I love running in London but have avoided it since the VLM disaster a couple of years ago. The last time I did a 10k in London it was the British 10k. The British 10k has an awful reputation which I fully knew before hand. But I wanted to run in London and the dates worked. I remember thinking next time I will do the Bupa 10,000 instead which universally gets great reviews, and with good reason … it is everything a race should be.
The start’s and stop’s outside Buckingham Palace. Presumably, the Queen wasn’t there otherwise I am sure she would have said ‘Hello’. The 10k route travels along The Strand (outside my old building) and turns around in the City. The first and last 3k (bar finish) run alongside which I always find demoralising but otherwise it’s a great route.
Arriving at Green Park Underground station for 09:15 it was fairly easy to find which way to go. Just follow the mass of runners.
Vitality had taken over the small Gren Park with lots of things to see and do. I skipped past all of these and went towards Buckingham Palace and Operation ‘Find a Loo’. This was no mean feat given the huge snaking queues. As often the case if you keep walking you will find some with shorter queues and it took me only a few minutes of lining up.
The race start was organised into waves. I was in the Green Wave with a predicted finish time of 60 minutes. There were 3 other waves based on finish time. There were marshalls everywhere ensuring that only those with the correct coloured bib were admitted into the start pen. As each wave starts you move forward and wait your turn. Having warmed up already I was ready to get going.
My ‘Race Strategy’ was to stick with those who started with me, not to look at my watch and just go on feel. I didn’t want to walk and figured if I get to about 8-9km still around the 60-minute mark I could push on if I had the energy. Once again it seemed that everyone had ignored the ‘no headphones’ rule. Next time I am taking music.
Mass participation events like this have a lot of people running for fun or fitness as well as those ‘competing’ so you will always get lots of walkers – which is absolutely fine. However generally I think it would be considerate to go to the side, you had some people walking 3-4 abreast in the middle of the road and it’s not really fair to hold someone else up. No big deal.
The weather was warm but at least overcast which helped. The race itself was going fine, the plan was working. I was comfortable at 5k mark taking in the sights. I had noticed the people thinning out now and more people walking. I started speeding up a little at each km mark. The crowds were amazing, there were bands playing all types of music including an orchestra. People cheering it was similar to the VLM (sad face).
Coming up towards 9km I realised that I had done well and I would be on target for my time, especially given the effort I had put in … but the watch said 5.6 miles completed and 58 minutes. A pang of disappointment, I wouldn’t come close to my target time. I wanted to stop and walk right there but kept pushing on. Saw the family near the finish and sprinted across the line. The last 5k was much quicker than the first but still, I stopped the clock at just under 65 minutes.
I collected my goody bag unusually there were loads of Large and Extra Large shirts available which isn’t always the case for us with ‘untrained muscle’. The metal was awesome and my daughter wore it with pride for the rest of the day.
We went to Covent Garden, watched some Street Performers and headed home. Despite missing my target I loved the event.
Incidentally, Strava said I had covered 6.6 miles and my 10k time was extracted as 1:00:28. Garmin says it was 6.26 miles and my 10k time was 64 minutes. I use Garmin as prime so will go with the lower figure. Boo hoo.