The Teach First 2012 Challenge 10K – London, England

Why I did it? I am not a teacher, although the first master’s degree I started was in Education, and, to be honest, kids bug the crap out of me, as do a lot of self-righteous do-gooder educators. I like the old cynical teachers who think the kids are crap, and have had the joy of wanting to change young lives beaten out of them by the education system, funding cuts, unions, and punk ass brats. It was, however, the first London 10K in the centre where I could get to after Sheffield, and before the Royal Parks half marathon.

I have been suffering from a chest cold and, although the sickness seemed to have gone, I was dosed up with Lemsip beforehand and was unsure I was 100%. My damned knee has also been playing up, meaning I was concerned and mindful of it breaking down.

It also started too early for me. If you want to eat an hour or two before the 7.30am registration and 8.30am warm-up means getting up at half six, at the weekend, on a Sunday!

Still, the walk there was nice, and the impending rain was not due for a few hours.

When I got there…

In the race pack there was no race number, just shoe tags. So when I arrived at the Royal Festival Hall there was a HUGE queue of people lined up to register, get given the Teach First race t-shirt (but not tech t-shirts, these were heavy cotton t-shirts you wore over your race gear so many discarded them along the route)

Once you queued for what seemed like an hour, and had put the t-shirt on you got to a baggage drop. This was a bit of a clusterfuck (if you pardon my French). As we did not have numbers there was no section by number to drop your bag off. In the end there was one giant mess where you gave your bag, received a wrist band with a number on it and were through. In the end the race was delayed 10 minutes because of the mayhem and I gave up and ran with my backpack the whole race.

A few others had realised this was a pain and joined me with backpacks, others forwent the t-shirts too. Most did not, as they were teachers, with that eager, happy group mentality –  annoyingly bouncing on the spot and giggling. Oh, you won’t be so happy in an hour, I thought, but then, as most were new teachers in their early to mid twenties, I assumed they would most likely be beating me anyway.

Now, the course itself was pretty good and is shown below.

The run was nice and flat for the most part, other than when you had to mount and dismount bridges, and then had to go up and down flights of steps.

It was also an open course, not closed off with barriers, so we had to run around tourists, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as having people running at us in the opposite direction. I had not experienced this before and it did mean we had to stop from time to time.

Now, I do not know my time yet, but we were not the first group over the start line, and could have spent 1 to 2 minutes heading to it to start the race. But, with the clock starting from the beginning, before I got there, and only saying 58 minutes when I crossed it, I am pretty sure the time published tomorrow will be a chip timed PB. I am in that strange situation where my Nike+ GPS Sportswatch told me I did 10.1KM in 59.01 as I started it before I crossed the start line, and some way after I crossed the finish. Sub hour will make me happy, although my damned Nike+ currently thinks the 56:06 I supposedly did at the British 10K (chip time 1:01:58) is my PB.

Chip time always wins for me. So we shall see tomorrow.

And so I got the medal.

Overall rating – route (4 out of 5 but could have been a closed route – although the London TriAthlon is today so it couldn’t have been) organisation (3 out of 5 – bad t-shirts, marshalling limited, bag drop was a shit show) how I did (4 out of 5 – could still knock 10 mins off) overall (3.666666 out of 5).

Would I run it again next year? Maybe.

And then there were four…

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