This was my 4th weekend of races. First it was my local 10k, then Edinburgh, then my virtual run and this weekend Turks Head 10km Fun Run. Being billed as a fun run made me a little anxious as to what to expect! I read through the instructions last night and was immediately confused. There was mention of numerous places ‘to be’. Although billed as the Turks Head 10 it didn’t start there. It started somewhere else. So we popped in the postcode of the start place into the sat nav this morning and unfortunately didn’t end up there! So we tried another place that was mentioned in the instructions. A different pub, and we again weren’t anywhere near the start. Eventually after half an hours driving around we found a place to park in a residential street and then spotted some runners with race numbers on and followed them for the 20 minute walk to the start area! The start area had no official toilets so we found some in the park that it was near and used those before heading around to the start, or what we thought was the start! It wasn’t! The start was further around the corner and down a street! We sheltered under some shade whilst we were waiting and were then treated to a trumpet fanfare before the start. Pretty unique! There was then a speech however we only heard the first minute or so before people started talking and we couldn’t hear anything else.
The first few kms were around streets which was ok, pavements were fairly wide so passing was possible, it was rather cramped though. We then headed up and over teddington lock, this was an annoying bit where we had to walk. The bridge is insanely narrow and we had a dog walker in front of us screaming at her dog to be at heel, it wasn’t, it was running up the bridge to play with another dog and getting in the way, as was the owner. Eventually we got around them but the single file continued at a slow jog pace. There were then bollards as you came down the other side and 4 poor cyclists were being kind enough to spend 10 minutes letting us all pass through which was much appreciated but I felt bad for them. It was then onto the towpath for more a less the remainder of the run. It was muddy, which cant be helped with the rain but what was difficult about that was that as the race is run at 1030am the towpaths were busy on a sunny sunday so you were constantly dodging. Eventually the water station was in sight just after 5km and I was gutted to see the water was in half filled cups, at that point in the insane heat I could have done with a bottle of water that I could have carried with me! 2km further on there was a beer and canapés stop… yes … beer… on a run! I didn’t see anyone in front of me take any but did see a woman pass me a bit later trying not to spill her beer! Personally I was hallucinating that they had water! It was so hot it would have really helped to have had another water station. We continued on down the river before being directed up a steep sharp slope to the top of the bridge. Not fun in heat. It was then over the bridge and back on ourselves towards the finish. The finish itself was on a bend, something I found really frustrating as I like a sprint finish, I can’t sprint well around a u bend shape with my knees, I’m a straight sprinter! I crossed the line and stopped my garmin and desperately needed water. Instead I was greeted with a goody bag (containing more beer, medal, chopsticks, fortune cookie, mousemat, gatorade and two waterbottles (empty)) and passed a tshirt in a random size! No clear sign of where the water was and I was gagging for it at that stage. I eventually located it with the help of my friend and downed 5 cups of water, why they couldn’t just hand out bottles I don’t know as the guy had to top my cup up with two bottles! We then sought out some shade whilst I overcame the horrendous dehydrated sick feeling! My friend spotted some water bottles being used as a step for people to stand on and grabbed us a couple. Personally I think it would be better for water to be being handed out along the finishing funnel, in that heat thats what you need! Thankfully there was plenty of shade in the finishing area so we were able to sit and chill for a minute and cool down before we made the 20 minute trek back to the car.
Would I do it again? No. It was definitely more fun run that serious run which is great if its your only event of the year etc but if your someone that prefers more serious races, which it seems I do (Who’d have thought) then I wouldn’t suggest this one. The medal is a nice quality medal though and I did like that! I’m a bling addict. The free tshirt isn’t a technical one sadly so will be popped in the drawer for winter pj use! If your local and want to test yourself then I’d say go for it, it seemed to have a nice community spirit to it. If your not local and like to chase PBs or have well organised finish areas then maybe its one to skip.