The British 10K London does not have a great reputation, with current Runners World reviewers commonly rating this event with dire scores. Despite this, year on year, the race attracts approximately 20,000 runners. I ran the British 10K London run (hereafter referred to as the B10K) for the first time in 2013, and after a disappointing affair, agreed not to return.
Here we are in 2014, and for reasons I shall not bore you with, decided once again to run the B10K. I decided to run for Help for Heroes, the official charity of the event, which allowed me as a bonus to start in the “first wave”.
I arrived at Marble Arch Underground station (Central Line, for non-Londoners!) at around 8:30 hrs, and made my way to the start at Park Lane, a 10 minute walk away. I remember vividly the nightmare last year (when I started the race at Picadilly Circus) where portals were scant. The situation was the same here, but not a problem, as there were far fewer runners in this wave (mostly Help for Hero runners).
We were all lined up in our holding pen, on the start line and ready to go by 9:20 hrs. After a brief motivational speech by the Help for Heroes Director, Chariots of Fire and National Anthem, we were off! I crossed the start line within a minute of the race starting. This is when I was plagued by the (expected) chore of having to dodge and weave past walkers and slower runners. Many others were also in my situation, and I even saw a few people stumble which could have led to a mini-pile up and injuries. I hope waves are introduced for this event based on predicted finish times, but I doubt we will ever see these (as this has been mentioned year after year, but falls upon deaf ears).
So, onto the actual race itself. I was not expecting to run a personal best, satisfied with hitting 43:34 at the Bupa 10K in May, earlier this year. Also, this is not really an event designed for a PB, considering the slow start. My first km was slow, trying to chug through the walkers and joggers. Runner density thinned out after the first km, and I was away! I ran a consistent race, trying to soak up the atmosphere, see the sights and enjoy closed off roads and the pleasure of running through Central London!
I had a good run, and was definitely pleased with the generous amount of space between runners at the front. I lost the GPS connection on my Nike+ watch running through the tunnels at embankment. For some reason, I could only see my time lapsed and distance ran, and not my speed (which I really like to look at whilst running). I got to the end and once I have crossed the finish line, immediately stopped my watch, which had recorded 10.18km (probably due to the dodging and weaving at the beginning of the race).
I was greeted my a little animation saying, “NEW RECORD!”. This was truly unexpected, as I stopped looking at the lapsed time and just concentrated on enjoying the route. I checked the time and was pleased to see I had hit 42:09 for the 10km, with my “official” race time of 42:34.
A summary of my times/position can be seen below.
All-in-all, my personal experience of this event was generally positive this year. Yes, there are some issues to address, but my own run was a good one. I think I am more pleased due to the PB I bagged, but am confident that I can now go faster if I did not have the slow start. I may be back next year, depending on whether or not wave allocations are a possibility. If so, I would be aiming for a fast run, but if I did decide to run and ended up further back, I would not risk the task of attempting to overtake thousands of runners for the course. I feel that this would not do me any good in gaining a sound time, and if in this position (no pun intended), would simply just have a “fun run” and soak up the atmosphere.