History is repeating itself, as I look back to 2017 when Kew 10k started an event filled weekend. Last year I paced Kew Gardens, then went to do Swim Serpentine, followed by the Reigate Half marathon (find out more in last years blog HERE).
This year I organised the Kew 10k pacers once again, and ran the 45 min #funbus with Katie. This is the 56th official event I have paced, but this is the start of an even bigger weekend for me. As runners prepare for a double with either Richmond Half or Full, I am making my way to the airport so I can Pace Berlin Marathon tomorrow.
The first thing to note about Kew 10k, is the striking natural beauty. You usually pay to come inside Kew Gardens, and for good reason, it is so beautiful. So what else would you expect running through the park, it is absolutely stunning, and the weather was superb for us.
It is a particularly early start (08:30), but for me it’s not an issue as I live fairly close, it also meant I was able to commit to running this and Berlin on the same weekend. As pacers we arrived at 07:30 to get ready. Unfortunately there had been an issue with the pacing flags, and half the order had not arrived. This is obviously disappointing for the organisers and pacers alike, meaning we didn’t have a flag for 60 and 65, and there was one flag between two at the other times. This was not planned, but could not be helped. So we worked with the organisers to mitigate, including times to put on our back, writing our time on our swords (yes I said swords…), and we were introduced at the start line.
We slipped nicely in the front of our wave to have a chat with those around us. We didn’t have a lot of time in wave 1 before we started, but I tried to motivate those around us, explain the pacing strategy, and just have fun. Susie, who told me earlier in the week she wasnt planning on running fast, was there waiting to run a 44 min 10k with a friend (not fast… haha). There was a good group around us keen for sub 45, and I explained that we would adjust to the markers, and stay a few seconds a km ahead of target to give a comfort cushion for everyone.
Before we knew it we were off. The flat, beautiful course is such a pleasure to run. It was Katie’s first time pacing and she was a natural. We bounced off each other throughout the course shouting out encouragement. I was really surprised how many runners we had with us, it certainly felt busier than last year. The course is narrow and very technical with twists and turns, but although it felt a lot busier this year, there was not any congestion at any point.
We kept a good group of around 20 runners with us the whole event, plus many more nearby. There is only one section that becomes really narrow, and is through trail. I saw a couple of people trip here, so a bit more caution is needed at this point. One change from last year is we stayed completely in the gardens, last year we had a water station outside. The water station was well staffed, but water was in cups instead of bottles this year, and as you know I’m never a fan of cups. The volunteers were lovely but stood behind the table making it more difficult to get water from them.
The km markings were consistent throughout and seemed to be accurate. My watch recorded a slightly shorter distance and there were a couple of points it didn’t maintain accuracy through the trees. I always prefer to air on the side of caution. Each km I was finding I was building another 5 second cushion, but my watch was only suggestion I had about 2 seconds per mile. Rather than rely on the course markings I stuck with my watch. I have been at events before where course markings adjust at the very end leaving too much for runners to do, and on a fast 10k I didn’t want to leave it to luck.
The course markings were perfect, the route seemed really well supported, and everyone was having lots of fun. Katie and I kept a consistent pace throughout and finished in 44:34 with lots of happy runners around us. During the last km we encouraged them to overtake us and had many smiles waiting for us at the end.
It was a pleasure to run this course again, and with Katie. Quick change for me now and then off to Berlin… what’s next for you?
It’s that time of year again, that I’ve been nominated for the Running Awards. I came second last year. If you like my blog please take a moment to vote for me. If you like someone else’s more, then vote for them just follow the link HERE, go to Blog, Personal, pickupthepace Paul, and hit vote.