This is our third year of running the London Winter 10K. It has become an annual event for our parkrun-based running group Pembroke Athletica (PA) and other friends. It’s always fun to get together before and after the run. It’s also good motivation to actually get out and run on a winter morning when you might otherwise be tempted to stay in bed. But there are more reasons why we keep coming back to this event.
1. Running through the streets of London on closed roads ; we both love living in London and it’s always a real treat to get to run through the centre without having to worry about traffic. The Winter run starts in Trafalgar Square and finishes on Whitehall after doing a tour of the City of London and passing many of its historic sights. On route there is even a Swiss-chalet-themed aid station in the Guildhall Yard.
2. A place and pace for everyone : From past posts you will know PA have a range of sporting abilities so we love events in which we can all take part and run to our own pace on the day. This year some of us went out for PBs whilst others ran simply to finish and enjoy the day. Entering as a team of 10 or more also gets us a team discount.
3. Raising money for a good cause : it’s difficult doing the number of races we run to ask people on a regular basis for sponsorship, but although entry isn’t cheap for this event we know that our entry fee is making a contribution to a good cause. And one that affects most people at some point in their lives, or the lives of those close to them.
4. The support en route : This is a great event for everyone but it’s particularly good as a first racing experience, as the course is lined the whole way with enthusiastic supporters creating a carnival atmosphere. We had two first timers with us this year and we hope that as a result of this run (and parkrun of course) they will be motivated to continue running. We were very impressed with the turnout this year on what was a particularly cold winter’s morning.
5. Brunch at Browns : It is interesting how traditions develop – we went to Browns after our first Winter run because we bumped into some other friends who were heading there. We enjoyed it so much that it is now part of what we do – and what a treat to look forward to as you are running. Browns have a good brunch menu; they were happy to set an area aside for us, and coped well with us arriving at random times during the morning. They also do some breakfast cocktails and as this year saw a few substantial PBs ……….
6. A fab spinner medal : Finishing the Winter 10K earns you a good quality themed medal with the sights of London around the edge and a spinning polar bear in the middle. A good one for the collection.
7. Great Organisation : The organisation for this event is excellent throughout, from entry to providing results. There is a good website with plenty of information and advice, support in the form of emails, race packs sent out efficiently and on the day plenty of marshals guiding runners to bag drops, start areas etc. Also plenty of portaloos!
8. Entertainment en route : All along the course from the snow blast at the beginning to the polar hug at the end, the runners are entertained. There are choirs, solo musicians, bands and DJs and plenty of furry animals ready to shout encouragement or give a high five. Thank you to all the volunteers.
9. Results : If you are someone who finishes a race and wants to know your official results quickly, this one is for you. Results, complete with age category positions, come up on line soon after the finish. Always good to have a PB confirmed!
10. The Finish Line : Turning into Whitehall to see the finish line and the street lined with cheering supporters, coupled with a slight downhill, is enough to make us all attempt a sprint finish. A great medal, coconut water, malt loaf, a protein bar and a hug from a polar bear. Brilliant!