The East Midlands Grand Prix is a series of 8 races over the course of 10 weeks, all between 5 miles and 10km. With the exception of the first race at Silverstone, there are no medals, no chip timing, no finisher t-shirts and no closed roads. Just simple racing, predominantly on countryside roads, which bring interesting routes, with plenty of hills.

I took part last year for the first time, and really enjoyed it. It was quite tough in the midst of it though. Almost a race every week can be quite tough on the legs, and if you’re weekly mileage isn’t particularly high, then there’s not really much time for any training for improvement. As I found out last year, where I was at the start of the series was pretty much where I was at at the end, with all of my race finish times within seconds of each other. Looking back though, with no other races around that time of the year, it was good to get some competitive action in, and it was good fun too, meeting up and running with fellow club members. In fact, it was the latter that made it so enjoyable.

I was in this year before the dates were even announced. But when they were announced, I realised that it wouldn’t be quite as straightforward as I had hoped. The first race, the Silverstone 10km, is just four days before my spring goal race, the Stratford Half Marathon. This means that the second race, the Wootton/Blisworth 5 is five days after the half. Not exactly what I would call ideal. I spoke to my coach and asked a question that I really already knew the answer to. Correct, it is not advisable to race a 10km just four days before your half marathon goal race. Before I’ve even started then, Silverstone is out of the question.

I could always just turn up and run it easy. However, one of the downsides of the series is that the races start at 19:30-19:45, which means a late finish and a late evening by the time I’m home and showered, especially when you’re up for work again at 05:00. So I’ll give that one a miss and ensure I’m fully prepared for Stratford. As for Wootton, that one should be fine.

Despite the lack of attendance at Silverstone, I have proceeded to sign up for the entire 2018 series. Unfortunately last year I missed out on Corby, Weedon and Milton Keynes for various reasons, so I’m keen to get those in this year. It will also be interesting to see how my times in the other races fair against last year, and to gauge improvement. I do intend on taking in all 7 of the remaining races but, taking place on workday evenings, that cannot always be guaranteed.

If you are local to the East Midlands, I would genuinely recommend taking in a race or two. From the most bizarre start to a race you’ll ever witness at Rugby to the biggest hill you’ll ever run at Harborough (it certainly felt like it at the time!), you will both have fun and be challenged. I’ve listed the dates and locations below, just in case…

9 May – Silverstone 10km

18 May – Wootton 5 miles

23 May – Rugby 6 miles

6 June – Corby 5 miles

12 June – Banbury 5 miles

26 June – Weedon 10km

3 July – Harborough 5 miles

10 July – Milton Keynes 10km

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