by Steve Kimberley
First of all, my first impression of the Plymouth 10k was that of the staff with whom I was in contact with on behalf of Trek and Run. All of whom were extremely helpful and highly organized in being able help us make it to the race day.
Something that was really drawing me towards the Plymouth 10k was how it would give a welcome chance run a road race in the fresh Devon air, beautifully salted by the English Channel.
As with all well-organized races all your information sent out in the two weeks prior to the race. This included a race book featuring the long awaited race map that I had been looking forward to. Having never run the raceÂ before and having had heard lots about the size and overall character of the race IÂ was excited to map out the scenes that I would be passing during the race.
As a fan of the Plymouth Barbican (and The Hoe,) I was a bit disappointed to see that the race would not be passing the Smeatons Tower lighthouse, which adorns all of the â€˜Welcome to Plymouthâ€™ signs (along with the portrait hanging above my desk). In fact, the route itself was a tiny bit plain and missing some of the sights that I was sure we would pass by. Now while the scenery is still infinitely better than many other similar races that I have taken part in, I felt that the route could have seen a lot more of the Plymouth seafront instead of just turning back on itself at the halfway point.
Route aside, the race was very easily accessible and parking couldnâ€™t have been easier, and the race village was well and truly alive with race sponsors Heart FM filling the air with motivational messages and regular updates regarding the start time. No chance of missing the start then.
What followed was probably the largest group warm up that I have ever seen. A pair of young ladies from Virgin Gym took to the podium for a frenetic musical warm up that lasted well over ten minutes and had, what seemed like the entire 2000+ runners joining in and giving it their all. ThisÂ photograph shows the whole of Princess Street looking more like something out of an early morning rave than a pre race warm up.
Something that put a bit of a dampener on the main straight of the run was the minute or so when the race passed by the local train depot, which unfortunately filled the air with a nasty mix of exhaust fumes and oil. This was only for a very short time though, and the wonderful sea air ensued shortly afterwards.
Something that really made this race stand out from other races was the overall level of support that everyone running seemed to have. Along with one of the most enthusiastic teams of staff, even the runners themselves were yelling outÂ words of encouragement to each other more than I have heard on any other race. In fact, cries of â€œcome on Plymouthâ€ became so frequent that they were hard not to join in with.
Groups of runners dressed as the starting 11 from ‘Queens Park Rangers’, and a mob of girls dressed as ‘Whereâ€™s Wally’ helped add to the animated and friendly feel of the race, which genuinely could not have been more relaxed.
The crowds that lined the sides of the streets were also livelyÂ and supportive all the way through the race, showing as much vigor to those at the back of the race to those in the lead. And while this was nowhere near the biggest crowd I have seen at a race, it was by far the largest turn out of supporters to a 10k that I have ever seen.
While I found the one water station at the halfway point more that suitable, the fact the this race is so inclusive to professionals and beginners alike, I overheard quite a few fellow runners wishing out loud for more water stations, so perhaps this could be a race to bring a bottle to.
After finishing the race, we were greeted by a very supportive and friendly team of volunteers, who gave us our post-race fruit and a very good quality finisherâ€™s medal.
The announcements continued; bringing home the competitors until the very last runners crossed the line.
While a very enjoyable race, I really wished that it included a bit more of Plymouth, which are still a novelty to Londoners like myself.
To discover more about the Plymouth 10km, please visitÂ http://www.plymouth10k.co.uk/