Birmingham, B29

Thursday, 8 October 2009

ready to run?

posted by pindec
This is not actually a marathon pic, but it's some runners :)
In case it had escaped your attention, Birmingham's going half-marathon crazy on Sunday (11th oct) with a "normal" half marathon starting around 10AM and the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, women starting at 9 and men at 9:30. Both routes go through the area, so it's your chance to hang out in B29 (in my case, on the Pershore Road) casually eating sandwiches and watching sporty people flash by.

Unless of course, you're actually running, in which case (a) it would be great if you could film it using a chest-mounted camera; and (b) good luck! Apparently the professionals go by much faster than you'd expect . . . the IAAF site tips Ethiopian Tilahun Regassa for the men's race. His personal best from last year was 59:36: using very basic maths, that's about 13 miles an hour. Speedy :).

The Birmingham Half Marathon people (the council and an energy company) have also laid on some entertainment, including a saxophonist in Cannon Hill Park, and an African drum band and a ceilidh band on the Pershore Road. The latter two I can see helping people with their rhythm, but I've never tried to run to The Pink Panther theme before :). Here's a map of the route (PDF) plus entertainment points overlaid.

From the map, looks like a good place to stand is by the Nature Centre on Pershore Road so you get to enjoy the drums and see contestants going both ways. It also seems to be near a water station, but is it wrong to hold out your own refreshments to the runners? A boiled egg, perhaps? A cooked vegetarian sausage? A selection of crudités? Though I expect the houmous would go everywhere.

*Everyone* I've talked to about the event so far has mentioned the unfortunate Paula Radcliffe evacuation incident, so I won't :). Sadly, though she was billed to appear, she's been struck down with tonsillitis so we won't get to snap her zoooooming past. I'm also looking forward to seeing the wheelchair race - you often see people running in the park, but I've never seen a wheelchair racer training. The wheelchair half marathon starts at 09:50. If you get any good pics, please add them to the flickr B29 group - we'd love to see them.

The Beeb decided not to show the IAAF race, but Sky will. This means images of Broad Street (the finish line) will be beamed across the world on Sunday morning: let's hope they get to clean up all the vomit & drinking rubble left over from Sat night first. In theory, the race(s) should boost the local economy - Bristol's 2001 hosting netted the local economy at least £0.58m!

Finally, if you've got a car, remember not to park it on the route on Saturday night - restrictions start at midnight. They'll take it away somewhere, though it's free to get it back. The helpline is 0844 888 3883.