The Bupa London 10,000, or as I affectionately refer to it as the Bupa 10k, has a very special place in my running calendar. Not only was it the first 10k race I ever ran, but it was also the first race I ever ran, too! Back in 2012 as a reasonably fit lad (being quite modest here), I thought that running a 10k wouldn’t require more than an already established level of fitness. How wrong was I! It was a hot day, and having done no training, I crawled home in 57 minutes. A wake-up call that running a 10k was no easy feat! I returned in 2013, having casually done a little more training, and finished in 48 minutes. Not bad, I thought. But I was still not running regularly. Then in 2014, I began to take my running training more seriously, and once again tested myself at the Bupa 10k, running it in 43 minutes. This was a turning point for me in my running, and I vowed to return in 2015 and further better my time.
For the past week, I have been struggling with my ulcerative colitis. However, I still continued with my training plan, and decided to race, none-the-less. I was feeling fast in my legs, had been given a first wave start and done the training, so didn’t want to let anything stop me from actualising my current potential. I woke up around 6:00am, and had my normal pre-race breakfast porridge, a slice of toast and a banana. I arrived at the start pen in good time, and was quite surprised with the security measures at the red start zones, with marshals asking runners to show their numbers before they were allowed into the restricted red area. Hmmmmm. Anyhow, I was in the starting pen by 9:45, ready for the race ahead. I had already engaged in a fair warm-up, dynamic stretch with some minor speed work, so was as ready as I’d ever be.
The race started promptly at 10:00am, and we were off! I was a little thrown back by the level of eagerness and congestion at the front. As per my experience with other races, the front wave of the race normally thins out pretty quickly, but this didn’t seem to be the case here. It’s just as well, as the Bupa 10k does attract a high number of elite athletes and top club runners. It was a privilege to have started next to them and be running in their company. I started off in what I felt was a sufficiently fast, yet controlled manner. I wanted to pace myself with 1km splits of 3:48/km, or less. I felt comfortable, and my Garmin was accurately chiming away at each kilometre, in-sync with the clearly marked course. My splits were much faster than I had planned, but I felt confident that I could maintain this pace. I was not exactly comfortable throughout, and putting a fair amount of effort into my running, but felt in control. I reached the 5km in ~18:30, perfectly on track for the sub-38 I had hoped for. I continued to power through, battling some minor undulations. Fortunately, these small inclines were nothing sinister at all, and overall, the course was as flat as it could possibly be. The weather was also great. Some sun, but not too warm, and what I would describe as perfect race conditions.
After 5km, I noticed that my Garmin was chiming for each kilometre split, around 100 yards ‘before’ I reached the km marker. I have fair confidence in the course measurements (being measured by UK Athletics), and knew that I may have to run a little longer/faster than I had anticipated. I noticed that I had run 8km (5 miles) in under 30 minutes, something I was hoping to do later in the year. Once I reached 8km, I began to increase my pace, knowing that the end was near. I felt great as I reached Birdcage Walk, and seeing the “800 metres to go” and “400 metres to go” signs was really helpful. As soon as I turned the corner, the finish line was in sight. With just 100 metres to go, I let loose and blasted away toward the finish!
It was an absolutely amazing feeling to see 37:13 on the clock (gun time) and finish with an official chip-time of 37:08. This is a new PB and smashed my sub-38 anticipation by far! I always think when I am racing if I could go any faster, and it would have been amazing to shave another 9 seconds off and run under 37 minutes, but hey, I’ve got to save something for the next 10k, right!? It was interesting to note that my Garmin showed that I ran 10.10km, and put my 10k time at under 37 minutes, but chip time prevails!
I collected my goody bag, which included my medal and a rather oversized T-shirt (which I highly doubt was the XS it claimed to be!). Post-race I had a nice massage from the great team at the Bupa tent, before meeting up with Richard, who had a fantastic race of his own, getting 48 minutes (he was hoping for a sub-50, so smashed his goal, too!). We went for a semi-healthy lunch at Nandos in Charing Cross, after which Sania and I headed to Starbucks for a well deserved coffee.
I now have the Kent Roadrunner marathon in 5 days. I have no specific expectations, goals or predictions for this. I will simply gauge and assess how I feel on the day, but plan to have a great time (no pun intended), regardless! The Bupa 10k has once again provided me with a fond memory that I will cherish for years to come, and cemented it’s status as one of my favourite running events, and definitely my best 10k. To have slashed over 20 minutes off my 10k in 3 years is a great feeling. Highly recommend for anyone looking to smash a PB! Until next year…