Cotswold Classic 2022 Race Director Report
Time flies when you’re having fun so maybe that’s why this year’s Cotswold Classic went by in such a blur? This year was my third year at the helm of this fantastic race with such a long history; I only realised this year that it actually predates Witney Roadrunners!
After having to cancel the 2020 edition and last year’s edition returning amidst the tail end of the pandemic, this year felt more normal. Our numbers were still a little down on pre-pandemic levels (like so many other races and events) but I still had 272 excited faces watching me teeter on a step ladder to deliver the race briefing. I was complimented for adding a little humour to it whilst at the same time being told by someone else that they’d be scared of me if they didn’t know me better!
There are a number of moments of relief on the day as the day progresses as planned and one of the biggest is watching the tail of the race disappear up the New Yatt Road. The first thing it offers is a chance to catch my breath and have a bite to eat before the progress updates start coming in across the Raynet walkie talkie from their 5 checkpoints around the course.
The next big relief is when the runners, like tall featherless homing pigeons, start to return to their coup at The King’s School. It’s my first chance to ask how the race, the course, the marshals have been received. The glowing reports started with the lead runners and continued for the next two and a half hours.
Our army of more than 60 volunteers covering from Race HQ to the car parks, water stations and every corner of the course have yet again done me and my club proud. “Fantastic”, “awesome”, “friendly”, “organised”, “supportive” and “well spread” are just some of the words used to describe them.
Yet again our long sleeve race tshirt continues to be a big part of our race and seeing the sea of red around the finish area was amazing. The runners always compliment us on having long sleeves and different fits for men and women and we know from experience they are long lasting with so many popping up at parkruns and races through the year. I look forward to seeing the red ones this winter, reminding me of what a great day we put on.
As well as the hoard of volunteers and happy runners, the race day could not run as smoothly as it does without the help I get from the Cotswold Classic committee. Just 6 people help me with the year of planning that goes in to putting on the race and this year, with my work life being as busy as it ever has been, they have shared the work round which I am incredibly grateful for.
The other thing we’re very fortunate to have is a superb selection of suppliers and sponsors. The services and sponsorship they supply make it a lot easier to put on the race in the way we do for the price we do. Having a regular racer tell me the Cotswold Classic is the most professional event they attend is in no short part testimony to the support we get from suppliers and sponsors. It was lovely to see 3 runners form our lead sponsor Bronsens Accountants take part along with representation from many of our other sponsors taking part, either with race numbers or hivis on. Please look at the back of the shirts and remember our sponsors when you’re looking for great local suppliers.
It was great to see a big crowd stay on for the presentations and to congratulate our final finisher across the line; some sipping their finisher’s beer, some clutching a full can to enjoy later. It really shows the positive atmosphere that surrounds the race and, at the finish, that is largely down to our resident race commentator Crabby who tirelessly called in each and every runner, living every step of every sprint finish, making the finishers feel like superstars!
And then, as if by magic, the school was back to how we’d found it 6 hours prior and anyone passing would have no idea of the awesomeness that had been on show from all involved runners, volunteers and spectators.
Big thanks again to everyone involved in making the race a continued success and my role as Race Director so enjoyable. Now to start planning next year!