RACE DAY INFO
VIGILANTES MARAVAN FESTIVAL: SAT 18TH AND SUN 19TH NOV 2017
Hi everyone, hope you're all fit and well and ready to go. Need to share a few things with you now we’re into the final week.
Expo: As every year, there’s going to be an ‘Expo’ (or at least that’s what I tell the wife) on the Friday night. It’s not a compulsory expo. There’s no exhibitors, but I’ll be there around 7 ish for a couple of hours if you want to pick your number up early and buy me a pint!
This year, the expo has changed venue, and will be at the Brewer’s Fayre by the Cleethorpes Premier Inn. I have a table booked for myself from 7.30 to sit with numbers and such like, but I’m staying there myself, so I might be there beforehand.
Postcode: DN35 0FB
This year, the race village will be on the “Touring” site on Thorpe Park. This is situated a very short walking distance from both the small car park opposite the site shop, and the larger car park. Additionally, there is hard standing on the touring site where the touring caravans park, so you might be able to find space there. However, if you park very close to the start/finish, please be aware, particularly on Saturday, that there will be a good number of runners, teams and supporters as well, so you might not get away too easily. There are over 100 people taking part on Saturday.
PLEASE DON’T PARK ON ANY GRASS, LAST YEAR THAT COST ME SEVERAL BEERS AND A BAG OF GRASS SEED. Locals, please try to walk or cycle or use the more distant car parks.
There are three main parking options. Two car parks are available on the campsite (DN36 4GG), either at the Spar shop/launderette (follow signs to touring reception or launderette), or a little further beyond the roundabout on the left hand side. You might also find spaces scattered around the campsite. These spaces are about 400m from the start. From the site shop/launderette, follow signs to “Touring Reception” (to be honest, you’ll see us from there), and from the main car park, follow the road back to the site shop/launderette, and then the main course marking arrows.
There is parking available at the Premier Inn for hotel guests, and this is about 15 mins walk away.
Another option is Buck Beck, which is tricky to describe how to get to by car, but much easier to walk to. Opposite the Premier Inn is the miniature railway station. You need to drive along between the miniature railway and the Showground, follow the road right round and park by the next miniature railway station. After parking, turn your back to the railway and follow the slope alongside the theme park until it brings you to the Trawlerman pub. Sometimes campervans park here overnight. I'm not saying that officially, though. (Car park on this satellite view: https://goo.gl/maps/vMxM7, you can also see the road in and path out.)
Registration: Will be at the start-finish line from 8am each day, where there will hopefully be a Gazebo set up, unless it’s blowing a gale like last year. This year, this will be close to the “Touring Reception” - follow signs to this from all over the campsite.
Race Briefing: At the start at about 8.50.
Please bear in mind it’ll take ten minutes or so to potter from the campsite car parks. Fifteen or so from the Premier Inn.
Numbers: Unless you're particularly keen to get a new number, I'd prefer doublers to keep the same number both days. Relay teams have a letter. I'll explain that below.
Start: As close to 9am as possible.
Time limit: Officially, 6 hours. However, I'm prepared to stay outside until it gets dark. Once it's dark then your safety comes into play. You must start your final lap before dusk. I’m going to be a bit hotter on this on Sunday because I need to take down the course and go home to my kids.
Water: There's a water station at the finish. You can leave your own stuff there if you can find space. I'm giving out water, squash and cola, and potentially some other drinks in biodegradable paper cups. That doesn't mean we can scatter them with impunity, I'm afraid. Please use bins. If you need to use a bottle, by all means bring your own. I can fill it up for you. There's also a small supply of High5 gels and there will be some cake/biscuits. By all means bring something to share.
Toilets: There will be two portable toilets at the start finish line. Obviously, queues for these could get interesting. They will be available for the duration of the event. I cannot guarantee that any other unit on the caravan park will be open, so please use these units.
