1. The 10K run: over and done with

    Posted July 11, 2010 in running  |  No Comments so far

    Today was the day of the Asics 10K London Run, the first serious running event I’ve ever taken part in. And I finished the race alive, getting to the finish line in just over 54 minutes!

    But what’s more impressive is that my sponsors helped me raise a total of £290 – much more than my goal of £200. That money will go to the Haller Foundation, a charity that works towards environmental and economic development in Kenya. It’s not too late to sponsor me, of course – just head over to my page on JustGiving.com if you’d like to chip in.

    The race itself

    My usual running routine is pretty simple. I run up to Highbury Fields, circle it several times, then come back home. Other runners will be there but it’s hardly packed. So the 20,000 participants in today’s run made it a very different experience.

    The race route – click to see larger version

    There were lots of novel things about today’s experience. Here are three of them.

    To begin with, it was funny being a cause of, rather than merely subject to, a massive transport disruption in central London. As soon as I arrived at Piccadilly and saw the thousands of runners mobbing the cordoned-off streets, I realised that the race had more or less shut down Westminster for the morning. Usually when these things happen I’m one of the people on a diverted bus cursing the event and everyone involved, so it was nice for the boot to be on the other foot.

    Another thing that surprised me was how encouraging I found the spectators. I’m accustomed to running in a near-deserted field so wasn’t looking forward to thousands of strangers looking on and shouting. But in the end I actually missed them on the stretches of race where they weren’t allowed. Hopefully it won’t seem too lonely next time I run around Highbury Fields!

    Finally there was the sheer size of the crowd. On Highbury Fields you might pass an unpredictable dog or a pavement-spanning pushchair armada, but at least there aren’t 20,000 other people running around. When there are, you quickly learn two things: i) there are lots of people slower than you and ii) there are lots of people faster than you. This means you need to read the crowd, in front as well as behind you. Running into someone’s back or being run into by someone else could lead to a pretty painful fall, so you really have to look out.

    Cathy came along to cheer me on, and found it so inspiring that she went to the gym afterwards and ran 5km on the treadmill for the first time ever. And I was pretty inspired too. I will definitely be doing it again!