Teach First’s Run the River 5k

Tuesday evening is an unusual time for a race but I loved heading out of the office to put on my running shoes!
Teach First Run the River
Photo courtesy of Lucy

I met up with a bunch of lovely running ladies (Leah, Emma, and Lucy) to take on the Teach First Run The River race– I’d originally signed up for the 10k, but with Ealing Half Marathon looming on the horizon I decided to drop down to the 5k option. Besides, that’s what all the other girls were doing and it sounded much more fun to run and chat with them!

Run the River 5k
Getting ready to race!


The race started and finished at Potters Fields Park and followed a partly riverside route over Tower Bridge and past the Tower of London, before crossing over Southwark Bridge to take in Southwark Cathedral, the Shard and HMS Belfast.

Those people running the 10k then completed a second loop of the course.

Run the River 5k
Lining up at the start line

It wasn’t a closed route, so there was quite a lot of congestion, and a lot of the course was on pavements/roads. This became a little dangerous with runners dodging pedestrians, cyclists and traffic although there were marshalls in reflective jackets directing people.

Everyone taking part in the race received a free cotton t-shirt which had to be worn during the race, so marshals could identify the runners, but being cotton not everybody wore them, or wore another vest underneath so they could whip their top off when they got too hot!

Start line at Run the River
The start line

The Race Village opened at 6:15pm for baggage drop and tshirt collection, and had a reasonable number of portaloos set up as well.

Then everyone lined up along the riverbank, and was set off in a waved start based on estimated finish time (indicated by different coloured race numbers).

Running Tower Bridge
Crossing Tower Bridge

We looped around and started off running over Tower Bridge, which of course meant Lucy, Emma and I had to take some photos. Out attempts were a little blurry but I think they’re a good indication of the enthusiasm and fun we were having!

Running Tower Bridge
Photo courtesy of Lucy

I always love running past the sights of London, although I would have preferred a more river-based route. We actually spent more time on back roads than I thought we would, and the most spectacular part was definitely crossing Tower Bridge.

But I enjoyed running along chatting with Emma and Lucy- we completed the race together and it was great to catch up having not seen them for ages! Since our yoga and cake date in April in fact!

Run the River 5k post race selfie
Post race (Photo courtesy of Lucy)

This wasn’t really a race to set a PB with (although we did have timing chips attached to our shoes) due to the congestion and narrow course. Some seriously speedy 10k runners who dashed past us yelling were definitely trying, but I felt the atmosphere was more one to enjoy with friends and take in the spectacles of London.

Run the River 5k with Tower Bridge
Lucy and I with Tower Bridge (Photo courtesy of Lucy)

I’ve no idea what time we finished in, but Emma, Lucy and I crossed the finish line holding hands and whooping (!) and made sure to snap some photos with Tower Bridge lit up behind us!

We were given a medal and a pretty decent goody bag with snacks, sweets and shower gel (?) before attempting to get our bags back .

This ended being a massive shambles, with all bags piled in a heap in a tent with no lights. Poor marshalls were attempting to locate people’s tagged and numbered bags with tiny torches and mobile phones in the dark which took ages! And unfortunately when I got my bag back my water bottle and Oyster card wallet had fallen out of the front pocket of my bag- I managed to get my bottle back but the Oyster card was gone.

This is where TFL is actually great- my Oyster card is registered online, so I just clicked “my card is lost/stolen” and they will cancel the old card, send me a replacement and load any outstanding credit onto the new card. Brilliant! And due to the roll out of contactless payment, I could get home super easy just using my contactless Debit Card- ah the wonders of technology!

Run the River 5k with Tower Bridge
Emma and I, and Tower Bridge (Photo courtesy of Lucy)

It’s funny, I’ve done a few other races where the race itself isn’t amazing in terms of organisation or other issues but running with friends always makes up for this! And there’s something about running at night with the lights blazing out around you, especially in such an iconic city – that’s pretty special 🙂

This race was in aid of Teach First, an organisation that believes a child’s socioeconomic background should not limit the opportunities they have in education and in life. Their mission to end educational inequality involves developing leaders in schools, helping young people decide their future, encouraging innovation in education and building a movement for change.

To find out more and get involved visit the Teach First website.

Do you prefer to run for fun or a speedy PB? What’s your favourite landmark to run past? London definitely has some good ones!

Beki x

NB: I was given a blogger’s place for this race but all opinions are my own. 

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