So whilst on a run last year I had run past Stanborough lakes in Welwyn and seen a sign saying “Poppy Run“- I had no money with me so no chance of entering, but I filed it away in my brain and this year signed up in advance.
The route started less than 2 miles from home, at 11am, and it was the day the clocks went back, so I had been up for a long time. I had porridge for breakfast, as although usually I don’t eat before I run, it was going to be a long time. Then I jogged down there for a gentle warm up.
It was a lovely low key event- you queued up at the gazebo in the car park to collect your number and t-shirt (this was taken at the end!), and the start was right next to it. The t-shirt was cotton, and I don’t normally like to run in them, but I didn’t want to be “that person”- anyway I had on a long sleeved breathable top, so it went over the top of that just fine. I was wearing a jacket on the way, but it was way too warm for 3 layers so left my top in the gazebo while I ran- so much easier than a bag drop!
They didn’t have a warm up (thankfully) but they did have a man from the British Legion talking about their events, and the fundraising. The local MP (Grant Shapps) was there to start the race, and he told us all he was going to run it, but would take a short cut to ensure that he was back to give out the medals to all the finishers.
The route was around the lake- two laps of the lake, and then two shorter laps (there is a bridge that cut the lake in half so you did that for lap 3 and 4).
It was an interesting mix of people; lots of families and small children (including one with a very small child on a scooter- good plan!), but some club runners too. One lady was wearing a Yorkshire marathon finisher’s t-shirt, which did seem a bit like overkill for a 5k that was not even timed. One guy was running in shorts, club vest and a massive bobble hat. It was quite a cold morning!
We counted down from 10, and then we were off. I tried to stay fairly near the front, as the paths are fairly narrow and I didn’t want to get stuck behind people walking it. The runners thinned out fairly soon, and I got into a good rhythm. It is a small lake, but quite pretty, and I enjoyed the route. The MP overtook me on my second lap, and I didn’t see him again- I think that he may have had to finish to be there in time for the speediest runners.
I glanced at my watch a few times to see 9 something which was good, and all of a sudden it was my final lap and I was heading over the little bridge to the finish straight. As I stopped my hand was shaken, I was presented with a medal and told “15th finisher, well done”- that took me by surprise! Of course it was not a competitive race (no clock or chips etc) but there were quite a few club t-shirts and “serious” runners at the start, so I didn’t expect to be that high up!
The finish straight- Grant Shapps in his t-shirt and shorts handing out the medals.
I asked someone to take my picture (she had already done so for someone else!) and then picked up my jacket. My face matches the poppies!
I attempted another selfie to show that the running tights were finally out of the drawer- sad times.
I texted Andy as he said he would come and pick me up- I could have run the 2 miles home, but we had afternoon plans (well, tea and cake at John Lewis….) so didn’t want to get home too late. Although he couldn’t get to the car park so I ended up running a bit of the way home. It was only when I got in the car that I realised my Garmin was still going- whoops!
The goody bag was also really good- as well as snacks- nature valley bar, ritz biscuits, sweets, peanut butter, it had a poppy wrist band and pin.
The medal was good too. The t-shirt is cotton, so no good for running in really, but I have seen on their website that they have started making technical t-shirts too, so I wonder if next year they will up the entry fee (it was only £10, plus a booking fee, although you could donate more) and include one of those instead.
At some point I will try and work out my time, but really that was not what the run was about at all. I really enjoyed it and think that the event would be great for a first “race”, and equally would be enjoyed by seasoned runners. I am sure I will be back next year too, which is always the biggest test.
Are your running tights out yet? I though they were out for good, but on Tuesday morning I went for a run in capris and a vest as it was so warm!
17 thoughts on “Poppy Run 2014”
People who wear marathon shirts to short, fun events really irk me. It just seems like showing off and being totally arrogant about it. I get wanting to be proud of your achievement, but bragging about it is totally unnecessary. It’s like they’re saying, ‘Ha, I can run so many more miles than all of you,’ and my response to that is generally that Christian Bale ‘Gooooood for you!’ clip that I still love so much.
I will put away my running shorts when Hell freezes over…although given some of the winters we’ve had up North, that could very well be a real possibility. Honestly though I never need anything covering my legs unless temps drop below zero substantially. I am a human hot water bottle.
Sounds like a great race and huge congrats on your placing 😀
Yeah I feel like that too – yes be proud of your marathon but this was an event mainly with families and kids – a proper fun run.
I don’t run fast enough to keep all if me warm in the winter !
Not to be controversial here ladies but…I didn’t see anything wrong with her wearing that t-shirt? (Not that you said it “wrong” per se…just out of place) Is it overkill to be proud of running that marathon? Maybe it was her first marathon and she was just really chuffed and liked the t-shirt? I wear my Paris one to work sometimes!! I’d wear my medal too all day long if I could ;-P
She did look like a seasoned runner- compression socks/ tight shorts etc, and she was very fast. I know, I do think be proud of your achievement- I like wearing my Stockholm one but don’t think I would wear it to any race, let alone a fun 5k.
I suppose for 5k “fun run” I see your point. Bit extreme! She clearly meant business hehe. Is your Stockholm t-shirt a cotton shirt? I wouldn’t wear a cotton t-shirt to run in, only technical. If I get a free cotton race t-shirt it tends to become PJ-wear.
No it is a technical one (my first technical race one) so I wear it on training runs, but I think if I wore it to a race and the finished last it might look silly too!
Cotton ones for me become decorating/ allotment ones, or get cut up and used as rags/ dusters!
Well done on the run Maria, 15th place is awesome! It sounds like the kind of race I love, low key and local for a great cause.
The goody bag looks fantastic, especially the peanut butter!
Yes it was lovely and low key- also all over the country so worth looking for one local to you next year.
Congratulations on your race and coming 15th…well done! It’s for such a wonderful cause too. Lovely that you remembered to enter a year later after initially seeing the race. I think a lot of people would have forgotten.
I like local races so try to keep an eye out.
Sounds like a lovely low-key race. It’s so nice to have those occasionally where you really feel like every runner properly counts, rather than juts another bib and entry fee.
I am still running in my shorts and compression socks as the weather is strangely so warm, but when it gets really cold then I’ll change to leggins but probably transition to capris first…stagger the layers basically so I appreciate them more! But I’ll always whip out the gloves asap because my hands just never get warm.
I think because it was solely for raising money for the British Legion that it seemed more inclusive and friendly than other events can be.
I like gloves but tend to take them off after a mile or so as my hands warm up quickly- it’s strange bits of me like my stomach or thighs that never get warm.
Well done on the race. I’m still in my shorts and hoping that lasts for another few weeks yet!
I don’t brave shorts in the summer ! Capri’s are back though it is so mild again.
Well done on coming 15th! It sounds like a really enjoyable low-key race. Great goodie bag for £10 as well!
I have been running in running tights for a little while. We do an evening trail run on Wednesday nights that is often through nettles and brambles and I don’t want to cut my legs to shreds! Any races I’m still in shorts and a vest top though.
Ouch- leggings seem like a good idea to save your legs!
Yes it was so reasonable, well organised and simple.
What a great idea! I’m surprised we don’t have anything like that down here (I live about 4 miles from a Royal Marine training facility). Congratulations on the 15th place though – that’s excellent!
The weather doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up at the moment – I’ve seen lots of posts on Instagram with people making the wrong choice (too hot or too cold) in their workout gear.