On Sunday 13th October, I am pretty sure there weren't any complaints, more a case of lots exasperated comments from runners and race officials/marshals alike about the 'liquid sunshine' that was falling from the sky.
The rain started pretty much on cue at 6.30am just before the first of the Petts Wood Runners arrived at Willett Rec to commence the set-up of the event and equally on cue only stopped around 2.30pm once almost everything had been cleared up.
2013 was the 7th year that Petts Wood Runners hosted their 10k. To be honest we have been lucky the previous 6 years with fine weather on each occasion, so you could say we were due a wet one and boy did we get a wet one!
Over 800 runners had registered for this year's event and the first of these arrived probably just before 9am to collect their race number and timing chip. By this time, pretty much most of the Race HQ was set up, Marquees, Gazebos and tents erected, the course around the Rec marked out, Start/finishing arch inflated and pegged down, water containers filled (which seemed somewhat ironic) and probably the most important thing, the tea urn was on!
Along with the runners arriving were also 100+ Petts Wood Runner volunteers, who were donning their bright yellow safety vests, getting their final briefing from their team leads and making their way out into the course (not before a nice cuppa first though)
And still the rain fell, as you can imagine, conditions were getting quite boggy underfoot as more and more people arrived. Runners were taking refuge wherever they could and as you can see some were quite resourceful
The rain was not going to dampen anybody's spirits though including Woody the Gorilla our mascot who was being as mischievous as always. Witnesses saw him pinching umbrellas, stockpiling a stash of bananas and giving one or two people a fright. Let's be honest, if you get a tap on the shoulder in a park on a wet Sunday morning in Petts Wood, the last thing you expect to see when you turn round is a 6ft Gorilla!
At 10:10am a warm up routine was led by one of our members, Adele who is also a Personal Trainer. At first maybe only 20 people joined in, but soon people were throwing caution to the wind (and rain) and joining in. Adele certainly made sure everybody was warm, I felt tired just watching it, I doubt if I would have had the energy to run 10k after that!
At 10:25am the runners made their way to the starting area. The fast guys and girls at the front were treated to an impromptu warm-up routine from one of the runners that certainly raised a smile or two. A local celebrity 'The Running Man' (he even has a Facebook page dedicated to him with over 5000 followers) gave a short speech and started the race. Each of the time zones was then started in intervals after that and 671 runners ventured off for 10k of fun, mud & rain.
Getting dirty! Unfortunately due to the conditions, we had to cancel the bouncy castle, but this was not going to stop the kids having fun and at least half a dozen lined up for each of the three age-grouped races. All the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy their lap or two of Willet Rec, including the biggest kid of them all, PWR Chris who was guiding the kids round yet still found time to perform a full length dive and slide in the mud. Each kid (not Chris) was rewarded with a large chocolate medal for their efforts. The parents of these children were rewarded with a wash load of dirty clothes!
There was a double de ja vu as the winning runner entered the Rec a mere 35 minutes after the race had started. Firstly, it was last year's winner Peter Tucker of Bromley & Blackheath Harriers and secondly, Peter also couldn't resist performing a full length dive and slide up to the finish line. Peter finished in (considering the conditions) a very respectable time of 36:04
It was over a minute before the next runner crossed the finish line and after that for the next 70 minutes there was a constant stream of runners. Once each runners crossed the line, some of the PWR marshals had the glamorous job of grappling with muddy legs and removing the timing chips and then the runners were presented with their medal, a banana, a hot samosa and more water just in case they were not wet enough!
Presentations were then made to all of the category winners by Richard Dunstan PWR Club Coach and David Boswell PWR 10k Race Director and as the last of the runners dispersed from Willett Rec, so the clear down began.
1st Male Peter Tucker, Bromley & Blackheath Harriers 36'04"
2nd Male Terry Reeves, Dartford Road Runners 37'31"
3rd Male Stephen Thackeray, Beckenham AC 37'44"
1st Female Jenny Butler, Bromley & Blackheath Harriers 42'04"
2nd Female Clare Reeves, Bexley AC 43'18
3rd Female Carol Penlington, Bromley & Blackheath Harriers 43'39"
Age Group Winners
1st 15-20 Male Nick Perry, Bromley & Blackheath Harriers 40'00"
1st 40+ Male Pat Maher, Unattached 38'29"
1st 50+ Male Tony Durey, Dartford Harriers 40'10
1st 60+ Male Terry Avey, Brighton Phoenix 45' 06"
1st 15-20 Female Kirsten Herpe, Unattached 54'09"
1st 35+ Female Sally Kyle, Dartford Road runners 45'15"
1st 45+ Female Jackie Clarke, Unattached 48'23"
1st 55+ Female Sue Spong, Havering90Joggers 48'33"
1st affiliated male team Dartford Harriers
1st affiliated female team Bromley & Blackheath Harriers
1st unaffiliated team 2 Fast 2 Furious
Local Resident Winners
1st BR5 male Simon Fox 40'10"
1st BR5 female Sui Kee Searle 50'48"
Full results can be found at http://www.chipresults.co.uk/
A BIT OF SCIENCE (A STRANGE WAY OF SAYING THANK YOU)
I am sure that most of you have heard about the 'Fire Triangle'? No? well to have fire you need three things. Fuel, Oxygen & Heat. Take any one of these away and you won't be having a fire.
Well with the Petts Wood 10k, we have our own little triangle of Runners, Sponsors & Petts Wood Runners. Take one of these away and we would be struggling to have an event.
Firstly, Thank You to all the runners. Of the 800 odd registered, 671 turned up and completed the event. A sterling effort!
Secondly Thank You to all our Sponsors and contributors who not only enable us to put on this event, but also enable us to raise more funds for the Harris HospisCare charity.
Pure Lake Group
Heathcliff & Krook Wine Bar
Cocoa Pod Chocs Morrisons
Petts Wood Business Association
Kids Chocolate Medals
Post Race Bananas
Post Race Samosas
Discount on the locally sourced Bacon
SO TO CONCLUDE
I think I can vouch for all the Petts Wood Runners volunteers that despite the conditions we all thoroughly enjoyed it and it is apparent from the wonderful feedback that we have received; most of the runners did also. In fact some of the PWRs enjoyed it so much, some were seen staggering around Petts Wood High Street Sunday evening having toasted a job well done.
We are aware that a few improvements can be made, and with it being our first 'wet' event we have learnt a few lessons. But I can assure you we will strive to put on a better event next year. As I write this there are only 361 days until the next Petts Wood 10k. See you then.
I had a few friends running in this year's event and I have been accused of having a cushy job of sitting under an umbrella taking photos.
Quick plug: Pictures can be viewed and purchased from www.snappyraces.co.uk Only £2.49 (yes that is correct, I haven't missed a 1 off the front) with at least 50% going to Harris HospisCare.
I would just like to publicly defend my good character (ahem) and refute this accusation. I would like to point out that I had been working in the rain for about 3.5 hours before I took refuge (and the umbrella was predominantly to protect the camera equipment). So I was A) soaked to the skin and B) blooming freezing having to sit there for 1.5 hours without moving much more than my right index finger.
So, ner! Very mature I know ;-)