In July 25,000 runners flocked to London to take on the British 10k. Inspired by the thought of running a route past some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, Sportsister’s Jessica Whittington joined them.
Now in it’s 12th year, the annual British 10k is the UK’s third largest running event and sees participants fill the streets of the nation’s capital, running past many of the country’s greatest landmarks including Big Ben, The London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey.
In a year when the eyes of the world are on London, athletes of all ages and abilities gathered at the start line at Wellington Arch on a typically British day, weather wise at least. Still, the wet conditions didn’t seem to hamper the spirits of participants, and on first arriving there seemed to be a good vibe floating with the music and sound of event host Reggie Yates’ voice through the air.
As pre-race prep goes, that of the British 10k wasn’t the best I’ve ever experienced, with race packs arriving late and some race numbers being reallocated. However, you can’t fault the interaction in the lead up to the event, with lead sponsor Nike and the British 10k team sharing tips, motivational messages and info online via social networking sites.
Race day came and due to train delays I arrived at the start line later than I had hoped, but after donning my British 10k-specific t-shirt and race face, I was raring to go. I heard mixed opinions on runners all wearing identical event tops, but the result was definitely visually striking, and it felt great to be a part of such a large sporting event in a hugely important year for sport in this country.
After a warm-up which included inspirational footage, motivational music (with a live performance of ‘Proud’ by Heather Small – goosebumps!) and messages of support from runners’ Facebook friends displayed on giant digital screens we set off (after a slight delay) on our 10 kilometre journey around London’s world-famous landmarks.
As we crossed the line what seemed like endless queues of runners were waiting to make their way to the start, and although the support from them was fantastic at the beginning, I can imagine it may have plateaued out after over half an hour of waiting for some runners for their turn to cross the line. Given the conditions of the day, that’s a very long time to stand cramped up in shorts and a t-shirt.
The large number of participants also caused problems once over the line, and waves for runners of various speeds would have been handy. With 25,000 runners it really needs to be ordered by estimated finish time.
After leaving Wellington Arch, runners poured down Pall Mall, through Trafalgar Square and along Embankment to St Paul’s Cathedral, before turning back and heading towards Westminster Bridge. Big Ben then provided the backdrop for the final push towards the finish line at Whitehall.
There were PA systems dotted around the course and inspirational projections of Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah which seemed to encourage both participants and supporters to get into the spirit. For fans of interactivity, downloading the British 10k Cheer Me On app was an option, with it allowing the Facebook friends of runners to send messages of support for during the race, to be displayed on giant screens along the course.
As runners crossed the line they were greeted with water and Gatorade drinks, though I saw no sign of the medals promised as participants finished. This also led to great discussion online after the event, with medals in short supply. Some runners missed out, whereas others received two, having been given one as they finished and finding another in their goody bag.
Would I do it again?
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and the experience of running past such iconic landmarks is one I won’t forget in a while.
- The interactive social media experience
- Inspiring to run a course taking in such iconic landmarks in a huge year for sport in Britain
- Very motivational, with music, messages and projections of athletics legends on display
- Great spectator support
- Clear kilometre markers made pacing the race a lot easier
- A long wait for some runners to get past the start line
- The lack of waves meant a variety of abilities running together which did cause a bit of hustle and bustle en route
- Bags left out in the rain for collection after the race
- Shortage of medals
- Although sufficient water stations, the water was supplied in bottles rather than cups which created a lot of waste
- A lack of toilet facilities at the start
Special Olympics GB runners joined the 25,000 runners who made it count on the streets of central London today, at the most interactive British 10K powered by Nike+ the city has ever seen. www.facebook.com/NikeRunningUK
The Women’s Sports Magazine