FULL+RELAY: Seven laps, with a little bit at the beginning and end to make up the distance. The lap is 3.7 miles, measured on a Garmin Forerunner 235. http://www.strava.com/routes/11155903. As this lap is as close as dammit to 6km, there will be km markers every km for 1-6 (it’ll get a bit silly if I put 7 markers at each point). They’re there as a guide, and they show km points 1-6 on the lap, they won’t take into account the bit at the start.
If you have run this before, please keep your wits around you at the 3km mark, as the route has taken a diversion around a permanently closed gate.
HALF (SUNDAY ONLY): Four laps (with a slight fiddle at the beginning). The lap is 3.3 miles. Please note that the start/finish is in a different location this year than on the map here: https://www.strava.com/routes/11155979. The start/finish is at the Touring Reception on Thorpe Park. The half marathon runners take a shortcut at the end of the grass track. This will be well marked!
It will be marked by a number of yellow and black signs (with “Vigilantes Running” printed on them - even more than last year!), placed at regular intervals, plus some biodegradable road markings (flour). In a couple of locations where the route has gone in a slightly different way to last year, there will also be stakes and tape to keep you on the right path. I'll ensure that the laps are clearly marked the weekend before and will double check. There is one corner which I know is awkward and I’ll try to put a marshal there.
The course is predominantly on-road, with a couple of short sections of off-road/grass running (it comes in at just over the 2.6km that I need to make it a road race). Road shoes would be my choice although it might be prudent to take care on the off-road section, which can get muddy. It should be wide enough for you to find a decent line.
You'll pass through all areas of the park and briefly in the Fitties area along a public Right of Way. Most of the caravans on the park have been decommissioned for the winter, but there are still people living in the Fitties, so please be considerate. The Fitties houses look more like brick-built holiday homes than the caravans on Thorpe Park. Robert Wyatt of Soft Machine now lives there. You might even see him!
If it's icy I'll trust you to use use your judgement. It is possible to run on grass alongside the roads for most of the way, although care will be needed in places. Ice isn’t forecast for this weekend, but you never can tell.
Finish: Once you have finished, (if you’ve run the full marathon, collect your goody bag), then do what you can to keep warm. I recommend going to the Trawlerman for their good-value carvery and I'll try to join you when everyone has finished. The goody bag for the marathon runners contains beer and food. It goes without saying that the Trawlerman won't be happy if you consume those on their premises.
I'll trust you to swap around goodies so that the vegans get a decent clutch and the teetotallers get a decent clutch. I don't need to know if you're a vegetarian, as I won't be forcing a rack of ribs onto anyone, but if you can let me know if you're vegan (I know of three) I can keep back a packet of suitable crisps and maybe some cafe biscuits or Oreos for you. It'll also let me know if I might want to bake something special. The Belvoir is vegan, as it this year’s beer!
Relay: The relay starts at 9am on Saturday 18th November at the same time and place as the main event. It will be necessary for one member of the team to register either on Saturday morning or Friday night at the Brewer’s Fayre Relay runners wear letters, all members of the same team wearing the same letter.
Relay runners can go in any order, and can do as many laps as required, either one after the other, or with a rest in between. If you find yourself a person short on the day, you can still take part - just that someone in your team will have to run more. Likewise with an injury. The baton can only be exchanged at the finish area, where team members gather, though you are welcome to scatter around the course to cheer on your teammates. Once your team have completed seven, you have finished and you will be given your medal, and some kind of goodies depending on what I can find this weekend. Medals will only be given to people who have completed part of the course. There is a small trophy for each member of the first all-male, first all-female and first mixed team. You are welcome to have the drinks and snacks laid on for the maravan runners, but I request that you don't use it as your main meal of the day and leave some for maravan finishers. You might like to celebrate after the event with a drink and a carvery at the Trawlerman.
Any questions between now and then, please feel free to get in touch. I'm excited and nervous in equal measure of seeing you all on Saturday, or even Friday night.