Race Review: London Winter Run

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I didn’t plan on running the Winter Run this year for several reasons. First, I did it last year and have the snowflake medal and a photo of me with a polar bear to prove it. It was also a bit pricey. But for me, the cycle super highway has destroyed London as a racing venue for me. If you take out the river from Westminster to Tower Bridge, you take out the heart of the city. You lose the Eye, Westminster and the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, the Tate and St Pauls, Tower Bridge, as well as the Thames. You end up running up and down side streets behind Fleet Street and the Strand, or Ludgate and Aldersgate. Not as much fun. And so I had no plans to run it.

Conversations in #UKRUNCHAT did however mean that a lot of people I knew were coming into the city to take part and so I decided to join the cheering party and stand at the ready with words of encouragement and jelly babies. And I was ok with this. All the way up until a few days before when one of the runners said they had someone drop out from their group and had a free slot. Uncharacteristically I jumped on the opportunity and became a last minute participant in my second Winter Run.

THE WINTER RUN SERIES

These are well organised races (for the most part) and well supported ones at that with proceeds going to Cancer Research. A very good cause close to a lot of people’s hearts. There are several over the country now and follow a pretty standard template. Volunteers dressed up as snowmen, polar bears and St Bernards, fake snow, snow themed medals, all good? Well, those bits are all good, as are the volunteers. The bag drop works, even with 15,000 runners. Jo Pavey was in attendance. The start though. URGH! It was the British 10K all over again. A free for all with time slots meaning nothing, anticipated finish times meaning nothing but, ah, what can you do? You can’t have everything? Oh, right, you can. It is called the London BUPA 10K.

For me it was a tricky one. I was in no mindset for running having not planned to run in the first place. I had also run a PB at Brockwell Parkrun the day before. My trusty Nike+ watch had also died a death, finally succumbing to 3 years of abuse and varied weather the seal broke and water got in killing the screen. So I had to borrow a Garmin VivoActive.

Now, a selling point was the meetup potential of this race. As well as going long at 4-5 marathons and a ultra one thing I am trying to do is spend more races meeting up with the great people of this running community. With Gemma giving me the race place, and Jen from #ukrunchat as an armed and dangerous snowman volunteer, lunch afterwards would include getting on for a dozen great people and so I was there in spades.

THE RACE

I had no Nike+ for the first time in a race since the battery died at the Rock n Roll Dublin half two years ago, but fortunately I was loaned a Garmin VivoActive to try that would keep track of my run. So how did I do?

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I know I know, it is not the Nike+ map with pace driven colours and KM markers, but beggars can’t be choosers. Still, at least it gave me my splits, albeit in miles.

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54 and change, so normal bimbling pace for me. Confident and comfortable run in the rain in a field of 15,000 that did include walkers, and those who think walking 4 abreast is normal in a run.

OBLIGATORY RACE PHOTOS

I wore the tattoo sleeves for a laugh and almost wet myself at the bag drop when I moved one to get the wrist band associated with my bag put on. The girl’s reaction was cute. Rock n roll without all the pain.

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RACE BLING

Actually better than last year. It is a variant of it, and it is improved I think.

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Number 94 with Santa Hustle medal on the way.

AND THE REAL REASON FOR GOING

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The real reason for running the Winter Run London, the peeps, the peeps. And a good boozy lunch afterwards.

IN SUMMARY

The Winter Run series is what you make of it. A lesser event than BUPA London but certainly better than that diabolical British 10K. Volunteers get to dress up as snowmen or polar bears, the medal is good. No goody bags or t-shirts though. Still, once the cycle super highway is complete and the city is back to its best, it will be absolutely worth running this.

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Sure, just get an early wave.

WOULD I RUN IT AGAIN? Probably not. But then I said that last year.

NEXT UP: GREENWICH10K

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