Asics London 10k 2019
On the 21st July 2019 I took part in the Asics London 10k. The name may have changed from the British 10k, but the course and the event remains the same. This is the 7th time I have taken part in this event, and 4th as the 45 minute pacer. As always I had a fantastic time, and this blog aims to review the event to capture it from my perspective on the 45 minute #funbus.
I first ran the British / Asics London 10k in 2012, and with an injury still managed a PB of 37:27, which remains my PB to date. Back then I wasn’t overly impressed with the event, it had a lot of setbacks which have been improved over the years. In 2013 I came back for the second time to take part in the British/ Asics London 10k for charity. This was 3 months after the birth of my first child, and training had been limited. It was later this year I decided to start pacing, and found a love for pacing others. I came back to run again in 2015 with a media place, so have experienced this event from all aspects.
In 2016 I returned to the British / Asics London 10k as an Official Pacer and completed the 45 minute #funbus in 44:51. In 2017 Virgin Sport took over with Asics as sponsors, I returned and finished in a time of 44:40 as the 45 minute pacer. In 2018 I once again joined the #dreamteam as the 45 minute pacer and finished in 44:55 with lots of happy runners. You can see my review of the British 10k 2018 in my blog HERE. I always love pacing, and this event marked my 75th event as an official pacer.
I don’t take part in many 10k events, and the Asics London 10k has turned into one of my favourites. As always I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anything, so I got my kit together the day before. The #flatlay is the perfect way to check your kit. I knew I would get a different top, but wanted to make sure pre / during and post event I would be ready.
I made my way to the Asics London 10k nice and early for a 07:45 meet with the Pacers. It is great meeting up with lots of familiar faces, it’s just difficult with so many as it’s hard to talk to everyone. I went for a photo with the #dreamteam Pacers, and then mingled for a while before making our way to the start.
When I arrived the bag drop and village was empty. There were also no toilet queues. I tend to get to races early and prepare for busy starts. Asics London 10k starts in the heart of London, and finishes in the streets of London, something very different from other big events that start and finish in parks. It is fantastic, and different, meaning we take over the whole of London. It does however mean the race village is smaller and gets busier. When I started to make my way to the start there were long queues for the toilet. So I would suggest to plan to get there early to avoid this.
We made our way along the Mall to get to the start, and I cannot even describe how much better the organisation is from 2012 and the earlier years I took part in this event. I remember hating how crowded the British 10k was, and how difficult it was to get to the start, but there were no delays or congestion at all getting to the correct start area in Pen C.
There were lots of familiar faces waiting for me, and so I found my spot to get the #funbus ready. As always I started a few introductions to get people ready, and build some trust and confidence. I explained to everyone that I would be running a steady average of 7:10 min miles to get us in on time. I advised that there may be congestion at the start, but mile 2 and 4 was the balance where I would make up a little time, and prepare for a more challenging mile 3. If people were with me at mile 4 then they just needed to hold on as we would sail through to the finish. As we moved forward Geoff and Jonathan, my co Pacers, said for me to go ahead and they would spread out behind.
It was a great start, and the group around me were fantastic. I expected the usually 200 metre delay, but was surprised that this didn’t happen. I don’t know why, but there were no congestion at all at the start, and I eased us straight into desired pace.
I always find it best to ease into pace at a 10k, I don’t like to go from stationary to 7 min miles straight away, and there is no need. The GPS is also unpredictable at times in London. I wore my new watch, Garmin 945, which was the watch I focused on. I wore my old Garmin 235 on my other wrist, and it just goes to show how you shouldn’t rely too heavily on your watch. There was a vast difference between the two throughout in the range of a minute per mile different at times. I dont rely on my watch, I get myself into the right pace and then adapt at markers. In the Asics London 10k the kilometre markers are accurate, so it’s nice and easy to work out multiples of 4.5 minutes.
The course is a bit technical with a few twists and turns, and there are a couple of inclines, but on the whole it’s a great course. You go past so many landmarks during the race, and the crowd support at the Asics London 10k is fantastic.
I had a great group with me throughout, we built up a few seconds per km from the start and at half way we were 10 seconds per km ahead of schedule. We maintained this all the way to the end. At each turn I could see Jonathan 50 metres behind me with Geoff 50 metres behind him.
I love it once you get to around km 7 along the Thames, running past the London Eye, leading towards Big Ben (which is still being repaired), you hit 8 km on the bridge, then it’s a lovely run to the finish. I kept the pace strong, just ahead of schedule, I didn’t want to ease off for a few seconds because I wanted everyone to work hard to get themselves under 45 minutes. At 9 km I shouted for everyone to #pickupthepace as it was the final push. Lots of runners pushed ahead at the end, and it’s a great finish. I saw a man struggling towards the end so I grabbed him with another runner to help him keep going. He unfortunately stopped and I wasn’t going to be able to keep him going in time, so I left him with the fantastic runner who was helping. Once I finished I turned back to go and help him across the line, but Geoff had already picked up the arm I was supporting and finished with him, great work.
I finished in an official time of 44:47. It is always fantastic at the finish to get lots of sweaty hugs from happy runners. Like Daniel who PB’d in sub 45 today with me, which was over 2 and a half minutes quicker than Shoreditch last week, it just shows what you can do with the right pace and motivation.
The finish set up was different this year, and we grabbed our bags and water and walked to Trafalgar Square where there was a nice set up. It’s a tough one because it’s hard to find space for a village, but the faster runners had to cross the road in front of some of the back runners so they could get their tee. A bridge here would be a perfect solution to prevent this and could be a good feature. The tee is absolutely worth it, and the goody bag was on point.
I absolutely loved the Asics London 10k, and I’m impressed to have seen the improvements over the years to make it the event it is today. I certainly hope to be back next year pacing the sub 45 minute #funbus for the 5th year in a row.
How did you get on? If you ran how did you find the course? Please add any thoughts in the comments.
Next up for me is the London Triathlon next weekend.