When I first saw the Run for Champagne race the day after my birthday, I couldn’t have planned something better to celebrate turning 29 – and luckily I managed to convince some of my friends to join me.
Fizz and running, with my school friends. MY FAVOURITE.
Sadly, the reality was a little different to what we were expecting….
Let’s start with the good;
- Loseley Park, the location of the race is gorgeous, and although it’s not easy to get to by public transport, it was an easy 45 min drive from South West London.
- The weather was gorgeous, the sun was shining and it was lovely and warm (compared to Sardinia!!)
- The Champagne was legit. We thought it might be a random glass of fizz, but we were given a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne between the five of us.
- The medals were solid, I really liked them. So well designed with a yellow ribbon for 5K and blue ribbon for the 10K finishers.
- It was the first year of the event, and a great idea, so I’m willing to give them a bit of leeway…
And now to the NOT so good;
- The queues… we all needed to collect our race bibs that morning, and despite arriving with over half an hour to spare (ok, maybe we were pushing it), there was an enormous line to get our bibs. The race had actually started by the time we’d pinned our bibs on so we hot footed it to the start and crossed the line right at the back.
- £1 for bagdrop?! We just left all our things in the car – at least the parking was free!
- The course was described as ‘undulating’ and suitable for beginners/intermediates however there wasn’t any elevation profile on the website that made it clear that there were some serious hills…including the one right over the starting line! It was a little discouraging, moreover due to the fact that it was all very trail based with some single track, some hay covered paths and a lot of overcrowding.
- There weren’t any mile markers along the course, which makes pacing really hard, especially for beginners and those of us that forgot our watches/to start Strava! We all recorded the course as very LONG – my friend Jo recorded 5.8KM whilst Steph ran 10.8KM during her two laps.
- We had to queue at the one water station along the way – there were only two girls manning the table and there wasn’t enough water ready for us to grab and go. It caused a huge backlog along the course, plus I think that was the only water station so it meant that in that heat there was only two stops for those doing the 10K course. I’ve actually since heard that they ran out of water completely during the 5K… not good enough especially in the heat.
- There was a lot of single track which slowed things down considerably… not a problem given we were just running for fun but must have been very frustrating for many.
- The announcer clearly hadn’t seen the course and was suggesting that we should be going for a PB – despite the profile, track and heat!
- No food at the end of the course, not even a banana. Given the heat, the Champagne on an empty stomach before 12 o clock all made us feel a little silly!
- For those driving, under 18 or not drinking, there wasn’t another option, like some Elderflower Fizz, instead of Champagne.
Yes, my nails are awful.
Ultimately, this was an event not a race in my opinion. I would be surprised if anyone got a good time on that course and know my friend Steph who took part in the 10K felt similarly at the end of the run. At £36 its a very expensive 5K race – it seems like it’s the same price for both 10K and 5K entry…
The race is coming to Berkshire in August, but I’m afraid I won’t be rushing to sign up.
My friends and I were given complimentary entry to Run to Champagne, all opinions are my own.