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Brampton to Carlisle 10-mile Race: The worst value race in Britain
5:26pm Monday 19th November 2007 in Your Say
AFTER 71 races I've had my fair share of race mementoes. Besides the usual mugs, t-shirts and medals, I've had a sack of potatoes, beer and a lovely towel thrown into a goody bag.
It's not cheap to enter the races either. The big races such as the Great South Run can cost £28, but ordinarily we're talking about up to a tenner to take part.
And for that, you expect a good race, sound organisation and a decent memento. Why should you have a memento at the end of the race? Well that's what is par for the course.
On Saturday I raced in Cumbria for the Brampton to Carlisle Road Race. It is the oldest 10-mile race in the country and was in its 56th year. It's £8 to enter the race, £3 for the coach which takes you from a sports centre in Carlisle to the start, and another couple of quid for the car parking.
At the end of the race you get from the organisers....nothing! Oh, a plastic cup of water, and you could buy a t-shirt, but as for a post-race souvenir; nowt, zilch, absolutement zero!
The poorest value race I have run in this year? You bet. It wasn't a great race either.
On one side of the route was Hadrian's Wall which you never saw. On the other side was the River Eden which you crossed on the downhill run in to Carlisle.
But the majority of the route was spent traipsing along the laborious A69 with traffic lumbering past.
There was just one drink's stop and bizarrely that served warm water. That was a first and foul tasting it was too.
I surprised myself having dosed up heavily on painkillers to run 70 minutes for the race. That's the fastest I have run 10 miles for a year and was pleasing, bearing in mind I have had no speed training.
The following day I was in Manchester for a much more sedate race...and yes, there was a medal at the end of it. This was the Gill Pimblott Memorial 5km race at Tyldesley just outside of Manchester.
It's a small event which raises money for breast cancer and which attracted just over 100 runners. It was bitterly cold as we ran one small and one large loop on heathland where once coal mining was king until the local mine shut in the 1960s. The atmosphere was friendly and I had a gentle trot round taking 23min 3sec to finish the 5km.
I'm still nursing a painful rib injury. I've cracked a couple of ribs and have been taking painkillers for it. But the end is in sight and I've now completed 71 of those 80 races.