It’s Grim up North are a company that run races in and around the Leeds area and have a number of races that they run throughout the year for all abilities. For more information on the runs that they organise see http://www.itsgrimupnorthrunning.co.uk/grim-up-north-running-events
I took part in “Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble” which took place the weekend before Halloween (hence the theme). The event itself had a number of distances; 5k, 10k, half-marathon, 20 miles, full marathon and Ultra. We met in a local sports and social club to collect our race number and chip timer. The chip timer was quite chunky and on a Velcro band which we had to strap to our ankle. Looked a bit like we were on release and had been tagged lol.
As there were a number of races going on, the times had been spread across the day. Ultra, marathon, 20 mile and half-marathon all picked there numbers early and the 10k and 5k picked up later. Once numbers were collected it was about a 10 minute walk to the start of the race which was on the Leeds/Liverpool canal, starting at a place called Kirkstall. Each of the different races had a different coloured race number making it easier for the organisers to track who was coming in to the finish. There wasn’t much at the actual start point of the race, a tent to store luggage and a gazebo for the organisers and the table full of cakes.
It was a staggered start for the races; ultra at 9:30, marathon at 9:40, 20 miler 9:50 and then half at 10. The shorter races (10k and 5k) didn’t start until after lunch. This was because the canal path was still open to the general public and they didn’t want to clog up the footpath with runners.
Both the ultra and the marathon did a dog leg loop towards Leeds centre, before turning round and heading back out towards Liverpool. The 20 mile race didn’t need this and we set off from Kirkstall to Southwaite along the canal path. The path itself was pretty flat. There were 1 or 2 places, usually locks were there was an incline to negotiate but nothing major. It was then essentially 10 mile out to Southwaite, turn round and head back again to Kirkstall. It was a good job that I had my Garmin though as there were no signs along route and nothing to tell me that I had reached the turn-around point. The scenery around that area though was beautiful and unlike the canal path seemed to have a few hills.
Refreshments were provided at around every 3 miles, with water and some food, mainly sweets and there were a few marshals out on course but not a huge amount. The 20 mile race didn’t have many entrants and therefore once we kicked off we soon became quite spread out and for a while I was running on my own and it felt very much like a training run. That is until the fast half marathoners caught up with us.
Once finished we were given a medal and a goody bag with a bottle of beer and some sweets. There was also a very full table of cakes and biscuits. Most of which looked homemade and rather yummy too. There was a photographer there, but he was set up to capture runners coming up from Leeds and the 20 miler didn’t do that loop so no photos were taken of us.
Unfortunately though I think this is where the race was a little let down. Once finished apart from the table of cakes there wasn’t anything at the finish, not even porta loos. So you had a 10 minute walk back to the sports and social club in the cold. No changing facilities were provided so I had to get changed in the ladies. There were also none of the organisers around as they were all at the race start/finish so felt rather on my own.
A number of distances to cover all running abilities
20 mile distance, great for winter marathon training
Cakes at the finish
Plenty of water stops
Not so good Points
Quite a distance to travel from Peterborough
Not many marshals
Only toilet facilities were in the sports and social club
Not many entrants for 20 miler so made the race a bit lonely
Photographer didn’t capture any of the 20 miler participants - mind you that could be a plus point ;-)
No changing facilities
No mile markers
Although very scenic, I’m not sure I would do this particular race again. It was a long way to travel and not much support once on the race. For me it was more I needed to do a 20 miler as part of my training plan and there aren’t many of those around at this time of year.