Libby Marchant and myself have taken on the role of Grand Prix Organisers for the 2013/2014 season and we are now in a position to announce the schedule of races.
Organising the schedule is a harder job than it might seem at first. Fitting 12 races into a calendar year may not seem that difficult but options are surprisingly limited when you take into account there are relatively few races put on in August, there are limited free weekends in December due to Christmas, cross-country and the mob-match and it is difficult to hold a GP in April when many members are focussing on marathons.
We have selected the races based on the following criteria:
- Avoiding weekends that cross-country fixtures take place
- Choosing races with a good variety of distances
- Supporting local races where possible
- Not choosing events that are prohibitively expensive to enter
- Avoiding new events whose organisation is not tried and tested
- Avoiding clashes with other local events that members may also wish to enter where possible
- Adding one or two new events to the schedule rather than repeating events each year
Inevitably, there will be some members who will be disappointed to see that their favourite race is not included in the schedule this season but hopefully, the majority will be happy with the mix that we have put together. We would be pleased to receive feedback on our choices through the forum.
The season will start with the Sutton 10k on 12 May which will also be the club 10k championship. This was the weekend originally assigned to Greenbelt so hopefully the majority of members have kept it free. This race has been running for many years but this year the venue has been switched to Nonsuch Park. You can enter the race at www.suttonrunners.org and the race sold out in 2011 and 2012 so don’t delay entering.
GP2 will be the Dorking 10 on 2 June which will also be the club 10 mile championship. You can enter the race at www.sportsystems.co.uk
GP3 will be the club mile championship on 5 June on the track at Kingsmeadow with the first race generally starting around 7.30pm. Entry to the track costs around £3.20.
GP4 will the Harry Hawkes 10 mile on 30 June. The Harry Hawkes used to be an 8.2 mile race and disappeared off the racing calendar a couple of years ago. It has now been resurrected as a 10 mile race and given the fondness that many members had for the old event and its location, we felt that we should support it and include it in the schedule, notwithstanding we have already have a 10 mile GP in June. You can enter the race at www.sportsystems.co.uk
GP5 will be the Claygate Country 5 on 14 July. Although this was in the schedule last year, it is a great local event and was very well attended last year. Let’s hope for better conditions this year. You can enter the race at www.sportsystems.co.uk
We have not arranged any events in August so GP6 will be the Maidenhead half marathon on 8 September which will also be the club half marathon championship. Again a repeat from last season but this is a well organised event and a fast flat course. It is also well timed for those of you training for an autumn marathon. You can enter the race at www.purplepatchrunning.com/races/pharmalink-maidenhead-half-marathon
GP7 will be the Ashtead 10k on 22 September. We have not done this event before as a Grand Prix but a number of members have done it in past years (myself included) and we felt it would add some variety to the schedule. It is an out and back course which is entirely off road along good paths, with a few uphill sections but nothing to be scared of. You can enter the event at http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/events/registrationinfo.asp?sp=&v=2&EN=75451
GP8 will be the first cross-country fixture of the season at Lightwater on 19 October. This is being run as a joint event with the ladies so we felt it was a good one to choose as we can cheer each other on in our respective races and get a great attendance to launch the new cross-country season.
GP9 will be the 5km championship on 16 November. This will be held at a local parkrun event and we will announce the venue in due course.
GP10 will be the Perivale 5 miles on 1 December. This is another new addition to the schedule but Libby took part in it last year and can attest to it being a fast, flat road course with PB potential and a stadium finish. The race is not open for entries yet.
We are still looking at options for GP11 and GP12. Given the weather in the past couple of years we felt it better to get the majority of the GPs completed pre-Christmas. We are looking at the possibility of another 5km and another half marathon with the Fleet half on 16 March being our current favourite. More details on these will be announced in due course.
We also thought long and hard about including the Wedding Day 7k on 26 July in the schedule. This is a local race held in Bushy Park and is followed by a BBQ. However, given it takes place on a Friday night we didn’t know if it would appeal to a majority of members so we did not include it in the schedule. We would however, like to run it as a Grand Prix “test event” this year and if there is good feedback we may include it in the schedule in future years.
A summary of the schedule has been posted in the Downloads section of the website. http://www.26point2.co.uk/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&download=80:grand-prix-schedule-for-2013-2014&id=9:grand-prix-race-results-a-tables&Itemid=251