Written 12 February 2015
After an enjoyable first 10K, I was keen to try a bigger event and travel a little further afield. I heard about the Bupa London 10,000 and was attracted by the prospect of running past a lot of London landmarks, along part of the course for the forthcoming 2012 London Olympics.
I also decided to raise money for charity, hoping the size of the event would encourage donations. My Mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and received treatment successfully, so I chose Breakthrough Breast Cancer to acknowledge the work that has gone on to improve awareness and treatments. I was promised extra donations if I ran wearing fake plastic breasts, so naturally I bought a pair. 🙂
I set myself an A goal of going sub-60; I’d only been 7 minutes off with my first attempt, without really trying for a time, so I thought this was realistic. The course had been described as fast and being primarily along the bank of the Thames, I had hopes for a good time. I set myself B and C goals of a PB (under 67:01) and no walking, respectively.
My parents had decided to go down to support me, but I travelled down alone earlier, arranging to meet them in the designated meeting zone. There were others with the London 10,000 kit bag at Leighton Buzzard station, so I began to get a sense of the scale of the race. Arriving in Green Park, I was met with the sight of a wide open race ‘village’, which was – as yet – quite quiet. As I wandered around to soak up the atmosphere, the area filled up rapidly and the PA announcements started. About half an hour before start time, I took my bag to the kit drop and went for a light jog to warm up, before making my way to the starting pen.
The atmosphere in the pen was great; Mo Farah – one of Team GB’s hopes for London 2012 – was running and a loud cheer went up when his name was announced. After the elites went off, each of the waves moved forward in quick order; I was really impressed with how well it was organised for so many people. Everyone was in great spirits and the weather was great.
We set off along The Mall with the crowds cheering us on. Shortly afterwards we were running along the bank of the Thames, with crowds all the way. This was very different to Milton Keynes, where the crowds thinned out shortly after the start. Here there was so much more support, with charity areas cheering on their runners. I was getting plenty of support with my ‘appendages’ and shouts of “Go, Booby Man” were not uncommon. I passed my parents at about the 3K mark (near Embankment tube station), but I didn’t see them.
At about 4K the race moved away from the Thames and into the City for a couple of kilometres. There was a slight uphill on a ramp, but nothing to worry about. Running through this stretch, we passed St. Paul’s Cathedral and also a misting station at about halfway. The mister was a bit of a let-down to be honest; it made barely any difference. I struggled mentally during this part and almost slowed to a walk, but I remembered my goals and realised it was only my head playing tricks. Heading back down to the river was a good mental boost; even with 4K to go, it felt like the home stretch.
I passed my parents again at 7K and this time I saw them, which was a nice boost. I was just about on pace for a sub-60, but beginning to flag a little. I kept going as best I could and felt like I was speeding up, but I think this was just an increase in perceived effort as I tired. Post-race analysis showed that my pace was almost constant throughout.
I did manage a strong finish down The Mall, buoyed by the crowd, and crossed the line in 1:00:27, less than 30 seconds away from my sub-60. I was really disappointed to be so close to my A goal but not make it; nonetheless I was still pleased with a 6-7 min PB. Organisation at the end was just as good as at the start: a well routed funnel, where your chip was removed from your shoe; a goody bag with a nice medal and then straight back to the park to collect my kit bag and meet my parents under the ‘H’ in the village area.
I really enjoyed this race and decided there and then that I would make it a regular event. As at the time of writing (February 2015), I’m currently registered on my 5th consecutive London 10,000 and have every intention of keeping this streak going. This may not have been my first race, but I do consider it to be my race. I also managed to raise £415 for my charity – more than double my target – so was absolutely delighted with that.
Addendum: I did suffer with some slight tech issues in this race, as well as a mild injury caused by overcompensating for old shoes. Shortly afterwards, having convinced myself that running wasn’t just a fad, I treated myself to my first Garmin and a proper pair of running shoes. 😎
Place 5393; Place AG 2529; Place gender 3769; Number 10069; AG Men18-39; 5K split 30:14; Finish 1:00:27.