I had a great time running the 2012 BUPA London 10,000 and I signed up for the 2013 incarnation just as soon as their priority entrance email pinged its way into my inbox.
The Son accompanied me for this race and we met up with a bunch of fellow Eagle runners and cheer squad members at Acton Town Tube station. This time last year I was not an Ealing Eagles member but it was the sight of their cheer squad on the bend between Horse Guards Parade and The Mall that finally made sign-up and join them (note to readers: if you’re not a member of a running club or community yet… why not?!?!?!?!).
Once again we were treated to a gloriously sunny day but thankfully not as hot as last year. We managed a group photo before dropping our kit bags at the well staffed baggage tents before making the short walk down to our respective starting pens staggered along The Mall. This year I was in red B, which I think was based upon a predicted sub-45 minute finish time, so I was relatively near the front.
The élite runners were introduced to the crowds, with the biggest cheer reserved for a certain Mo Farah. They were off bang on time and the pens were ushered forward and it was soon time for my run to start.
My overall race tactic was to smile and enjoy myself with no specific time in mind at all. I had a nightmare of a race just a week earlier thanks to stomach cramps so my primary goal was to bury that terrible race memory. I kept to the right hand side at the start because I knew the Eagles cheer squad would be waiting and I was able to waste energy with a high five through the cheer team.
I then made sure to go wide on the next couple of turns so I could place myself on the left to hopefully obey race etiquette and not block faster runners. The crowd of runners began to gradually thin out along Victoria Embankment although I am sure there were still faster runners weaving in and out still.
The route between 3 & 4km includes a small section where the faster runners are just a tape barrier away as they approach the 6km point. This year I somehow managed to time it so Mo was running back towards me and with a dopey grin on my face, I stretched out my hand and was rewarded by a high-five by the great man himself.
This made my day and I was overjoyed to later find that the wonderful folk at Eightlane had captured this on video. I will never wash my hand again!
As usual there were strategically placed bands along the course to take advantage of the acoustics at the covered sections. I particularly enjoyed the drummers in Leadenhall Market and I bounced through this section in time to their beat.
The remaining section of the course was all about me digging in and maintaining my pace while trying to trick my body into running faster than my real fitness. I am not sure how successful this tactic was but I was extremely happy to see the Eagles cheer squad just before the last bend and I cruised home to the finish line. The prize presentation was taking place so I gave a wave to Mo as I passed but there was no wave back this year – I will just have to make do with the high-five.
This year I had a bit of a wait to collect my bag but nothing too serious and I was soon walking back to meet The Son at the cheer squad. Some fine running tales were shared as I stretched (yes, a real proper set of stretches this time) and we waved goodbye to everyone. The Son wanted to get lunch at his favourite nearby Japanese restaurant, where I used the bathroom to freshen up as much as possible.
I have once again used the priority entrance system to sign-up for the 2014 race. This remains one of my favourite races on the calendar even though it’s a little pricey, which is to be expected given the road closures in central London. The organisation is generally top-notch (although there did seem to be some timing problems for some of the later waves) and it’s a great day out in London.
- Place: 3004 out of 10607
- Age Group Place (men 18-39): 1552 out of 3224
- Gender Place: 2420 out of 5574
- 5k time (chip): 00:25:30
- Finish Time (chip): 00:51:21
- Finish Time (Garmin): 00:51:22