On February 1st 2015 I awoke excitedly for this race. It was ‘only’ a 10k I thought. After training towards a marathon for the last few months a nice 10k would be a lovely welcome from the many miles I’d been pounding the streets. Nevertheless I’d still done my weeks training, but not done my long run to save my legs as I was out to beat my Personal Best of the previous year 56:46.
I chatted to my best friend on the car ride into London with a few butterflies in my tummy. The usual pre-race nerves but filled with excitement. I love running around London. It’s my favourite place in the world and running around it when the roads are closed is a joyous experience. Running past all the famous landmarks is just absolutely thrilling.
We parked up not too far away and wandered down towards the start. Stopped at nearly every coffee shop along the way trying to find a toilet. Luckily passing a McDonalds and grabbing a nice warm cup of tea to warm my hands too, it was absolutely freezing. There was a loose plan to meet some of the UKrunchat crew outside horse guards so we headed there. Having not met anyone before I loitered around before approaching someone with a bright blue jumper to ask are you from twitter? Nervous laughter later and we were chatting about the race and it wasn’t long before we were off to find the loos again. Some of nicest portaloos with no queues for once, if a portaloo can be deemed 'nice'.
The start was a long pen stretching down horseguards and around onto Victoria embankment. I headed down the pen before my start time. There were no call outs for waves, people were just expected to line up where they thought they should go. It was pretty much a free for all so everyone just mixed in together.
I chatted to a lovely man next to me who was participating in his first 10k race. The warm up exercises involved participating with the people around you and were lots of fun. For once I actually join in and felt I warmed up my muscles really well. The compare also got everyone doing the Mexican wave and then it was time for my wave to go. I was due out at 9:50 but due to the wave mix ups I went out at 9.38.
From the off I knew I was just going to go out as fast as I could. The first mile or so was tricky as overtaking people along Victoria Embankment was quite tight. I felt good listening to my music through my AfterShokz.
The course carried right the way down the river and under a bridge where there were people ringing cow bells. Not long after, I ran past the Tower of London and this made me raise a smile. This was the 4k mark and running past such an iconic landmark was brilliant. The fake snow here also made me quietly chuckle to myself. If you’ve ever seen those fake snow machines that blow out just a few grains of pathetic snow you’ll know what I mean. Winter run?!. It still makes me chuckle now.
Carrying back around the course back under another tunnel I ran past lots of people dressed as penguins, polar bears etc. I can’t imagine how running in a costume feels? It’s hot and hard enough in just a kit.
By the time I reached the 6k marker I had given it everything and knew I was going flat out as I was passing lots of people . The 7k point was the beautiful St Pauls Cathedral and I felt myself starting to tire, I almost missed it as I was so focussed on just getting my legs to work as fast as possible. I was telling myself just 15 more minutes at the most now.
I came back around and another ‘snow zone’. Another chuckle. I passed Blackfriars and Somerset House which I’d never really noticed before. It’s funny how you notice these things when you’re running. This is when my legs really didn’t want to work anymore and they were screaming at me, but I knew I must be really close to a good PB so I pushed just to keep going and then people started passing me again. Ahhhh! Annoyed at myself for pushing too early and at 9k had nothing left to give.
I crossed the line with a smile knowing that I’d given this race my everything and enjoyed every second of it. One of the best races I’d experienced even with the cheesy snow. And my time 52:20. Smashed my PB.
Got a great big cheer and a hug from my best friend and one of the dressed up polar bears.
I had to go back to pick up my medal as they weren’t freely handing them out. There were no goody bags either. There were free bottles of water at the end and some coconutty drink.
Then we went to the pub to meet up with the UKrunchat crew which made for a great end to a great race. If you decide to do this race don’t expect a wondrous snowy wintery wonderland but do expect a great backdrop for a race. I'm considering signing up to the winterseries next year!