NoblePro MK 5K: a socially distanced race review

I will do my utmost to avoid moaning about my terrible time (I mean I had a great time but the time I ran 5K in was terrible), and will cut straight to the chase.

My second socially distanced race! Some major differences compared to F3 Dorney 10K three weeks ago (one key difference was that the route was actually measured accurately!).

So how was it?

  • Staggered starts

Staggered starts is a Covid-times must, however, there are different ways of doing it. While F3 chose the “start whenever you want within your time window” approach. Milton Keynes Athletics Club opted for waves instead of windows. Based on your predicted time you were assigned a wave with a precise start time. There was max 12 runners of similar abilities in each wave. A wave started every 5 minutes. This system essentially meant that you were taking part in a mini-race against runners in your wave. What I really liked was that each wave was led by a cyclist “clearing” the path. No risk of getting lost (which is my biggest race fear alongside pooping my pants).

  • Toilets

Speaking of pooping, there were no dedicated race toilets. We were instructed to use the park’s public toilets….that were closed when I arrived. Luckily I found a decent bush instead.

  • No bag drop

Just like F3, MC AC did not provide bag drop facilities, so if you didn’t arrive by car you were doomed. Alternatively, your spectator could serve as your personal bag keeper.

  • Spectators

That’s right! Spectators allowed! One per person. Also, since the event was in a public park, there were bystanders clapping and cheering which is something a lot of runners missed during lockdown virtual “races”.

  • The course

As I just mentioned, the course was located in a public park on a fairly wide path with tarmac surface. It wasn’t totally flat but there were no killer hills either. The finish line was a few hundred meters away from the start which definitely helped spread people around and maintain social distancing.

  • No medals

Yes, that made me cry a little as I’m a sucker for a good medal. Instead, the organisers threw a box of random NoblePro tops near the finish line and people just helped themselves. Gotta love a freebie!

  • Overall feeling

The event had a bit of an elite feeling to it. Real fast runners galore! I was one of the slowest participants, yet generally (despite my constant complaining) I am considered to be fairly fast(ish). The amount of 14 and 15 mins 5K’s that were run on the day was enormous. One crazy dude did 13:50. That’s a kilometer in 2 mins 46 seconds, times five. Doesn’t he need a driving licence to operate his legs? 🤔

Compared to F3 at Dorney that was completely shut to public, MK 5K was way more fun. And the results go on PO10. What more could a runner ask for? Well…I could ask for a PB, but perhaps next time…

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