Oxford Town & Gown 10Kms

Is it just me but I had a really frustrating run at Oxford, mostly because of two things. Firstly there were close to 2000 runners all trying to fit onto what turned out to be very narrow tracks across the university parks which meant if you got caught up in traffic through there that was the pace you were stuck with til you hit the road section because there just wasn't enough room to run.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for mass particiaption events but if the course simply cannot take the volume of runners it gets harder to justify entering, and frankly that Oxford course is not up to it.

Secondly the line up for the start was chaotic. The paperwork said the start would be inside the park and it wasn't. It turned out to be on the road outside. Sure we all lined up in time slots inside the gates but it was only when everyone started moving off out onto the road that the claxon went off.

Once we were on the road it was clear that a whole different set of time slot markers were in place on the lamp posts out there. It resulted having to negotiate a path through an awful lot of slower runners.

Before anyone gets cross I'm not having a dig at slower runners. I've nothing but admiration for anyone whatever speed they go getting out there and doing it. It was surely the fault of the organisers.

Part of this is frustration on my part as I was hoping to get a decent 10 kms time. I ended up with a pb of 48.08 (about 30 secs quicker than my previous pb) but to illustrate the point I did the first 5 kms in 24.36 and the second in 23.32.

I kmow this sounds like a real whine and I'm normally supportive of race organisers for putting themselves on the line to run great events but I just wonder whether Oxford is now too big to enjoy??


  • Hello Doctor, I was at Oxford on Sunday as well and agree with your coments entirely. I'd expected the time markers to be inside the park as well, I ran for 45 secs (having started my watch at the Park Gates) before getting to the actual start line.
    The organisers either have to find a new venue (Christ Church meadow perhaps) or reduce the entries.
  • Thanks Anthony you've just reminded me of something else. What a bloody nuisance that little 4 foot wide passageway was between the park and the road on the second lap. I don't think I've been quite that intimate with a lady before without at least being introduced!

    I'm not familiar with Christ Church meadow but it's a real shame that a city like Oxford can't run a class 10k. There are some fantastic smaller races around like the Blenheim 10 which is a hard course but a smashing venue, and the Eynsham 10 which is pancake flat and great for a quick time but Oxford has such a lot of potential and when you compare it to what Bath has achieved albeit with a half marathon it pales into insignificance.

    Rant over. Off to the Salisbury 10 miler on June 15th next. Happy days.
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