My running has been coming along fabulously in the recent past and so I’ve been trying to get as many runs in as possible before the big one in Feb – RAK Half marathon. That’s what all my training is about.
So, I decided to enter the 10km Nike Night Race, which is part of the Nike We Run series of races.
The race took place on The Palm, starting from the Sandance parking lot, and headed out along the East Crescent down to the Rixos Hotel and back. There was a 5km route too, which turned around along the 10km route. The course was relatively flat except for a bridge just after 4km’s (and then on the way back too).
I left home, on the Palm, at 6:05pm, thinking it’ll take me about 20 minutes to get there, find a parking and get to the start line. I’d intended on taking a few photos before the race, and would then dash back to my car to drop off my camera and get back to the start by about 6:45 to warm up and wait for the gun.
But, those plans were killed very quickly at 6:15pm when I got to the tunnel and came to a complete standstill!!! Driving 1.4km’s of tunnel took me about 20 minutes. But, I was not panicking. Yet. The traffic eased up slightly until I got to the entrance of Atlantis and then bang, straight into standstill again. I started panicking at about 6:50pm when I saw runners getting out of their cars (leaving their supporters to drive) and start jogging towards the start line. Would they delay the race? What happens if I don’t get there on time? Surely I can’t be the ONLY runner driving here by myself? There are sooooo many cars behind me! Should I just leave my car on the side of the road? These were all questions running through my head as I inched towards the parking lot. Eventually I saw a sign saying “Parking 250m” and I knew I was VERY close…. but it was 6:59pm 😦
I continued on my quest, determined to at least get there, even if I was told to go home as I’d missed the start of the race.
As I parked my car, illegally, I ran like lightning to the toilet and then to the start line – and at the same time thinking to myself “Wow, there are lots of runners hanging around very calmly!” I had not missed the start! They’ve delayed the race!!! I was not sure how long it would be delayed for though, so I stayed put and did not go get my camera for pre-race photos.
So, stress-aside, I hung about the start line, warming up, and just waiting for the announcements on when to start. There were people everywhere! It was well-organised in terms of having enough space for all the runners to not be on top of one another; there was a dj, and after some time they had a ‘runners warm-up’ with all the runners taking part in standard warm-up exercises. The gun went off, and we were off – I estimated about 5000 people, but in reports I’ve read it was only about 2500. It was still a huge amount! The crowds didn’t seem to thin out during the race (except for the front runners who passed me on their return when I was just hitting the 3km mark!!!)
Overall the race went well for me – I started off feeling strong, and although I felt pretty drained at about 8km’s, I ended up finishing in my personal best time of 59:05. I had no knee pain during or after the race which is another huge bonus in my book!
The event was a great success, apart from the disastrous traffic at the start. The organisers had advised people to get there from 5pm, but as with any event, people tend to only get there towards the start time. I, along with many others obviously, had given myself an hour’s advance, which was, in hind-sight, a poor decision. But, thankfully the organisers delayed the start in order for the race to be successful; and it turned out really well!
After the race I quickly ran to my car and picked up my phone to snap a few pictures – not very good quality as I was tired and probably a bit shaky… but you’ll get the idea!