Running, Events

Mass Participation Events - A Newbie's Guide!

Yesterday I (eGlove James) did the Great South Run. This run forms part of the Great Run Series and is (I believe) the biggest 10 mile race in the world! There were 25000 runners pounding the streets of Portsmouth on Sunday, passing through the Historic Dockyard (home of HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum) before running into Portsmouth, then Southsea and finishing on the Seafront... For more information visit

Anyway, 25000 people is a LOT! If you have not been to a big event like this as I hadn't. here are some things you may want to think about:

  • There are NEVER enough toilets. EVER. You will be hydrated, and nervous with the inevitable consequence of needing the loo. Then you will queue and queue and queue (especially if you are female).
  • Parking will be horrendous, often a fair distance from the start, which means a walk, so give yourself time to get to the start.
  • Options for food and drink for participants will be limited (unless a bacon bap has been part of your training routine!). There will be water though - loads of it, but see point 1!
  • Sort yourself an extra layer - and / or a wearable bin liner to keep you warm & dry while you line up in the start pens - this should be something you are happy to discard as you start. You can be waiting in there for 30 odd minutes so you may need something if the weather is bad. Anything you discard is normally donated to charity. Silver space blankets that you may have picked up from previous races are also good for this. Rain ponchos from Poundland etc also work - just need to be prepared! This time of year, you will always need eGloves - the world's pre-eminent touchscreen run gloves! I needed mine for the first 5 miles yesterday - albeit with a t-shirt.
  • Go to the loo even if you don't need it just before you go to the pen. Queue.
  • Arrange where to meet friends and family post race and if possible work out where they will be on the course - nothing worse for both runners and spectators if they miss each other during the run, then can't find each other at the end!! 
  • Don't get caught up in the emotion of the day and go off too fast! There is a saying "first half for pacing, second half for racing". Go with your plan...
  • ENJOY IT!!!!
  • Oh and go for another wee! Queue AGAIN!!!

So, how did I get on?

I finished in 1:38.00 - which I was very happy with - there were areas where it was very congested, and myself and my running buddy Dan decided we needed a wee after 0.5 miles (now you know why I am going on about TOILETS!!). We had negative splits all the way round, so we got faster as we went on. Happy days, but room for improvement!! There's £10 off for the 1st 1000 runners too... tempting...

Final thoughts? Loved it! 2 months ago I wasn't sure I could even run that far, so better than 10 min miles for a fat bloke approaching 50 ain't bad!!