04 Jun Reflective, Refreshing, Richmond Run
The first @London10Mile was an out and out success for me which is no small achievement: despite being an experienced runner, I’m a nervous racer…
Added to this, the tragic events at London Bridge the night before, the morning news and disrupted rail announcements as I made my way to London made for a sombre start.
But the race was on and I was determined to take part.
I’m so glad I did. The organisation was seamless, the atmosphere at Race Village was friendly and focused on family fun. This event was about running for enjoyment – not racing yourself ragged. The commentator referred to those in the first wave as ‘keenos’ – but in a nice way!
At the head of our second yellow wave the 90-minute pacer was calming the nerves of those around – I listened in as I intended to tuck in behind him to hit my target time.
Once gathered in the starting pens we held a minute’s silence for the victims of the London Bridge attack: I was very moved, aware that at events all across London and the UK people at pre-arranged gatherings and events such as this would be doing the same. We ended the silence with applause for the emergency services personnel, restauranteurs, bar owners and passers-by who did all they could to help.
The atmosphere was charged: we were ready to show London in another light – show our camaraderie, take on the challenge we set ourselves weeks’ ago, enjoy the glorious sunshine and setting of Richmond Park and come out smiling and running. Showing strength.
And we needed that – the undulating route was challenging at times but there were plenty of lovely downhill stretches to make compensate for the uphill slogs. Fun comments on each mile marker made me smile – and kept me going. No more so than at the hardest part of the course where tree surgeons suspended above the route approaching Mile 7 near the top of a tough hill, urged us on from the tree tops. It kept my sense of humour intact when the incline at that stage might have seen it fail!
I ran well, spurred on by people calling my name as I approached: this is the first race I’ve had my name on my shirt and I’ll do that again.
I passed under the finish arch, having smashed my initial target by five minutes, feeling relieved and exhausted.
This was the first year for the London10Mile with around 5,000 runners. The event will doubtless grow in popularity and I feel privileged to have taken part in the inaugural event.
The organisers set out to reignite interest in 10 mile races. They’re certainly done that – and set the bar high too.