Severn Bridge 10k 2020
We were very excited to be taking part in a ‘real’ event after so many months of virtual challenges but weren’t really sure what to expect. The Half Marathon had been cancelled to allow the 10k to take place with the necessary COVID safety measures in place. How would we feel about the staggered start times and not being allowed to gather in groups? Would the atmosphere and camaraderie be missing?
We had nice early start times (8:25:10 and 08:25:20) and arrived, as instructed, just in time to nip to the loo and then make our way to the start. We did make one wrong turn on the way because Jenny was busy reading messages from well-wishers instead of navigating but we were still in plenty of time! No queues for the toilets and a 10 minute warm-up trot from the car park to the start. We were in a queue behind only a few people to cross the start line so we only waited a couple of minutes and then we were off! The start takes you back a little way along the dual carriageway before you turn around and head back towards Wales – just to make up the distance I guess.
The weather could not have been better – dry and mild but with a cooling breeze. The instructions for the race were very clear in that we had to run on the right in single file, only moving to the left to overtake and everyone was following this guidance. Runners spoke as they passed us or we passed them, giving the encouragement and support we are used to during a race. The marshals were very cheerful and supportive, even though the staggered start times meant a longer day. There was a drink station offering small bottles of water just after half way and more encouraging words.
The journey back was made on the service road alongside the dual carriageway and the views were fab both ways. Once we finished, medals were available for us to pick up along with words of congratulations. We had to then make our way straight back to the race HQ and car park to avoid people gathering in groups. There we were able to buy coffee and flapjack. A last minute hitch meant that Welsh regulations prevented the race starting in Wales and everything had to be switched round. The upside of this for us runners was that a van was allowed on site to sell refreshments!
We were really buzzing on the journey home. A real event with real people! The hard work necessary after the change to the start and finish location must have been a nightmare but the whole thing was so well organised – the staggered start times, social distancing, hand gel, no queues for toilets or parking and no big crowds of runners all tripping over one another at start line. Covid or no Covid this should be the way for all races – it was a lovely experience and stress free but with no loss of atmosphere or the shared experience. Big thanks to the organisers and the marshals.
Lucy Trowse & Jenny Vallely