Last year, as I watched my friends run the final kilometres of the Bupa London 10,000, I made the decision that, in 2014, I would be there too. I'd been running for all of about three weeks (I think) and could barely make it round the block.
12 months, hundreds of kilometres and numerous races later, there I was, on the start line (pulling an awesome Mobot), grin on my face, raring to go...how things can change...
With 17,000 entrants, plus their entourages (I've never seen so many supporters!) the assembly area in Green Park was buzzing with anticipation when I arrived bright and early on Sunday morning. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many excited people who were all looking forward to the same thing!
The organisers had done a great job making sure that anything we could need was on hand; Buxton water, Lucozade sports drinks, free massages from Bupa and a whole 'arsenal' of porta-loos (always essential!). It was the perfect environment to relax, warm up and get race ready.
I entered the Bupa London 10,000 long before I had run even my first race, which meant I really didn't have any clue about how fast I could run! Subsequently I found myself in one of the later, slower waves, which probably didn't reflect my recent performance. With this in mind, I positioned myself right at the front of my wave, nice and close to the edge to facilitate lots of passing! As waves were being released a few minutes apart, this also meant that I ended up
right on the start line
as my wave waited for Mo Farrah to start our race! It was so special to be one of the first people to cross that line and run out on to a near deserted Mall. I felt like a rock star!
Right from the start there was the sense that some people had over-estimated their race times, and I spied people who had started in earlier waves walking within the first kilometre (this might also have been the heat!). Given that I was in the opposite position, starting in a slower wave than my ability, this created some challenges - while I had expected that I would need to pass some people, I didn't anticipate that I would spend nearly the whole race overtaking, and I just wouldn't get in to a decent stride. It was so frustrating and made the race harder than it needed to be. Oh and I was hot...that was tricky too.
What wasn't frustrating was the route! It's no secret that I love Westminster and The City of London, and it was amazing to be able to run down the middle of the road taking in the sights (and a little cobble practice through Leadenhall Market). Coupled with the atmosphere created by some insanely enthusiastic supporters, this is what makes Bupa London 10,000 what it is - a race that is all about London at it's best!
Even with the uplifting atmosphere, I had to push myself through this race, but no more so than through the last 800 meters. Running along the edge of St Jame's Park, towards the finish line outside of Buckingham Palace, I could feel the heat getting to me and the water I had taken on sloshing around in my belly. With my head down, and dodging round London's Air Ambulance crew, who were impressively running in uniform, I pushed myself in to sprint to finish the race, hot, tired and glad to have run, but glad to have finished!
Now, post race, things started to get a little strange...as soon as I had regained my composure (having needed a little sit down after crossing the finish line) I checked Nike+ and noticed that it had logged a run of 10.5km (could have been all the ducking and diving as I weaved around people)....and that I'd smashed my 10k PB with a time of 54.16! So far, so happy...until my chip time came through last night...
There's more than two minutes difference between my times, and I have no idea which one is right! Charlie mentioned in her race report from last year that her official time changed a couple of days after the race, so let's see what happens!
Challenges aside, I did enjoy this race!
The Bupa London 10,000 is a special race - the route is amazing and it has that special atmosphere you only get at a big race! Every runner has the opportunity to feel like a superstar as they run through the city streets, whether it is their first or their 100th race. Oh and the medal is pretty lovely too...it's no wonder people come back year after year!