What a great day out. My wife and I caught the train from Reading at about 07:30 and after a train journey to London and a couple of trips on the Underground we arrived at Green Park which was the assembly area for the event. We actually arrived in really good time and we had about 1 1/2 hours to roam around and see what was going on.
The whole event was really well organised and everthing was clearly signposted and there were loads of marshalls everywhere directing people where they needed to go. I didn’t have any baggage to store (my wife carries it all) so we meandered through past the huge collection of porta-loos (absolutely no queuing anywhere either) towards Buckingham Palace.
The roundabout in front of the Palace was more cordoned off than usual because of the race finishing on the Mall. The Mall is the main road that runs straight out in front of the Palace, and this is where the finish was.
It was quite a long walk down the Mall to where the finish line was set up but we had lots of time to kill. When we got there we saw that there were loads of TV cameras set up everwhere and the VIP/Elite runner area was also there. We could see the media taking photos of people in one of the tents accross the road but I’m not sure who they were photographing because they were all in the way.
We then opted for a walk across St James’s Park towards the start of the race. There were TV cameras located around the start line and we also noticed two helicopters hovering above the city which we assumed were also filming the event. The starting area was split into three different coloured zones (Red, Blue & Green respectively) and those were again split into three sections (A, B & C respectively). Each runner was assigned a colour and section depending on their predicted finish time when they registered for the event. I couldn’t remember what my predicted time was but I was slightly concerned to be in the Blue A area (first of the blue sections) right after the red numbered runners.
By this point we had about 45 mins before the start of the race so I starting jogging around St James’s Park while my wife looked on in amusement. I warmed up really good this time and stretched out my calves and quads to help reduce the tightness and potential shin splints during the race. I was then forced by my wife to proceed to my start area so I didn’t miss the start (although the start wasn’t for another 10 mins).
I was adamant that I wasn’t going to be pulled along by the other runners this time and end up doing the first half too fast. I wore my running watch this time (forgot it for the Woodley 10k) so I could keep a record of my splits and ensure I was running at an easier pace this time.
My splits are as follows:-
01km – 05:53
02km – 05:30
03km – 05:31
04km – 05:46
05km – 05:45
06km – 05:29
07km – 05:29
08km – 05:18
09km – 05:20
10km – 05:09
After three kilometres I thought I would slow down for a bit because I didn’t want to injure myself again and I was paranoid about shin splints again.
After the halfway mark I thought I should speed up a bit and did a couple of kms at a 05:29 pace and then sped up even more for kms 8 and 9. My last km was done at a 05:09 pace which is pretty fast for me.
The atmosphere during the event was really great and along with the thousands of runners there were thousands of supporters along the route giving their various brands of support. It was really great and the things people were shouting were very supportive. It was what everyone needs during one of these events to help push them along. Sometimes I wonder how much the atmosphere actually contributes to finish times because of the positive feeling it can give runners which helps to spur them on.
By my watch I had my finish time at about 00:55:15 but my official finish time, according to the Bupa 10,000 website, shows a finish time of 00:55:13 which is even better!
After I got past the finish line it was a long walk through the ramps where people removed your timing chips for you and on down to Buckingham Palace. My wife and I had agreed a meeting point in front of the statue outside the Queen’s house. I didn’t see my wife anywhere near the finish (which was odd because I always see her at the finish of a race) so I headed for the agreed meeting point. An hour later (I’d completely cooled and dried off by this point) I finally asked a stranger if I could use his mobile/cell phone to call my wife. She showed up seconds later. She said she was near the arches (at the 400m mark) waiting for me to come through towards the finish. She said she was getting worried because she didn’t see me come through! I thought it was quite funny and reminded her that if it gets to about 1 hour and 50 mins into a 10k race (and I normally finish in about 1 hour) and she hasn’t seen me, to head for the meeting point. She was really disappointed because she travelled all that way to support me and see me running and never saw me run once!