It was a privilege to join the Vitality team to run the Vitality British 10k London Run this year. The highlight for me was meeting up with my Vitality blogging buddy Simon from the Oxford Half Marathon again. We decided to refrain from the full English breakfast that was on offer before the race, but enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere from the balcony of The Cavalry and Guards Club – waving to the crowd and doing our warm up from there was surreal. Seeing the sights of London as you run is something very special and the atmosphere was awe-inspiring. It was an amazing day.
What a race it was. I met all the Vitality Faces when I arrived and we shared stories of our Vitality journeys. After some carb loading we went out onto the balcony overlooking the start area and danced along to the warm up, watching the crowd of runners below us doing the same. The atmosphere was fantastic. We subsequently went to the start line, had a few team photos, sang the national anthem and then waited for the klaxon.
The course is fantastic, it’s really flat with no serious inclines at all and if you fancy a run where you soak up London’s sights without having to run ridiculously far, this is the event for you. You see The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster and Big Ben amongst others. Another sight was the crazy guy dressed in red, white and blue cheering on runners and handing out Vitality flags to the crowd. I think he had more energy than the runners!
The crowds lined the route and cheered you all the way round. I loved the fact that outside Big Ben there was a two story high Union Jack flag reminding you that this is a truly British event. I have to say that it was another seamlessly perfect, well organised running event. The medal at the end was fantastic, and now hangs proudly on my medal hanger along with two other Vitality Run Series medals amongst others. Thanks Vitality for a great day and for all the support that you give people to live healthy lifestyles.
Today the capital was painted pink as thousands of runners descended on central London for the Vitality British 10k. The day started early, 7.20am to be precise, with pictures and interviews before we were moved to the hospitality area in The Cavalry and Guards Club above the start line to watch the crowds gather below.
The grey skies did nothing to dampen the mood as we lined up side-by-side with the elite runners waiting to start. The course proved challenging, with multiple U-turns and elevations, and as I passed through 5k in 17 minutes 11 seconds, I realised that I had dropped well behind my planned pace. Bolstered by the strong crowd support and incredible backdrop of London landmarks, I pushed on to finish the final 5k in 16 minutes 58 seconds, earning me 6th place in a time of 34.09.
It was great to meet the other Vitality Faces and to discuss running tips and experiences, and to share the post-race buzz. It’s been a privilege to run as the Face of another iconic Vitality event. Thanks to everyone involved and hopefully see you again soon!
I never knew Trafalgar Square had a hill! Not a fast time for me but I loved running through the London streets, empty of traffic. It was such a unique experience.
I felt very privileged to have breakfast in The Cavalry and Guards Club. I couldn’t do it justice though – just some toast, scrambled eggs, orange juice and a hot coffee. I then spent time looking over the start line from the balcony , watching thousands of runners patiently waiting for the off. We started right up with the elite runners – so a LOT of runners overtook us. I settled into a steady pace, not too fast, suppressing my usual urge to keep up with everyone. In what could have been a corny scene from a movie, I saw a runner kick an empty water bottle out of the road. It hit a lamppost and landed neatly in a bucket that happened to be standing on the pavement; I’m only sorry that the runner didn’t notice.
Frances and I really enjoyed being part of the Vitality Faces programme again. My overwhelming impression of the day was the sense of camaraderie among the runners. Everyone just wanted each other to run well and have a good race.
What a day! It started early for me, travelling from Wiltshire, as I had to leave at 4am to get to London but it was worth it. Vitality looked after us well and we were treated to a VIP race experience, starting from the front of the pack which is not something that I am accustomed to. It was somewhat of a novelty and did lead me to go off a little too fast over the first mile. Fortunately, I managed to recover the situation and finished within seconds of my intended target time of 50 minutes.
The route was packed with great city sights such as Eros, Whitehall, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey to name just a few. I was fortunate to be running past Big Ben as it chimed a quarter past the hour which made me smile and gave me a much needed boost with two kilometres to go. To top it all the weather was kind and remained dry and only started raining when I was driving back to Wiltshire with a very nice medal to add to my collection.
After work on Saturday my son Alfie (8) and I got the 2.55 train from Manchester to London. We both had a lovely evening in London then before I know it I was on the first tube to Charing Cross. I met Alex and the other Vitality Faces and conducted a few media interviews. There was a great atmosphere and all of us were excited and really looking forward to this massive event! Alex gave me some last minute tips on how to run well and then we were whisked away to the hospitality area and treated like VIPs (which was very nice) though I decided against having a free full English breakfast, not too wise an hour before running!
Standing on the start line we listened to the national anthem which was very moving. I was hoping to be the first Vitality Face across the finish line. The gun went and we were off! The crowds were amazing as was the course, but it was very humid. I was pleased to finish 13th and first in the over 50 category in a time of 35.35. I was over the moon, though I finished as second Vitality Face behind 22 year old Rhys (34.09).
I would like to thank Vitality and Alex for all their help and assistance along the way, from my journey of being the Vitality Face of the Liverpool Half right up to the Vitality British 10k. It was a great experience and I would totally recommend it. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience from start to finish!