Run Norwich 2017 is almost here.
You’ve done your training, now it’s race time.
I’ve run it for the last two years – but last year was pretty tough for me so last Sunday, a week before the race, I teamed up with a couple of ex-colleagues, Chris and Mark, to reccy the route, just to get our legs and head around it.
So how did we get on?
It’s a staggered start at the race and you’ll be grouped by colour – I’m yellow. But it takes a bit of time before you get to the actual start in Gentleman’s Walk.
Enthusiasm gets you through here, but you get your first idea of how hilly Norwich actually is when you turn into Red Lion Street up towards Chapelfield.
Remember don’t go off too quick at the start!
Chapelfield down to King’s Street
With 6000 runners it’s going to be pretty bunched up at this point, but as it’s downhill – the temptation is to accelerate down St Stephen’s, but I’d hold off at this point, as you’ll need your energy further on.
King’s Street round to the football ground
Things thin out here and to be honest it’s where mentally I tend to switch off for a bit, and take in some water. But you need to compose yourself as you’ve got to get ready for the big test that’s about to come…
Riverside and Rose Lane
This is it! The one they’ll warn you about. As you come through Riverside it’s a sharp left and over the bridge by the Compleat Angler and then you’re into the Rose Lane hill.
I like hills as it happens, so for me it’s a case of shorten the stride and simply attacking it, until you get to the top and then recover while running down Prince of Wales Road.
But that’s not for everyone. However, there’s cheering stations to help you get up and over.
Actually, the first time I did Run Norwich you had to run up Rouen Road and I found that much harder.
In any case this is where all that training and miles in your legs is going to pay off.
Remember – you can do it!
Back to Riverside, Bishopsgate and Cathedral Close
Things get scenic now as you take in the beautiful views of the cathedral, and you’ll have a second chance to take in some water if you need to. Actually I found the ‘hill’ up through Cathedral Close quite tough last year. One to watch as it might catch you out.
You’ll come out to a big crowd in Tombland and lots of music and cheering.
Magdalen Street back through Tombland to the top of Prince of Wales Road
For me this is the hardest part of the route.
I started to flag at this point as again you’ve got another testing hill to get over up Tombland. This is the bit where I’ve struggled in the past. Time to dig deep, recite your motivational mantras, and think you’re nearly there – I’ll probably be singing the Proclaimers ‘I’m Gonna Be’ in my head at this point (don’t forget MP3 players are banned).
Castle Meadow to Debenhams
When you get to the top of Tombland and you see this statue you’re almost there – it’s not quite over as there’s still a bit of a hill and then a descent but you can start to draw strength, sing the Chariot’s of Fire tune, or the Rocky theme of whatever ear worm you like to get you over the finish line. There’ll be cheering crowds here willing you on.
And then you get to Debenhams and one last ‘mountain’ to climb
The sprint finish
If you’ve got any energy left you can start to wind it in now – there’ll be plenty of runners you can pick off as you step up the pace head past Cotswold Outdoor store, a sharp right into the Forum and past City Hall to the finish.
This is it, this is why you didn’t go off too early down St Stephens and King’s Street, you kept some energy in the tank, you held a bit back as you came up Magdalen Street and Tombland. You’re Mo Farah in the final bend of the 10,000 metres on Friday night, you’re Steve Ovett, Moscow 1980 showing a clean pair of heels to Sebastian Coe in the 800m, you’re an I-talian Stallion, ‘Micky I’m not going down anymore!’, ‘Get in there Frank!’, ‘Are you watching Maggie Thatcher!’. You’re doing this, you’re gonna finish, all that training, all those early morning runs, this is why you’re here, this is what it’s about. You. Did. It!
And then you pick up your goodie back and head to Chapelfield.