Last weekend I undertook my Dopey Challenge simulation weekend. I was lucky enough to find a race that took place on the Sunday – making it so I’d have to push through and finish a race on that final day (and then have to make up the additional kilometres later on). So sure enough, it was a 4:30am wake up call to be on the road at 5am – meaning an 8pm bedtime thanks to feeling so incredibly exhausted from 3 days of running.
So to the Summer Starter, which is one of the last Sydney runs of the year – marking the beginning of…yep, you guess it…. Summer! (although it’s still technically Spring). I registered online and thankfully was able to pick-up my packet on the day thanks to some prior discussions with the Summer Starter team. It was quite easy to locate the packet pickup on the day – there was a small area at the start line where event information, volunteer check-in, access to water, bag check AND – wait for it – real toilets!!!!
Now there were two distances to choose from, the 5K and the 10K. The 10K started at 7:30am (wheelchair racers 7:20am) with the 5K group heading out an hour after at 8:30am. This allowed the bulk of the runners to finish the 10K prior to the onslaught of the 5K crowd. Naturally the course shared about 4.8km of the route until it split out near the finish.
The course started and finished on opposite sides of Cathy Freeman Park at Olympic Park, and overall was a nice & flat 10K, with the exception of a slight incline around the 8.5K mark. This area is full of parkland, and awesome buildings that were purposely built for the 2000 Olympic Games, so it’s a great way to see the area. Unfortunately there were a couple of other events going on which meant that the later time saw crowds trying to cross the route to their destination, leading to some confusion as runners head towards the finish line.
The course was all on road, with the exception of pavement around the stadium.
There were 3 water stations on the 10K course at 2km, 4km and 8.5km. The later stations also offered Hydrolyte as the electrolyte drink of choice. It was a warm morning so all water stations were welcomed. I also took my own electrolyte drink.
There is a water table set up as you exit the runners chute and bananas were offered.
The medal for the Summer Starter was the same for either the 5K or 10K (so yes, I could have received the same medal for half the effort!!), which made sense for the volunteers when both sets of runners were coming down the chute at the same time.
Overall, I really liked this race – you were able to maintain a good pace thanks to the flat, fast course with wide spaces. At first I thought a drink station at the 2km mark was a bit unnecessary, but with the warm weather it certainly was needed! This is definitely one that I’ll run again!!
- Volunteers – There were heaps and they were super cheerful, even at the 0.58km mark where they let us know that we were “looking really good”!! Realistically everything runs with the help of volunteers so I made sure to thank each one as I went past (yes, I almost said thanks to all of them!)
- Medal – ummm, it has pink on it so it has to be a YAY!
- Post-race festivities – the finish line was adjacent to Cathy Freeman Park at Olympic Park and they had everything from food, to kid’s rides to a chill out zone waiting for returning runners. I didn’t stop to enjoy it (since I had to run back to the car and then do an additional 4km) but it looked like the place to unwind!
- The course – loved it, there was no point that I thought it was crazy difficult.
- Some other runners – come on people, where is your common sense? There were two corrals for the 10K, under 60mins and over 60mins. From there it was self seeded. Naturally we were like a bull out of a gate maintaining 5:40 p/km pace until 0.2km where a group of people in front of me stopped to walk without warning. Now, the run/walk movement isn’t huge here (and I’ve ran in other races where people have run/walked) AND there was no prior, so I put it down to lack of running in other races. Additionally there was a child (not registered to the race) who was on a scooter weaving in and out of runners while their parent was participating. It was going to spell all sorts of trouble (and also against the rules), so it was great that a volunteer was able to step in and assist.
I quickly learnt that a 1.5 hour drive post running 12KM (the 10k + 2k there & back) is not helpful for the legs, so when I got home there was no way that I wanted to walk again! But I was facing 4km to round out the Dopey Challenge simulation weekend. Needless to say, it was the SLOWEST 4km that I have EVER done, but I did it. I survived the weekend and I feel A LOT more stronger from it!
You can read my review of the Summer Starter 10K on BibRave here