I missed out on this one last year and I got massive FOMO as Susie said I would because I couldn’t figure out the logistics of getting there early enough on the day. I decided to do Richmond Kew Gardens 10k instead and really enjoyed that last year but with the change of route and day I decided I’d give RunReigate a go with so many recommendations.
I got a very kind offer from the guys at Breathe Unity asking if I’d like a place – well I’m not one to turn down an offer of a race entry – as always, blog is written honestly & truthfully.
The Saturday I packed my bags and headed into Central London for Lunch and Theatre with a friend before getting on a train in the middle of a rainstorm to Gatwick. Two failed Uber requests, a 15minute wait and finally I was on my way to Reigate to my AirBnB. Key under the mat, no one home and I felt like an intruder. Unpacked my bag, charged my phone and before long I was back out of the door on my way to Reigate centre.
Then I feared for my life, walking down a dark alleyway in a town but I
I made it to join Katherine and Caroline for dinner. I was already late but still had time to order and inhale my pasta before the ladies took my to Morrison’s to find cake. Cake was the main priority but I stock up on water and porridge – proper athlete and all that!
Sunday morning I was up bright and early, made my porridge which turned into one large globule of oats and water in the pot so ended up in the bin. I had my usual strong coffee and got some rice krispies from the kitchen downstairs and chomped down a banana.
My AirBnB was only a 10minute walk down to Priory Park where the race starts from in central Reigate. Instantly noticed it was a pretty chilly morning. Quick walk down the hill and the event village was buzzing, I had a little walk around looking for the RaceCheck and Breathe Unity guys only to see Pip (@FZP7) coming bounding towards me and squeezing all my organs out with a huge hug!
I found the rest of the UKRunChat crew and numerous photos proceeded as more and more people turned up – I lost count in the end of how many of us there were. I kept my coat on for as long as I possibly could before dropping my bag in the huge marquee in a second.
I took the chance to have a second visit to the loos – where there were zero queues – first race ever where there’s been no queuing for bag drop and loos.
8:50 and it was time was time to get into the pen, There weren’t any waves as such but to be honest it didn’t really need it and before long we were off, spot on time, albeit I didn’t see the BMF warm up – not that I usually take part anyway.
Gave Susie & Kelly Holmes a wave up on stage then it was out of the park. There was a bit of a bottleneck on the way out as there were some tight turns getting out of the park as well as someone walking in the opposite direction to the whole field which is never going to end well.
We were onto the road and there it was……a flipping great hill, right there, staring you in the face before you’d even ran a quarter of a kilometre….great.
I ran up what I thought was most of it until i turned a slight bend only to see hundreds of runners going up further. I decided that I didn’t need to run all the way up the hill, I didn’t want to blow up early on so had a little walk to the top.
I really enjoyed the downhill and decided I’d at least run to the 5k point which took us past pubs and out onto some lovely country lanes where the 10k and half split. Then there’s a really nice switchback and shared hi-5’s with James, Louise, Caroline, Jemma (we love a mid race hi-5), Mike, Sally, probably a few others too. As I made the turn back I was cheering the runners coming the opposite way when someone asked why I wasn’t wearing my unicorn horn?
I skipped the first water station but grabbed a bottle at the second. Then it was off into the estate and the community really came out to support – they were there with bottles of water, haribo, jelly babies, there were kids hi-5’ing along the roadside, people cheering and some hanging from their bedroom windows in their dressing gowns cheering us along.
Next it was out onto the country lanes and although there was no support there were marshals who were offering tons of support and the cows came over to give the occasional moo of support and I really enjoyed that part as I started to knuckle down and concentrate on the next person in front.
After 6km I started to pick a few people off as I had a target of catching the lady in pink before the finish.
I was still moving well and limited my walk breaks to 2min and only when there was a hill. Oh and there was a hill…..one heck of a hill. Jemma told me there was a bit one at about 9km but this was only 8km, it was so steep they even felt the need to put a sign up to say the there was a steep decline down the other side. Coming down the other side was, interesting, it was such a steep hill I found it difficult to let go completely until it flattened out a bit, but it was lovely once it did.
By the time I got to the bottom of the hill 9km came up, which came up surprisingly quickly – like I hadn’t been running that long at all – maybe due to doing some long runs lately, it felt like the race was over in a flash.
I vowed to run all the way to the finish and soon turned back into Priory Park where the support was incredible & I couldn’t bring myself to walk in front of all these people cheering for me. I tried to spot the finish village but it all looked so far away, I kept plodding along, still feeling like I was running strong.
Finally the big stage came into sight and there was a figure waiting for me – only Dame Kelly Holmes! We shared a hi-5 and we ran together for a bit while chatting before she stopped and let me finish – clearly couldn’t keep up with me!
The crowd were amazing, all down the right hand side of the finishing straight so decided to hi-5 my way home and it was fantastic – felt like I was winning the race not coming x from the back.
Finished, and really happy. I can genuinely say I didn’t care about the time and I loved every bit of it – even the hills as they made it interesting. Only 30seconds over my current PB from nice and flat Brighton, I like to think if Reigate hadn’t had those two big hills in I would’ve PB’d for sure.
A photographer asked me to get my medal from Miss Surrey, if you insist! Banana, water and a buff (love a good buff) and a moment to breathe.
Then caught up with Mike who I knew from the Chase The Sun races and was honoured that he asked me to be in his video for his 186th medal (you have no idea how hard I had to concentrate to do 1-8-6 with my hands after finishing a race – head was frazzled)
First thought – I loved it, yes there were hills but they made it interesting, the route was fantastic, half housing estates with tons of support and half in beautiful countryside. The support was brilliant, the marshals were also fantastic and they were at every single corner, along with signage so you couldn’t get lost. Water stations were all around the course – at least three for the 10k which was more than enough.
Post race, bag was already in the scouts hand to offer it back to me, quick stop at the portaloo and off to find peeps again. I found Catherine, saw Paul arrive home before finding Becs and Carole from BreatheUnity and having a good chat about some very exciting things to come. Rocked out to the band on stage who were playing some awesome classic tunes, before missing Jemma and Stu at least twice
Finally found Katherine after she finished (and smashed her PB by a ridiculous 16 minutes) and caught up with fellow katzenjammers Nick and Natasha – who gave me some good tips for next weekend – get drunk & enjoy it basically.
Time for a pic with Dame Kelly and then an Ice Cream before heading off to find an Uber to get home.
All in all, a fantastic day, loved the event, up there as one of my favourites – definitely one I’m adding to my list for next year.
You can ready my review of the race (abridged version) on RaceCheck: https://www.racecheck.com/races/intersport-run-reigate-half-marathon-10k
I’d thoroughly recommend RunReigate – it’s great for the runners but also great for families too, so much going on around the event Village it was on a comparable scale to some big half marathons.
Would I do it again – without a heartbeat – would gladly do it again & maybe even the half next year as that’s had good commendations too.
Entries for next year are already open: http://www.jellyfish.co.uk/runreigate/