London Winter Run is far and away one of my favourite runs. The route through central London is beautiful, the atmosphere amazing and the gimmicks not too much or too little. It's never a race I run 'seriously', preferring instead to run it for fun with people I love. Last year that was my Dad, this year it was my friend Becca.
Becca and I go way back. We met at university where we were both involved in student politics and have been friends every since. A decade on and we're still very much in each other's lives, we've been through ups and downs as we navigate establishing ourselves as 'grown ups', but all in all there's a lot of love there. Oh and we trained for Paris Marathon together, and she is one of the best running buddies out there. Who better to take on the cold at the Winter Run?
Now being totally honest neither of us had trained much for this one. We'd both seen in the new year managing various ailments which, combined with demanding jobs and lots of social obligations rather got in the way of training. It's fair to say we were a long way from the point we were at two years ago when we were training for the marathon! So as a result of our questionable fitness levels we decided this was one for fun, we'd take it slow, appreciate the sights, high five lots of furry creatures and generally have a good time. Which we did.
I am a huge advocate of taking things easy when it comes to running. Of course there'll be times when you want to race around and PR, but when you're running a quirky race with friends it can be so much more fun to take things easy and take the time to really enjoy yourself. Trotting along we really got to enjoy all the fun gimmicks Human Race Events put on for the Winter Run, there was a pack of high-fiving snow wolves (possibly? I wasn't totally sure), bands and choirs, disco dancing penguins (actually, some of them really should've pulled their finger out a bit with their moves, but others made up for it) and of course polar bear hugs at the end. We ran through snow storms and were serenaded by cow bells (obligatory for all future support crews). Plus there was chocolate and a huge medal at the finish line. That's something the Winter Run does really well, medals.
I'll admit that we both surprised ourselves with our fitness, we made it round in just short of 1 hour and 7 minutes - not the worst time either of us have ever done, and we both felt good afterwards. Plus no walking breaks! I'd had a few twinges in my leg on the way around but they eased off, so all felt good. Sadly however at lunch on Maltby Street something felt 'funny' in my knee and, before I knew it, I wasn't able to put any weight on my right leg. Cue an emergency Uber home and an afternoon propping my leg up and wrapping my knee in a Therapearl. I'm not really sure what I've done, and it's probably because my running has been pretty intermittent lately, but everything is easing up and I'm sure all will be better soon. I definitely won't hold it against the Winter Run, it's still my favourite. Bring on 2018!
*London Winter Run were kind enough to invite me to participate, but as always all opinions are my own*