I knew as soon as I heard about We Own The Night that it was a race I wanted to run. There is something electrifying about the idea of 10,000 women lighting up the night as they race around London's Victoria Park, supporting each other to succeed and partying hard (I heard something about prosecco at the finish line...). Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?!
As all runners know, a race is about so much more than turning up on the day, weeks of preparation precede any successful even, and Nike takes preparation very seriously! We Own the Streets is a series of training events taking place over eight weeks and taking in eight amazing London landmarks all in preparation for We Own the Night on 10 May 2014. When I saw the tweet from Elle Running (the event's media partner) I thought I had hit the jackpot - the opportunity to run through my favourite city, taking in some of its most beautiful landmarks, all while getting race ready...it was like a dream come true!
NikeTown on Monday evening was buzzing with women gearing up to run - even after a hard day, it was wasn't difficult to get excited about what lay ahead as we were led through an energising warm up (albeit in very close quarters - sorry to the lady I kicked!) and worked out which pace group to join. I opted to joint the blue/green group aiming for a 55-60 minute pace 10k - perfect as I am aiming to improve on my previous 10k PB of 60 minutes, 48 seconds, and this training run definitely gave me the confidence to feel like that is possible!
Setting out from NikeTown Oxford Circus, our pacers (whose names I didn't catch, but who were awesome!) led us through central London, running straight across Oxford Circus (surreal) and down Regent's Street (double surreal), dodgy pedestrians and confusing tourists along the way. It must have been quiet a sight to see a pack of around 20 girls, all in matching t-shirts, running down the streets!
I think I chose my group right, the pace was challenging, but not hard - in fact, I got to have a lovely chat with Zoe along the way - and the pacers motivated us the whole way round to put in our best effort. Having never run as part of a group (outside of a race environment), it was really nice to add a new dimension to my training!
The half way point of our route (and landmark of the week!) was Trafalgar Square - one of my favourite locations in London, especially in the evening! Although I never imagined that I would end up doing squats and butt flicks in front of Nelson's Column! After a quick workout we were back on our way, heading through the crowds back to NikeTown, high fiving members of the black/purple group as we went by. The second half of a run is always harder, but the group never split up as the pacers ensured that we always waited for anyone who was struggling so that we could finish the run as a group, an important touch.
I had such a horrible day on Monday, for all sorts of reasons, but the time I spent with the Nike crew, running around like a loon in London, really lifted my spirits. I will definitely be back next week, and I cannot wait to see where the route takes us!
Not signed up for We Own The Night yet? Why ever not? Get in now while you can, and then get down to NikeTown on Monday at 6pm to get race ready! Alternatively, you could head to Nike Box Park (Monday, 6pm), Nike Covent Garden (Monday, 6pm) or Nike White City (Tuesday, 6.30pm) - wherever you go, there are no excuses not to be ready for 10 May 2014!