Over the past four weeks I have run three, really quite different, 10k races, and when I say races, I mean runs or more realistically, events. Running is so popular and so mainstream now (and that isn’t a criticism, just an observation) that the opportunity to race and achieve a PB at any big event seems to be limited.
As a sport science student and someone who cares passionately that people should participate in sport I am buoyed by the number of people who take part in these events. Unfortunately, I’m also quite competitive and when I enter, I would like to achieve the best that I can. I have learnt a lesson this summer about what I should realistically think I can achieve.
The first of my three was the Nike Women’s 10k in Victoria Park, London. I love that park, I run through, round and just in it a lot. The waves worked fairly well and when we were catching people on the second lap, runners did move to the side as the race rules suggested and the marshals reminded people. The worst bit was seeing a woman nearly fall as she tried to overtake someone right at the start. It was a heart in mouth moment as she went almost down, but recovered in time to save herself. With so many people crammed together at that point it could have been messy, my adrenaline levels were peaking!
Overall, it was really well organised – apart from the ridiculous warm up at the beginning and the notable shortage of toilets, we’re all girls, more cubicles please! – and a very positive atmosphere. I think I’d do it again, if runners continue to respect the letting people pass guidance and especially if they move it back to the night. Oh, and one of my favourite ever race T-shirts! It is so light and comfortable to wear, hmmm, is that because they want to encourage you to shop at Nike? (It worked, but it’s between me and my credit card!)
Next up was the British 10k, a loopy, u-turny route through central London. I did this event last year, so should have been slightly more realistic and not considered it a PB event. You start in waves, but it’s all mixed up, so if you get to the front of your wave, you get to run at your chosen pace and in space for about two minutes. Then you catch up the back runners from the wave before, then it’s a constant, catch up thing. There’s a lot of weaving in and out. I know that I could have avoided a lot of this if I’d got to the start line really early, but I’m in this awful habit of going to the loo at the the last possible minute! So I accept that it’s my fault that I’m not closer to the start. I enjoyed the route, but didn’t really enjoy waiting for my bag for almost as long as it took me to run! This run is on the top end of expense for what it is so I might not do it again, if I did I’d definitely try to think more about where I am and what is around me and not think about time.
The last of the three was the Newham 10k, billed as #BackToTheStadium as you ran the final 300m on the Olympic track inside the Olympic Park. Having watched that Super Saturday with Mo, Jess, Greg and everyone, the chance to run on that track and experience the Stadium was one not to miss.
It was really hot, there were slightly more inclines than I’d remembered, but it was amazing. There was surprisingly little crowd support along the route but it was fantastic. We started in waves according to our predicted times and it was one lap so the PB potential was high too. It was so exciting to enter the Olympic Stadium, but slightly confusing to discover we had to run round the bowels of the place before finally emerging onto the track. At that point, everything was forgotten.
It was the most amazing feeling to run on that Holy Grail of running tracks. Crossing the finish line was such an incredible high. Follow that up by seeing my family in the crowd and a real roar as you entered the stadium it is definitely on my do again list for next year – I think you can sign up now, must do it today….