Firstly I want to say thank you to everyone who responded to yesterday’s blog The Weight Debate. I think it really rang true with some of you, and it seems to be an important issue that doesn’t get discussed. Feel free to share it with your followers and/or write a response.
Yesterday was the Electric Run, a night-time 5k filled with neon lights, fun lands and a rave at the end.
We were so excited for this race for a long time. We’d bought early bird tickets but regular emails informed us that the price was going up in what seemed like bi-weekly increments. By the time the event happened I think entry was being sold at about £50.00 (with en extra £5 for the privilege of picking up your kit on race day). For the cost you received a t-shirt, glow stick glasses and a flashing wrist band – no medal (criminal!).
We headed out around 6 ish (my friend Tash, Gary and I) and drove to Stanmore where we got the underground to Wembley park, UV painting ourselves up on the train on the way – to the confusion and dismay of the other passengers! We piled off the train and were faced with throngs of ravers all in their neon get-up. We walked to the entrance and queued for some time before getting to the gates and being told if we already had our number we could pass the massive snaking line of people and enter the main waiting area. We passed so many people we were really pleased that Gary had picked our packs up on Thursday on one of his days working in London.
After a portaloo stop we scanned the area for the stand where we could switch T-Shirts since they’d accidentally Gary a women’s style – this was nowhere to be seen despite their twitter account telling people it would be there. We weren’t about to join any lines asking, and we couldn’t see any stewards, so we hung about and people watched until they said we could move forward.
A massive 15,000 people were said to be running including children (under 7’s ran for free) and it certainly looked like that many. We moved into another queue where we occasionally moved forward in into a corral where a DJ sat on top of a tower where the start line was. They waited for the sun to go down before sending people through but I think we were there for over an hour waiting to start.
From the photo above, I don’t know if you can see, but there’s a line of people waiting to enter the park, another line of people waiting for their packs, then a line of people waiting to enter the corral, the corral and then people running. It was a lot of waiting.
We finally headed off and I was surprised by how many people were actually running. I spotted so many people in jeans and shirts, women with handbags, men with supermarket bags – in other words people not ready to run. Just before 1k we saw our first land. After having run around Wembley stadium which is all concrete the only redeeming thing about it was the music which was pretty funky. People were walking already and it was an obstacle course of dodging walkers and people who would just randomly stop to take photos. The first land was some neon balloons in some trees….. epic.
Then, all too soon there was a water station, not sign posted and I only noticed it because I couldn’t work out what all the people were crowding round. The cups were neon plastic and all empty. Thankfully there was a second table just past it which still had a few cups with water in. The cups were hard plastic and there were shards of broken bits everywhere underfoot. Not ideal. After a quick slurp (we were really thirsty by this point after having been waiting for a good 1.5hrs to get to this point) we carried on. I can’t remember how many lands they said there would be by this point but we were running through an awful lot of dark concrete for most of the time. We headed up a really steep hill (again dodging the walkers) and were surprised to hear people telling us we were at the 3k mark.
The next land was a funky neon tunnel with UV lights inside. A lot of people taking photos, us included, so you couldn’t run through, but I wouldn’t have wanted to. I have heard that part of this tunnel deflated later on in the evening.
Onwards and upwards I was really enjoying the running part! I felt like I hadn’t really started so to hear that we were almost at the finish was a nice mental boost. I could hear people saying ‘Only 1 k to go…..’ as if they knew they couldn’t make it. The final land started with a huge inflatable Battersea Power Station and then a load of neon rings to run through, accompanied by Super Mario sound effects, which was kind of cool.
And then it was over. We struggled to actually get through the finish line since for some reason people thought this was a great place to stop and congregate. We moved through and headed for the DJ stage where the music was kicking off.
Right here I’ll point out that no water was given out at the finish, I saw no stewards and the only places to get food or drink were greasy spoon vans. Nothing healthy was provided and they didn’t seem to care that people might want to hydrate. Bad move Electric Run.
We started to get into the groove dancing with the ever-increasing crowds behind us. And then the music stopped. A technical issue had meant that the DJ’s iMac had stopped working – much to the amusement of the crowds who began to shout ‘anyone got an iPod?’ or ‘I’ve got a Walkman’. It was kind of funny. But they stuck on some interim music and the MC did a good job of covering it up by getting onto the mic and chucking more glow sticks into the crowd (which incidentally hurt if they land on you…) The DJ’s music back up, the party started.
At this point, and I don’t want to sound like a total party pooper, but I want to mention that there were so many people smoking weed, cigarettes and drinking bottles of tequila and beer that I was getting quite peeved. Glass bottles held up in the air – there were no bag checks on entry, which wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Children in the crowds being exposed to second-hand spliff smoke is not the one. My legs were tired, my back was tired, I was thirsty and starting to get cranky – I just wanted a bottle of water and something sugary. The music was good once it got going, but we didn’t stay too much longer and I heard many people leaving for the same reason. Comments of the smokey smells rang all around me, but the ravers didn’t care about the runners.
We headed off via the black light tent for a couple of funky neon shots.
All in all it was a fun experience. I’m glad we went and it was a fun thing to do of an evening. I learned that my old Nike trainers are knackered and that I made the right choice by replacing them. Gary learned that his knee injury will hold up for our half marathon next weekend. Tash learned that she can run 5k and still have room for more which has given her confidence for the 10k she’ll be running with me in the summer. We all learned that Electric Run is over priced, over hyped and needed way more organisation.
We wouldn’t run it again and I wouldn’t even recommend it, but we’re glad we took part and it was nice to stretch the old legs. We finished the 5k in 38 minutes which was ace considering we were stopped regularly for photo breaks and to dodge the walkers. This morning the only way to describe how I feel is that my legs have a hangover. They’re tired and achy and really dehydrated. We planned to hit the treadmills this afternoon but have pushed this back for tomorrow in the fear we’ll do some damage so close to the half marathon.
If you’re booked into an Electric Run elsewhere please don’t let this put you off or dampen your excitement. I’d love to hear about your experience but I’d suggest not getting swept up in the hype and taking it at face value. Give yourself up to the experience and don’t over analyse it like I have (apparently I can add Race-Snob to my ever-increasing list of snoberries!). I’m sure you’ll have a great time – just don’t use this race to achieve your next PB!