Race Review : The Victoria Park 10K

I have run most of the RunThrough UK races. I ran their first race (I think), the Bushy Park half back in… well, it was a long time ago, so long ago the nation was not divided, the US had a politician as a president and not a talking Wotsit, and Alan Hansen was still sparring with Mark Lawrenson on MOTD about pass and move.

You've come a long way, baby
You’ve come a long way, baby

I have since run the Brixton 10K (at Brockwell Park), the Olympic Velodrome (twice), Battersea Park, Hyde Park, Greenwich Park (twice), and Tatton Park races, gave away spots at their Thorpe Park half and enjoy a good relationship with the guys on social media. Still to elude me was the Wimbledon half, the prime opportunity to be hugged by a Womble, and Victoria Park 5/10/half.

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And this latter race is an oddity in that I do love RunThrough and I loooove running Vicky Park. It is dead flat, well paved, with nice wide paths. The Pride 10K is there and I’ve run that twice and plan to again this year for my PB. So I guess that this had to happen eventually, Vicky Park and RunThrough needed to come together in a way only a basic Venn diagram can illustrate.

vennn

Back in January I was corralled into signing up for the RunThrough Brixton 10K by Jen and Carl and somehow ended up with two entries. The kind people at RunThrough gave me a credit for another race sometime in the year and well, with big Carl wanting a 10K PB a week after his half PB at Brighton, it seemed a perfect opportunity to get some TOF (time on feet).

And this was ALL about Carl. The aim was to keep the big man company for the three laps of the park, take his mind off any niggles and hopefully reach his target and tick off two PBs in the space of a week. A big ask for anyone, but the challenge nonetheless.

victoria-half
3 laps for us, 1 1/2 for the 5K and 6 1/2 for the half. Round and round the garden, like a Teddy bear…

The Race

A quite remarkable feat was that RunThrough held a 5K, 10K, and half marathon on the same course on the same day and so the marquis tent was deployed for bag drop and there were different medals for the distances and a much bigger team there.

The races started at different times, with the half heading off for their laps at 9:30, then the 5 at 9:55 before we finally crossed the line at 10. This really did work, as it stopped the bunching and grouping you would have seen otherwise and, so, with Carl flying (yes, he had 737 as his number) with me there for emergency backup (yes, mine was 999) we were off at a canter.

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There were others from UKDUNCHAT there too. Caroline (Lifeguard50) was running the 10 too, and the lovely Ciara (Blueeyessoul13), and Lewis (LewClarke1) of injured thumb fame ran the half, and Matt Bodkin was on his way over to cheer us on after his own race at the Olympic Park earlier.

The course, if you don’t know Victoria Park, takes you around the well paved and flat outer path, then, as you reach the south west corner, and the gate at the Mile End end, you turn sharply and run the path that diagonally bisects the park as far as the cafe, then back to the outer edge again. There was one water table, and for some reason I didn’t spot the traditional banana and flapjack table.

So How Did We do?

Our first 5K was pretty good, we set off at a good pace, the kind of pace that could have knocked 4 minutes off Carl’s time. But a race can change in an instant, and sometimes your pace just naturally drops off as you tire, especially a week after a punishing half, and so with one too many water stops and a little too long walking on our intervals we missed out on Carl’s PB by just over a minute. Still, as we say, a race is a race, and time on feet is time on feet. We finished well, strong and got the medals to prove it.

Bodders making it into the photo with his Race Organiser medal lol
Bodders making it into the photo with his Race Organiser medal lol

 And our final time, well mine, as Carl’s chip didn’t work was…

Close but no cigar this time
Bugger! Close but no cigar this time

And then a nice walk and chat with Matt Bodkin, after seeing and photos with Caroline at the end, a pat and a wave from Ciara as she hurtled by and a cracking burger in the pub and a drink and run chat with Lewis to finish the day. A good day in all in Mile End, that was only missing a PB.

The Bling

Bespoke as always, a little on the small side as always, and, and I really like this about RunThrough events, evolving. The medals change each year, getting more and more elaborate. They also had different medals for the different distances. I love this as I always think it a disappointment when I see races giving the same medal for different distances. The design? Queen Victoria is on there, as is the city skyline you see from the park.

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Boom! Bling #130

In Summary

I am glad we had a go at this, but am a little disappointed we came so close to getting Carl’s PB. It was a fun morning and beers with the guys and it was lovely to meet Caroline and see Matt and Ciara. I have been spending a lot of time on the treadmill on a 5% incline for Comrades, so it was good to get out and pound some pavement for a change.

Would I recommend the RunThrough Victoria Park 5K/10K/Half Marathon? If you do not mind laps then yes, of course, the half was 6 1/2 laps so some of you won’t like that, but it is flat and a nice clean park, so maybe worth a PB attempt.

Would I run the RunThrough Victoria Park 5K/10K/Half Marathon again? Maybe, as a PB attempt next year. My year of PBs!

Next time...
Next time…

NEXT UP: BARCELONA MARATHON

Afterword

I had planned to start the post with the Mile End lyrics from Pulp. But Mile End, much like the rest of London, is becoming gentrified to a point that a song from my university years is not really relevant, despite the humour involved.

We didn’t have nowhere to live
We didn’t have nowhere to go
Till someone said:
“I know this place off Burnett Road”
It was on the 15th floor
It had a board across the door
It took an hour
To pry it off and get inside
It smelt as if someone had died
The living room was full of flies
The kitchen sink was blocked
The bathroom sink not there at all
Oh, it’s a mess alright
Yes, it’s Mile End

And now we’re living in the sky
I never thought I’d live so high
Just like heaven
(If it didn’t look like hell)
The lift is always full of piss
The fifth-floor landing smells of fish
Not just on Fridays
Every single other day!
And all the kids come out at night
They kick a ball and have a fight
And maybe shoot somebody if they lose at pool
Oh, it’s a mess alright
Yes, it’s Mile End

Nobody wants to be your friend
’cause “you’re not from round here”, oh
(As if that was Something to be proud about!)
The pearly king of the Isle of Dogs
Feels up children in the bogs
And down by the playing fields
Someone sets a car on fire
I guess you have to go right down
Before you understand just how
How low
How low a human being can go
Oh, it’s a mess alright
Yes it’s mile end

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