On the 3rd February 2019 I took part in the London Winter Run. This is a 10k run in central London, and an event I have considered doing for years. I have never done this event before because they dont have Pacers, so I’ve always taken part in other events on the same day as an official pacer. I wasn’t supposed to be running the London Winter Run this year, in fact I was signed up to pace the 1:40 #funbus at Watford Half. The afternoon before the event it was unfortunately announced that the Watford Half Marathon had been cancelled because of the weather (click HERE to check out my blog for last years Watford Half).
I had already done my #flatlay ready for Watford and was on my way to North London, so very disappointed to hear the event had been cancelled. Such a shame for all involved, runners and organisers alike. I knew the London Winter Run was happening, so I thought I would see if I could get a last minute place, and very fortunate that I was able to. They say every cloud has a silver lining, well this was definitely a result for me. I absolutely loved everything about the event, and unfortunately would never have completed it as I usually opt for pacing instead of racing. I’m so please I got the opportunity to run.
On arriving to Trafalgar square, I picked up my bib and had a look around. The whole of central London was shut down, and the square was the event village. There was entertainment and regular warm up sessions, merchandise and various stands. There was even a 10 foot bear walking around.
I managed to bump into a few people including Austin. As you can see I’m still in my hoody. This was intended to be my clothes to keep warm before, but there was no way I was taking it off. I usually run in a tshirt, but this is a running hoody and I needed it in the -2 conditions.
I was in wave 1, and there are a few things to note. The toilets were quiet, I went before and after and didn’t queue. I may have got lucky, but this is always good. The bag drop was awesome. Again I was first wave, but you went to any letter, they gave you a slip and took the bag. When I finished they took my slip, told me to walk through to the other side of the bag drop, and someone was there waiting with my bag, so good.
Although I was in wave 1, it was not strick. There are pros and cons to this. The pro being it keeps flowing as anyone can go where they want. The waves are delayed to keep congestion down, and this appeared to work. The con is people don’t go where they are supposed to. Many in my wave should not have been, and it is the people in the wrong waves that actually cause the congestion. Think of it like the motorway. How often are you in standstill traffic and then it just moves for no reason, and you think there was no need for it. Usually that’s because someone has driven badly at the front and it has a knock on effect. If you have a dozen 70 min 10k runners start together at the very front, you will have thousands of runners behind trying to get around them.
Once we got started I was probably delayed by about 20 seconds. It wasnt long until I was able to get around people at the front. I didnt bother zig zagging around people. I had intended on just having fun, and thought sub 42 would be a good realistic goal right now. As I had my hoody I decided to keep my watch covered and just run by feel. I am not in the right shape yet to give it my all, but thought I would have a blast. I measured my pace by those around me (once I had overtaken the slower runners). Rule of thumb: if you are overtaking people, GREAT; if you are maintaining pace with those around you, perfect; if people around you are pulling away, not so good; if people are overtaking you and pulling away, time to #pickupthepace.
I’ve ran London 10k (blog HERE) and British 10k (blog HERE) plenty of times, so I’m used to running around London. The route felt most similar to British 10k, and its great finishing in the city. There are lots of twists and turns in it, but on the whole it’s a really flat and fast course.
There were some great costumes worn by the volunteers, my personal favourite was as you approached 2k, “who let the dogs out” was blaring and a dozen volunteers in husky outfits were dancing and giving out high fives. Such a fun and friendly vibe.
So how did I get on? Well better than expected. I hoped for sub 42, and got sub 41. In fact I got an official time of 40:49. Now I worked hard, but I didnt give it my all and I don’t feel like I’m ready for sub 40. However based on my time and how I felt, I think I definitely could have pushed for it. My pacing was fairly even, I didnt dip, so next time I can #pickupthepace a bit and know I can get back in sub 40 shape.
The finish line was fantastic and I loved the dozen dancing polar bears who were giving out finish line hugs.
Water, and other refreshments were given out at the end. It would have been better if we could have had a small bag, as it is a walk to the start area, I would have gone to the toilet earlier but had my hands full.
Overall I had a fantastic run. Yes I am gutted for missing my first opportunity to pace in 2019, and I always love to pace, but this was a blessing in disguise. I love running in London and this was such a friendly and fun event, it was well organised and certainly on my radar for future years.