“Never again” are the words I mutter to myself every year when stood in the holding pen awaiting the start of the Great South Run, “never again”. Yet year after year I stump up the money, usually the day after, to do it all over again. Why why why?
I really do not like these big corporate sponsor runs. There is so much about them I do not like. I don’t like all the hanging around before hand and being forced into start pens. I despise the almost enforced mass warm up that you are almost obliged to participate in. I hate this with every fibre of my soul and tend to just stand there glowering at all the people “having fun” chucking in the occasional stretch for good measure. I do not like road running, it lacks the heart and soul of trail running. I do not like how packed the course gets and the constant need to dodge around people. I feel the same year in, year out, yet still I apply and stump up good money for the privilege. Why eh why?
I really do prefer the camaraderie of the smaller off road races, you know, the ones where the race directors are runners themselves and organise their events for fun and for the love of the sport rather than as a money making PR exercise. To me the smaller events are what it’s all about, atmosphere, scenery, cameraderie, running for the love of it.
Morissons, that well known sporting event sponsor, are backing the Great Run series now that Bupa have stepped down and this is the time of year the marketing machine kicks in and proliferates my social media feeds with training plans and articles about it. Last years goodie bag was great…a great way for Morrisons to get rid of some poorly selling stock…I am oh so cynical. At least with Bupa you could see a link.
I am becoming more and more cynical about all the charity places at these big events too. The amount of money the charities now spend on merchandising and other assorted tat that you see littering the course and then the land fill sites after each one of these events must be astronomical. Surely that money would be better spent on the cause you are raising money for in the first place, but I guess it’s a catch 22 for them. How much of the money that you raise for your free charity place actually goes to do some good, 10%, 20%, maybe even 50% or more, but it’s all worth it though right? The feeling of benevolence, the sense of doing right even whilst knowing derp down someone is getting rich of your endeavours. I’m not so sure about any of it anymore.
With all that said, even with my dislike of these sorts of events, I still enter this particular event every year. The GSR, even with all my gripes, does hold a special place in my heart as being the first big running challenge I ever set myself back in 2009. It was the event to kick start my interest in being healthy again, the much needed shove in the right direction, a push away from the early grave I was heading to. I really shouldn’t knock it as I wouldn’t have got into running without it or met half the people I can class as friends now.
My track record as it were;
Year – Time – Position
- 2009 – 1:50:04 – 10358
- 2012 – 1:19:58 – 2713
- 2013 – 1:36:08 – 7879
- 2014 – 1:35:10 – 7639
- 2015 – 1:31:19 – 5461
After this years done though, I’ll never enter it again…