Race Report by Jenna Pogue
Sunday 27/11/16 and 9 Massey runners traveled to East Midlands Airport for a 10k race. The events team, HUUB, were not allowed to publish the route for security reasons so although we didn’t know entirely where we’d be running, I hoped it would at least be somewhere near the planes! Shuttle buses transferred runners from the car park to the departures terminal where we ‘checked in’ to get our race numbers. With 2000 runners and an outside air temperature of 5 degrees, the departure hall was packed until 9:40 when everyone moved to the start pens for the race briefing/warm up.
Having been cleared for take off at 10:00, it was wheels up for the 6k lap (later followed by a 4k lap). Banking right, and out onto the ramp, we ran past an Airbus A320. I would have liked to have taken a selfie but photography was strictly prohibited and I didn’t want to be ejected from the airport! The race continued along the edge of the airport, close to the hangars and there were plenty of parked Ryanair and Jet2 Boeing 737s to be spotted in the distance plus helicopters, snow plows and fire engines. I heard there was even a Spitfire peeping out from one of the hangars but I missed that unfortunately.
The route was almost completely flat with a total ascent of only 120 feet. Our maximum cruising altitude was 292 feet. We snaked through the departure area numerous times – one of the few places that spectators could readily gather. Stuart Liggins and Mylene Feeney did a great job, waving the Massey Flag and cheering us on! The 6k loop ended at the start/finish line and it was a little confusing for some who had to make a go-around for the 4k loop. The good thing about all the snaking was that it meant we regularly passed other runners on their way out/back. It really helped pass the time, looking out for friends on the other side.
I’ve heard that this race was strictly a one-off but one of the staff told me they’ve suggested it should be an annual event. Apparently they could have sold twice the places easily and still needed a waiting list. If it’s on again, go for it! £18 got you a unique running experience, a very fast course, a weighty medal, a nice long sleeved t-shirt, a mini goody bag and the opportunity for lots of airplane related banter with your Massey mates! Anything to declare?!