I distinctly remember last year’s Bupa London 10000 because it was hot. And when I say hot, I do not just mean time to dig out the summer dressed hot but bikini and ice cream, eggs could fry on the pavement hot. In fact, all I can think of is how I could feel the heat reflecting off the tarmac. By the end of the race, I was well and truly knackered. You’d think that after this experience, I wouldn’t want to do it all again. How wrong you are.
Having run the Bupa London 10000 once before last year, I knew that it was a great start to the 10k season. So when I was offered a place via a friend on Twitter (yes, Twitter really does make you fitter), I jumped at the chance. What better way to kick-start your bank holiday Monday than a swift race around London? Here’s my verdict on the Bupa London 10000 2013.
Yes, I was a little late arriving at the start. Let me re-phrase that. I was on time in terms of absorbing the atmosphere in Green Park and had visited the Nestle Water stand to hydrate plus picked up a few bottles of Lucozade. You can see from my photo above that it was a beautiful sunny day. I was dawdling and had just started to organise my stuff (I cycled there from home so had my cycle helmet with me too) when I heard over the tanoy, red and blue numbers should be at the start. What? Eek, I hadn’t even pinned on my number let alone even thought about making my way to the start. In double-quick time, I stripped down to my running shorts and vest, pinned on my number, attached my timing chip to my trainer, handed over my plastic Bupa bag with all my stuff inside to the appropriate area and swiftly made my way to my starting pen. This isn’t the first time I’ve timed things rather badly. There was (ahem) one or two races I can recall quite distinctly where I have had to show off my climbing skills as in over the barrier to ensure I started in the right area. Thankfully, this was not one of those occasions. In fact, it was all rather civilised and we were all ready to go inside our pen by the time our wave set off.
And so to the race itself. It was fairly congested for the first 3-4km but really I didn’t expect it not to be. I mean the Bupa London 10000 is one of the capital’s largest races after the marathon so there’s no escaping the amount of willing participants. As with the marathon, you have to adapt your pace and it does mean that unless you’re pretty savvy or part of an elite, those dreams of a PB go out the window. The first half was pretty slow by my standard but I did see a number of women club runners sprinting up the inside lane. I’d loved to have joined them but I just don’t think I’m up to it quite yet. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of too much too soon so held back. This paid dividends in the end because by 8k and 9k, I was overtaking some runners who had run out of steam. I managed to sprint (or at least my version of a sprint as they are my weakness) the final straight.
There were also plenty of water stops along the way and the km were well marked. What makes the Bupa London 10000 so special though is the crowd. It may not be as big as the London marathon but they are just as enthusiastic.
Despite a few sharp turns, I really enjoyed running through the City. It’s one of my favourite running routes at the weekend because it’s a bit of a ghost town. The ultimate highlight was, however, very briefly seeing Mo Farah glide past on his way back to victory. He is so lithe and light on his feet and looked like a dancer leaping through the air. Awesome, absolutely awesome.
Even after the race, I still had a bit of energy left, which indicated that I hadn’t really pushed myself hard enough. And when the sports massage therapist (you get a free sports massage after the race compliments of Bupa) asked me how you make the switch from marathon to 10k, I just did not have an answer. If anyone can help me out on this one, I’d be really grateful or at least recommend a decent pacing gadget perhaps.
The free sports massage is a really nice touch and the goody bag was mostly packed full of useful freebies (pretzels, Belvita biscuits, Lucozade, dried pineapple etc). And yes, I got another medal to add to my haul and t-shirt (see below) .
As for my chip time, well I was a little too slow for my liking (45:27) but this has spurred me on to work on my 10ks over the next few months. You never know, a new PB may be in sight if I actually work a little harder on my pacing during training.
I’d definitely sign up for the Bupa London 10000 next year as it is really well organised, there were plenty of water stops and it’s a good route through London. It’s also popular with running clubs and so the competition is pretty tough.
Next year though, I’ll be better prepared and have more of an idea of how to beat my 10km PB.
Thank you so much to Julia Buckley and Bupa.