Runners Martin Jennings and Tony Foice-Beard are behind a new run the Sublime Swaffham 10k. Martin explains how they hope the Norfolk race will be the springboard for greater things.
What makes a perfect race event for you? Is it the bling you get at the end, having water stations with bottles instead of cups, a T-shirt, the goody bag, or even the parking?
Is it some of that or all of it?
Well, two keen runners think they have the answer and they have even created a new venture to prove it.
Sublime Racing is the brainchild of Martin Jennings and Tony Foice-Beard and they have got their first race – the Sublime Swaffham 10k on May 20.
Starting from Green Britain Centre the new Sublime Swaffham 10k route heads out along country lanes before heading back. They have even filmed a video of the course you can watch on their website if you go through the link above.
Something for everyone
There is also more than £600 of prize money on offer as the pair want to attract a high quality field, but Martin is keen to stress that the event is for everyone including parkrunners looking to step up to a 10k.
Martin, 47, who himself is a runner with Fenland Running Club where he has been involved in organising the Fen 10, said the idea was to create an event which provides everything a runner could wish for and a consistency of experience – or in his words a “sublime” running event, hence the name.
“What prompted us to start Sublime was to get a brand of races where the standard is really high,” he said. “Club races are fantastic, but you never really know what you are going to get. My 10k PB doesn’t show up on the Power of 10 because it wasn’t England Athletics affiliated.
“If anyone went to Brighton last weekend – it’s a city marathon, but the water is cups and you can’t drink in cups [if you are a serious runner]. Some give you a technical T-shirt, some a medal, and some both.It’s like looking for a B&B – some are awesome and some are rubbish – with Sublime we want everything to be right. Whether it’s doable or commercially viable is yet to be tested, but I think it is.
In his view he is clear on what makes a good event.
“I would want to know if there is chip timing, that it’s England Athletics approved and whether my result would show up on the Power of 10,” he says. “What I’m interested is that the water is in bottles and not cups. Then there is the guys who want a medal, that might be the park runner stepping up from 5k to 10k.”
The inaugural run has been months in the planning and already more than 100 runners have signed up the event which can cater up to a field of 400.
Why we are starting with the Sublime Swaffham 10k event
“Swaffham is a local town to us that’s got some fantastic clubs but there’s no races in Swaffham. The venue at Swaffham is phenomenal. We’ve got the approval to run the race and we have applied for partial road closures on part of the course.
“We are well over 100 runners and now that the marathons are out of the way people are starting to look at 10ks and 5ks. There’s over £600 in prize money and we are hoping to attract good runners, but we have to cater for everybody.
“The investment is huge. We have not gone into it lightly and the Chip Timing alone is hugely expensive, but we have to take the long-term view, and it’s hugely exciting. If the model works we want to grow it on a scalable basis and looking or more venues and places. The dream is that it’s going to turn into something bigger and better.”
Part of the plan is to focus on the corporate side with ideas including live streaming the race back to event sponsors, but as club runners themselves, they are also keen to support running clubs, too.
“The most important thing is that we don’t tread on any club’s toes,” Martin adds. “We are club men through and through and we want to work with the clubs and we have an arrangement with them where we can give them a unique code that gives members a bit of a discount.”
Martin has been running a “reasonable amount of time” but says he has been taking it more seriously over the last seven to eight years.
Most recently he finished the Manchester Marathon in a new PB of 2.48 – a result which capped off a great year for him.
“I’ve had a really good year – 2017 was great for me I PB’d over every distance. You get purple patches!”
However, as one of the organisers of the Sublime Swaffham 10k race he won’t be able to run the race itself – though he has already run the route.
“I’m not actually sure it’s going to be a PB course,” he sais. “It’s undulating and challenging and needs to be run intelligently – I would love to race it!”