The weather for the London Winter Run 10k was definitely appropriate! I emerged from Westminster Tube station to meet some of the other Team Naturally Run (TNR) participants into bracing winds and icy cold- brr!
At least the sun was trying to make an appearance and the Embankment looked pretty awesome as we queued at the start line, with Big Ben and the London Eye within photographing distance!
|Start Line by the London Eye|
The organisation of the start of the race was a little confusing- we’d all been assigned timed waves, told we could move to run with friends, but only backwards to later times. This meant most people ended up running in the last few waves, even though there was no checking and we had no idea when we lined up in the queue which wave we would be in!
|Lining up with Big Ben|
|15,000 runners took part|
Fitness First lead a warm-up for each wave, which we ended up doing about 3 times as we slowly made our way towards the start, and eventually Becca, Georgina, Mollie, Patty and I set off! The first kilometre was a little congested as everyone spread out, and I lost the other girls in the crowd.
|Keeping warm at the start line!|
I didn’t mind running on my own though- the first distraction came around 3km, with the Swiss Winter Wonderland Tunnel, followed by the first Snow Zone at the turn-around point by Tower Hill.
|The Tower of London|
Then there was a wiggly section that went past St Pauls, before we headed back the way we’d come. The nature of the out-and-back course meant I spotted several other TNR runners on the other side of the road and was able to wave and cheer! It also created quite a nice atmosphere as there weren’t many spectators, probably because it was such a cold morning.
Generally the Winter theme wasn’t as dramatic as I was hoping- the Snow Zones were just gently blowing foam across the road, although there were 3 of them on the course, and the Swiss themed tunnel feature merely had a few projectors with images on the tunnel walls.
|Running through the “snow”!|
None-the-less I enjoyed the race- it’s always fun running in London, turning each corner and being greeted by such iconic sights.
|Heading back along the Embankment|
As I reached the last stretch down to the finish there was a little more crowd support, and of course all the “Polar Bears”! I sadly missed the St Bernard dogs who were apparently around though!
|Polar bear selfie!|
There was a bit of congestion in the finishing funnel, but I grabbed my medal which is an awesome snowflake design, and a Vita Coco before heading to meet up with the others.
|Passing through the Finish Line|
25 of us headed over to Bill’s for a well deserved brunch, in part to say farewell to the lovely Leah who is returning to New Zealand to get married. She set up Team Naturally Run, a great online running community which I’ve been part of since We Own The Night in 2013! The group has grown so much and provided me with some awesome opportunities and amazing memories, and a bunch of ladies I’m so happy to call my friends. Leah will be sorely missed, and I will definitely be trying to squeeze in at least one more “run date” before she jets off back down-under!
|Pancakes for brunch!|
To wrap up the Winter Run 10k recap, the texts we were supposed to get sent with our results didn’t work, but you can check your times online here. Mine was 1:09:03 apparently, a little slower than I was hoping, but considering it was a novelty race I’m happy with that! I think if you were aiming for a PB you would have to make sure you set off in one of the very first waves. I opted not to use the bag drop, and just tied my jacket around my waist to run, as I feared it would be a bit of a nightmare with 15,000 runners- however, from what I’ve heard it was very well organised! There was a small queue for the portaloos but being Central London there were plenty of cafe options as well if you didn’t want to wait.
|The medal! #thisgirlcan|
Entries are now open for next year so if you fancy some snow running and polar bear hugs head over to their website!