Love Luton is one of the big local events and this year the Half Marathon was also our Club Championships at that distance.
We’ve got 2 fantastic ‘run reports’ for you covering each of the distances – a big thanks you to Paula & Neil for them. Given the horrendous weather on the day just turning up was an achievement!
10k – A report by Paula Kearney
My first DRR club championship race as joint captain.
Soaked through walking from the car to registration which was not even 400m, and wearing the designer black bin bag!
It was great to see so much maroon, both 10k and half marathon runners. Photo opportunities were restricted as no opportunity to get a club photo without everyone getting soaked and cold, many were waiting in cars, till the last minute to get to the start line. Surprised to see so many on the track, for lots of different clubs, with many from Stopsley Striders, Luton Lions and Dunstable Lions, etc.
The start was around the track and many DRR supporters were waiting to cheer the runners on, at the exit to Stockwood Park. Through the park and lovely downhill stretch towards Luton town (thankfully don’t have to run back up). Great to see Ade at the bottom, supporting the runners.
Through town and slight incline towards the court and then cheerful smiles and shouts from more supporters in town, including Jeannette, Cheryl and Shelah.
Out of the town and towards Wardown Park, where the wind and rain really began to have an effect, soaked and getting cold. More cheers, from Sharon, Sue and Clare B brought forth smiles and a push on. Thankfully the incline was not long and a turn, to head back towards town. Thoughts of relief for a down incline though Wardown Park were soon eroded, with fierce gales taking breath away.
More cheers on the way out of the park and into the last mile. Local support was good with people shouting from windows, cheering on from bus stop shelters and at one point a group serving cups of tea, wish I had a few minutes to spare!!
Pushing hard to the finish, between trying to get breath while being swept sideways as another gale from the train station hit.
The final surge past the galaxy centre, the cheers from the increasing in size DRR support team, and passed the finish line with medals presented by the children of Chantry Primary Academy.
Dry clothes, hot drink and food then joined the support team to cheer the other runners in.
An organised, well supported event, with only a short travel time. The route is paths and traffic free roads, with one major downhill, and some slight inclines. The start and finish are miles apart but a free shuttle bus is provided.
No control of the weather conditions, although the sun did make an appearance for some of the half marathon finishers.
- Don’t forget the black bin bag, with head cut out to keep warm at the start
- Ensure you have dry clothes near the end (in a waterproof bag)
- Girls – Tikiboo Skorts are not a good choice in torrential rain, they got really heavy
Look forward to the next Club Championship, 5 mile race at Hatfield on 28 November, with lots of maroon and a team photo. Looking for a race review, looking for a volunteer to write the next one?
Half Marathon – A report by Neil Currant
It is not often that the BBC weather app says 100% chance of rain but that was the prospect facing the Love Luton Half-Marathon and 10K runners on All Hallows Eve. A wet and windy race was in store for 2021 but at least the race was back from a Covid-enforced cancellation last year. It didn’t look like the rain had put many off attending as we all assembled at the Stockwood Park track. The rain even paused briefly for the start of the 10k, who got a great send off from the spectators and half participants.
It wasn’t to last! As soon as the 10k participants had left the track the rain returned. At 9:15 precisely we were off, 200m round the track and into Stockwood Park. The first challenge of the day was the ‘quad-busting’ descent down Cuttenhoe Road (yep, my quads are definitely feeling it this morning). Then a quick right into Park Street and time to regain that altitude that you just lost! A big thanks to Ade for his support on the corner. There were not many supporters on this part of the course and its great to have someone shout out your name in support.
The first half is the Luton Hoo section of the course. On a wet and windy day this was a real challenge. No buildings meant no shelter from the wind. This is also the hilly part of the course. I particularly dislike The Warren Drive part of the course, where you go down hill only to turn round at the bottom and have to come straight back up again! Sadistic course design if you ask me! Although it is nice to be able to see fellow participants coming the other way and offer support to each other. By this time, I think we were all well and truly soggy. Thanks to the two spectators who braved this part of the course and all the supportive marshals.
Having negotiated the Luton Hoo hills it was a relief to get back to Park Street and the flat second half of the course. We even had a brief respite from the rain after about 45 minutes.
The best part of the course is George Street where all the spectators are but all too quickly we are though the town centre and out onto Old Bedford Road. You don’t realise how long Old Bedford Road is until you try to run up it. Your watch is saying you have less than a third of the race to go but you know you are still running away from the finish. The turn down Barnfield Avenue just doesn’t come soon enough but when it arrives you know you are on the home stretch. After a short run round the lovely Wardown Park, where the rain finally stopped and the sun came out, you emerge back onto Old Bedford Road for the last mile. Back into the town centre and I managed a final sprint over the line.Thanks to all the volunteers who made this happen and to all the club members who came out to support the runners. What makes this event is that it is a truly local event, from the front of the field to the back. The first three finishers were all local club runners and throughout the field there were runners from Luton doing their first half-marathon. It is an event that truly represents the wider community of South Bedfordshire. I hope for the new runners on Sunday this was the start of their running journey. And on a personal note, can I please implore more seasoned runners to choose Trees not Tees for any event that offers it. I’m sure most of us don’t need yet another running top but our natural environment does need more trees, now more than ever.
Club photos are on Flickr