Castle, presumably in case they get to see something historic for free. This is a shame as it would have added to the atmosphere but may also have added to the toilet queues. The toilets were a bit of a cock-up to say the least. I think there were actually enough of them, they were just very badly signposted which meant long queues at the most obvious ones and a lot of people, included women, taking unplanned tours of the immaculately turned out Castle gardens.

The start was on a narrow driveway but congestion wasn’t too much of an issue, despite an entry of 3300. Only as usual, many slower runners starting too close to the front.

There was plenty of water, not that I’d usually partake on a 10k but I did here as it was quite hot. Well I tried to, the first plastic cup I grabbed, exploded in my hand, which is one reason why water in bottles is a better option. Then on the final drinks stop I attempted to grab the fourth cup from the end of the line, only to see another runner grab that one and then others grab the other three. So none there either but almost entirely my own fault that time.

The marshalling was good and I though the route was fairly pleasant, although L disagreed. The first and last few miles were nice, only the middle bit through a few housing estates bored me.

I hadn’t researched the route and perhaps I should have done, as it was pretty much uphill all the way. It’s always a risk that the finish may be higher than the start with an A to B. I don’t think they’ve ever ran it in reverse but it would be a nice idea to have it alternating. The uphillness perhaps partly explains my slow time of almost 46 minutes, only partly.

For our trouble we got an ok t-shirt and a medal, which will be boxed as I’m not into medals and a pile of leaflets in the goodie bag. Not a chocolate bar or anything to eat in sight, which is a bit stingy.

There was an excellent baggage service that whisked your kit to the finish and buses laid on to get you back to Warwick. Although we did question the route the bus took to get us back, it took ages, we could almost have ran back quicker. We also had no idea where it dropped us, as we don’t know Warwick, but we found our way back to the car eventually.

We pop into Leamington on the way home, briefly see Son and collect a large amount of money he’s been laundering for us (sort of) in exchange for some biscuits. I’m quite appalled that Santander charged him a tenner for the honour of issuing him a cheque. I know Spain is on the brink but that’s a disgrace. I’d have threatened to close my account on the spot and got it waived but you can’t expect students to be that savvy. He should have asked for it in cash instead, just to piss them off.

Back home, we head into town. Have a swift one on the roof terrace of the ‘Organ Grinder’, which is only delaying the inevitable which is a visit to the Peacock for the Old Peculiar and then onto the Noor for a curry.

(Sunday 10th June)

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