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british-10k-finishTwo weeks ago saw the start of a new bi-weekly debate among bloggers where a number of us will post our view on a specific topic. You can find out more about this project at The first topic was The Olympics One Year On: Did We ‘Inspire A Generation’? Now for debate number 2: Would You Ever Pay £50 ($75) For A 10k Race?

The inspiration for this debate topic was two big budget events that recently took place in the UK, one of them – The British 10K – I took part in, so the quick answer to would I ever pay £50 ($75) for a 10k race is yes, I already have!

Why Did I Pay £50 ($75) For A 10k Race?

Well, first of all let me say that since I started running in June 2012 (in fact before I started running) I’ve always wanted to run through the streets of London (Reason 1). Maybe it is the London Marathon being on TV every year, but whatever the reason it was on my ‘bucket list’. So one of my reasons for paying £50 to run a 10k was the chance to run through London. You may say why not do the London Marathon? Well, I’m in the ballot for 2014 and crossing everything that I get a place. The British 10k was guaranteed entry, so I guess that is reason number 2.

Reason 3? After many races events I am inundated by emails from one of the marathon photo companies. These guys send you a nice link to a picture of yourself either mid race or crossing the finish. The pictures are normally great, but also £20+. The British 10k included a free photo in the entry fee. Working on the basis that I have (on occasion) purchased some of these pictures this essentially reduced the entry fee to £30!

british-10k-medalReason 4? Many races give you a T-shirt when you finish. These are normally T-Shirts I will where that day, but almost certainly never again. They are typically low quality and completely inappropriate to run or train in. Even the T-Shirt from the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon with an Adidas logo on the front wasn’t made by Adidas. Us runners like ‘technical’ shirts, that is t-shirts designed to wick sweat away from the skin. Entry to the British 10k included two technical tops, one short sleeve and one long sleeve. Approx cost of two technical tops? Based on the ones I own I’d say at least £30, so the race was free! (oh and we got a finisher’s medal too)

Would I Do The British 10k Again?

If the first question (Would You Ever Pay £50 ($75) For A 10k Race?) got a one word answer, then I guess this question deserves one too. The answer, put simply, is NO!

Why? Well once again there are several reasons. The difference here is they all boil down to one underlying factor – poor organisation.

Reason 1? A friend of mine that was also running the race hadn’t received her race pack a week before the event. On calling the organisers she was advised it was sent out just 4 days before the event by second class post! She had to collect a new race number in London the day before the race in order to take part.

british-10k-road-closureReason 2? My family and I stayed in the Holiday Inn Camden – a great hotel in an awesome location. The problem was that the Northern Line was closed the weekend of the race and our hotel was on the Northern Line. Plan B was to catch the bus, but some of the roads close to the race were closed and hence the bus route was cut short and we had quite a long walk to the start (with my 4 year old!). Were the travel disruptions made clear and obvious by the race organisers? No. Did they know about the disruption? I guess so given they put signs up!

Reason 3? The race started late. At the time we were due to start Katrina and the Waves, sorry Katrina without the Waves started a 3 song set for us runners. 3 songs, really? Not being funny but I thought they only had one! Walking on sunshine was the last song performed and although Katrina tried hard to get crowd participation by then we were bored and wanting to start. Did the race start after the 3 songs? No, we then had a speech from the Mayor. Not Boris however, but the Mayor of Westminster. I’ve no idea what she said. Her mic was too quiet and frankly all of the runners were talking about how we were late getting started and how it was getting hot.

Reason 4? This is the main reason – the start was not grouped by ability. I can comfortably run 10k at a pace below 8 minutes per mile, yet during the British 10k I had one mile that took me more than 9 and a half minutes. Yes, it was a hot day, but my pace was slowed down due to the sheer volume of slower runners in front of me. Please British 10k can you group runners by ability!

Early this year I ran the Disney 5k – part of the Disney marathon weekend. Now, Disney knows how to manage a race start. I wasn’t in the quickest wave, but I was back at the start before the last (slow) wave had even started. Maybe it’s there experience of managing queues all day at the theme park that helps! Disney also do an excellent job on the pre-race expo, finish line atmosphere / entertainment and gave out great medals and race packs. One day I plan to go back and run their marathon.

Do you get what you pay for?

If you use the British 10k as an example and focus on the race pack then yes. If you look at the enjoyment then no. It is no fun trying to dodge walkers when you would like to get a personal best!

Should race fees reflect the race distance?

This is a bit like measuring cars on nothing but miles per gallon. If I was to judge the fee to enter versus the time to complete the race then all 10ks are a rip off! A marathon takes me approx 4 hours or 240 minutes. A 10k is nearer to 45 minutes or 19% of the time. This implies 10ks should cost about a fifth of the cost of a marathon, based on my first marathon in Edinburgh this means a 10k should be less than £7!

Would I pay £50 for a 10k again?

Maybe if the event felt ‘special’ for example, if it was in the right location and/or included a good race pack, but I would also look at reviews of previous events to understand how well organised it was on race day! Enjoying the event is the most important factor.

Cystic Fibrosis A Race We Must Win2013 Miles in 2013

This year I am trying to complete 2013 miles self-powered miles. It is has been 10 years since my cousin’s son Adam lost his fight with Cystic Fibrosis. Adam was just 18 years old when when he lost his lifelong battle with CF, the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. Despite spending large parts of his short life in hospital Adam never once complained, not even of a headache and was determined to make the most of everyday.

My 2013 miles in 2013 challenge is in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles, in April I completed 192.1 miles, in May I completed 168 miles and in June I completed 145 miles. If you can please spare £10.98 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page:

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.