Sunday 1 June 2014

Bluewater Baby Race 2014 (buggy running)

I entered this race mostly because I wanted to run a race with my daughter in her running buggy. The event was mostly a fund raising event for the Tommy's charity. As part of the entry process I was required to set up a fundraising page, which I did. I'd like to say a very big thank you to everyone who sponsored me. By the way, my fundraising page will remain open for a while longer so any additional contributions will be very gratefully received.

running buggy assembled and ready to go...

On the day, I turned up at Bluewater and made our way round to the race hq area. It was all quite informal and there were balloons being handed out to the babies and children - one of which we attached to the buggy. There were also a few mascot-type people around. I spotted a bunny, a bear, a pirate, and a boost drink cup. Just before the race was due to start, there was a sensory session for the kids and then a proper warm up for the adults.

the pre-race activities

For those of you that are not aware, Bluewater shopping centre sits in the centre of a 240 acre former chalk quarry. Adjacent to the shopping centre are 13,000 car parking spaces. At the outer edge of the site you can see white cliff faces where the quarrying stopped. There are also numerous water features throughout the site which create some respite from the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre itself.

start line

When I received the final race instructions by email, I spotted that there were prizes on offer for the top three finishers (with buggy) and top three finishers (without buggy). The prizes were in the form of vouchers to spend in Bluewater and were £100 for first place, £50 for second place, and £25 for third place. As I've been running fairly well recently, I wondered if it might be possible to get a podium finish.

and we're off

As it was a fundraising event, the theme was to dress in bright or neon colours. However, I didn't see this until it was too late to buy something so I did my best by wearing my bright orange socks and my So Let's Go Running vest, which has bright orange panels at the sides. I felt that I might have overdone it a bit by wearing my running group vest to a charity event, but it did the job nicely.


At 8.30am, I lined up at the front of the start area, knowing that it was extremely likely that I would be one of the faster runners and didn't want to be caught in the crowd. After a countdown we were sent on our way. I immediately headed to the front and followed the well-marked route. Most of the marshals were surprised to see me reach them so soon and cheered us as we passed.

just after crossing the finish line

It wasn't long before me and my daughter had left everyone else behind and were running completely alone. Still we pushed on at a decent pace along the two lap route around the outer edge of the quarry. We passed the half-way point after around 14 minutes and not long after this we caught up with the walkers who were still on their first lap. Overtaking with the buggy wasn't easy and we had to take to the grass to get past which made it slightly harder work.

photo call

The course had initially been advertised as an 8k route. This was then updated to a 7-8k route. In fact it ended up being a 6.8k route, which was absolutely fine with me as I had already decided to run with the Bluewater Sweatshop Running Community immediately after and it meant my legs would be fresher for that. We eventually arrived back at the start/finish area and crossed the line in first position.


We were handed a goodie bag and our £100 voucher for finishing first. We then went back to the finish line to have some photos taken by the official photographer. Our time for the 6.8k course worked out at about 28.10, which was fairly decent and after reviewing my splits it looks like we set a new 5k buggy running personal best time of 20.36 in the process. I'm pretty sure a sub-20 5k buggy run might just be possible so we'll have a serious crack at it pretty soon.

a quick hug from the mama

We had a great time at the event. As always, my daughter loved being pushed in her buggy. As far as she is concerned 'the faster, the better' applies and she was thrilled to be the winner of the race. There were no medals or anything at this race, but we did use a few of the money-off coupons that were in the goodie bag after the run while we were in Bluewater, and our prize money was spent faster than it took us to run the race - all on things for her bedroom, which she loves. A good day!
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