In the UK this week has been Woman in Sport week. What better way to celebrate this than to take part in a race? To be honest, I hadn’t intended to take part in a race this week but I saw a competition on Twitter that simply involved a retweet and I thought why not? I will never win anyway. How wrong I could be. On Wednesday I was told that I had won and was now running the Womans running UK 10k down in London. A huge thanks to @ukrunchat who are the brains behind an amazing running community on twitter, Womans running UK a fab magazine and Endomono who is another sports community, activity tracker.
My first thought was to contact my running friends to see if anyone fancied coming with me but they were all busy :(. Not to be put off I started to make plans to go on my own anyway :).The forecast was good (if a little hot) and it was the right side of London to make it easy to get too for me.
Sunday morning came after a night of little sleep but I got up, ate my porridge and set off. The car part of the journey took an hour and the tube about half of that! (The tube cost me £11 which I thought was a bit steep for only going about 7 stops – 20 pence more and I could have got all the way into the centre of London!)
The first thing I saw when I got to Finsbury park was the queue for the toilets. Not too bad – a good sign. Because my entry into the race had been late I had to collect my number on the day. This was a really easy process. I put my bag into baggage and headed for the toilet queue with 20 minutes to spare. . I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t make it but I had plenty of time.So far so good – everyone was as friendly as I had hoped.
It was a nice ‘small’ event with a good range of pacers.
As you can see the sun was shining for once and I wasn’t at all cold waiting for the race to start. I chatted to a couple of people (who had come all the way from Sunderland!) and then it was time to go to the start.
I have never been so close to the start line!
There was a 5k option too and these started at the front with us 10kers further back.
On the day before I had found a course map and looked at it. I made the assumption that being in London it would be fairly flat and, looking at the map a bit demoralising too as there appeared to be a few up and backs where you would be able to see the people ahead of you.
In reality the out and backs weren’t a problem as you were separated more than it looks and so were not really that aware of those ahead of you (thank goodness!). It was however hilly (well coming from the fens hilly). My Garmin says it had an elevation gain of 85m. To be fair, at the end everyone was talking about how hilly it had been so can’t just be the fen girl’s opinion.
The upside to hills are the down hill sections and with these I wasn’t disappointed. There was just one hard hill in the last Km that was a bit mean but once up that it was downhill all the way to the finish. :)
Before the race, when I saw that there were 2 water stations I was a bit surprised but to be honest today I was really pleased that there were (3!) stations as it was soo hot. There was some water poured over my head!
The finish was a very welcome (as you would expect). What was a really nice touch was the way everybody had their name shouted out as they approached the finish line. This does make a big difference so a huge thank you for that. As always with a race a huge thank you to all the encouraging comments and big smiles from all the marshals – it all makes such a difference to how the whole feel of the race is.
Probably the best bit of the whole event, however was the goody bag:
For a smallish race this was awesome.
There was also some sort of ice cream that was yummy as well as a drink. Also:
We mustn’t forget the bling!
No expense spared – there was even an engraving on the back!
This is a great race. Really friendly and far from intimidating. Being small and so encouraging it is a great run for those who feel a bit unsure or are just starting out (with the 5k being a good first option). Everyone is made to feel as if they have achieved something really worthwhile. The pacers make it good for those getting used to running races and who want to try to keep to a pace. Being a fairly small event with wide paths keeping with them would have been easy unlike many of the other races I have done.
The course itself is challenging enough for runners looking for that bit extra and the goody bag is well worth it. Had I not won the competition would not have gone but I am more than pleased that I did – running in a different place is always welcome and a good challenge for me. I shall not always dismiss races in London as although I started quite early I got home in time for a late lunch and a rest in the garden.
There is another one in September and I would encourage you to consider it. It really is 5 mins (or less) from the station so if you are in London there should be no excuses. Why not make a weekend of it like those girls from Sunderland?
Thank you ukrunchat and Womans running Magazine for a really lovely Sunday race.
Note: All views are my own.