I wasn't sure about doing this race as it has a reputation of being only for speedy club runners. Although I train with Mersey Tri, I don't consider myself a fast runner. I looked at last year's times and decided that I would not be last, so took the plunge.The registration process was a revelation! On arrival, I was directed to an ipad, and very like my doctor's surgery, asked to input my date of birth and name. It then allocated me a number and, no sooner had I turned round to see where the numbers where, the race director himself handed me my bib! Impressive stuff.I also received a text immediately following the race with my time and followed up with an email. Nifty Entries have always been ahead of the timing game and here they proved that again.The race HQ was at the Birkenhead park visitor centre. I didn't have to queue to use the toilets there so that was a bonus. I was there quite early so I don't know if the queues built up later.There was a family run of 1 mile at 7pm before the main race at 7.30pm. This seemed to be well attended and the junior particpants each got a medal.We set off on time for one medium lap and 3 full laps of the Upper Park. As predicted, there were lots of serious club runners who soon lapped me but I was content with my own pace and I soon began to overtake people who had maybe set off too hard.The course was undulating but not too hard. It was warm and sunny but a nice breeze kept it relatively cool.One thing I would have liked was perhaps some sort of memento, not necessarily a T shirt or medal, but perhaps a buff with Wirral AC colours on it. I haven't marked the race down for this as it was only £10 to enter and I know that the cost would increase if things like these were included. Lots of runners don't necessarily want them.Overall, thoroughly enjoyed my first attempt at a club race and would definitely return next year.Organiser replied:
Hey Anne, thanks for your review, and also kudos for taking the plunge into the world of club racing! I spoke to you briefly around number collection. The club scene can be quite intimidating, especially to women, as evidenced in our (extremely) poor field gender splits over the years- see for yourself via the 'our races' tab on the Wirral AC website, historic results linked on the Birkenhead Park 5 page. Absolutely shocking. We (Race director Ronan and I) decided to try and change that via a wider SM campaign in the build up (to attract people who were not necessarily aware of the race) and engage on Twitter with more people, including the local experts in getting people out running, our wonderful local parkrun team. We got a 40/60 gender split in registrations, which although way better than anything previously seen is still not that great and we want to do better next year. Clearly that takes additional work and understanding so any tips appreciated.
Part of this will be seeing if we can up the race limit which depends on facilities. From my limited view (I was dishing out numbers with Ronan's daughter Emily) I didn't see many issues but I was quite busy in spells. 350 people came through in around 80 minutes, which although hectic at times was quite manageable with 4 tablets and 2 people plus Nifty expert around to handle any IT oddities (almost none). 600 hundred would be doable with 6 tablets and 3 people, it follows. Could the rest of the setup handle that number though? I think so but didn't see everything.
Mementos. It's partly a question of time and organisational complexity, also cost as you mention. That said, I did float the idea of a race poster, which would be available at extra cost, but it seems a bit 'out there' as far as usual stuff goes. Dunno if people would pay for something designed by eg these talented New Brighton types: https://www.toucan-tango.com/