On a blustery January morning, 472 runners gathered on Cotterstock Road at the start line of the Oundle New Year 10k. The race was organised by Nice Work, a specialist race management company that organises races for runners at all levels to give all runners the same support no matter their pace or ability.
Nice Work came to Oundle when Darryl Coulter, a Nice Work regular, moved here two years ago and noticed that there was a lack of races in the town.
Darryl Coulter takes his running seriously. Despite only starting to run in 2011, he has completed nearly 100 races of marathon distance or longer, including most recently the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in the Alps. He has also completed all six world marathon majors.
When Nice Work came to look around after Coulter’s suggestion, they decided there was potential for the area as a race venue.
Marketing Manager Rachael Wood said: “We went up and had a look and saw the potential of how picturesque the area is and decided to launch the Oundle 20 Mile race in 2017 and were amazed with how well the first event was received, despite being postponed by the Beast from the East! We then launched the Oundle New Year 10k, which sold out, with the 20 mile following suit in March.”
After the first race, each event has shown an increase on the last in participation numbers, and looks set to continue to do so: “We aim to make the races bigger and better in 2020 with the addition of more events.”
The 10K race started at Oundle CE Primary School, which, as the host, benefits directly from each one, and followed a loop from Oundle to Cotterstock, Glapthorn and then back into Oundle. Although the route might not seem arduous, the runners enjoyed the challenge. One competitor wrote on Twitter: “Amazing how a run that starts and finishes in the same place can be 90% up hill, and 95% against the wind. Or maybe that’s just how it felt.”
Nice Work aims to attract runners of all abilities from the fast elite level and experienced runners to beginners and those new to running. They do not have cut off times on any of their events and give all runners the same support no matter their pace or ability.
The majority of the runners have come from the Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire areas, but there have been runners from London and even from the continent.
Mr Coulter will join the 100 Marathon Club in June after completing the Thames Path. He will then shift his focus: “I plan to run fewer marathons and to try instead to improve my time at the half marathon distance, ideally going under 80 minutes.”
Oundle will now be part of his running schedule. He has been impressed by the turn out for the local races. “There is clearly an appetite for more races, so stay tuned for more to come.”