Usually I sign up for races well in advance and then train and panic for them (in equal measure) for months. This one was a little different. I signed up to run the inaugural London 10 Mile 8 days before the start. I don’t think I have ever been so impulsive when it comes to my running before. Usually there are many reasons and excuses as to why I can’t sign up for one at such short notice. This time there were none.
Click below to read more of my experiences running 10 miles in Richmond Park!
Date: 4th June 2017
Place: Richmond Park
Distance: 10 miles
Finish time: 1:42:05
On Sunday I didn’t have a lie in. I was on the train by 8.45 heading to Richmond. Just from looking at the map I knew it was far from where I lived. What I didn’t realise that Richmond Park was also really far from the station! Cue a bus journey and two mile panicked run which got me to the event village barely in time to collect my race pack and drop off my bag.
I called a friend to help direct me because there were no sign posts anywhere. I hated this: the park is massive and I couldn’t figure out from the course map on the website where I needed to go. I was crying on the phone down to her and just wanted to turn around and leave. I needed to pee, I was lost, and had no idea what I was doing.
Thankfully I didn’t. She pinned me her location and as the race started about 20 minutes late it was all OK in the end. But I was exhausted before I’d even started. Those was two miles I hadn’t counted on.
This was my first visit to Richmond Park and I don’t think I understood quite how hilly it was until I had to run those hills. THE. HILLS. There we so many! Out of the 10 miles I think 5 of those were hills?!
Thankfully the amazing Daz ran with me the whole way and we supported each other ( he supported me a lot more than I him) for the whole 10 miles. We chatted and laughed and pushed ourselves until the finish line. Actually it wasn’t just Daz who made this race for me. Ian kept us company at the beginning and the end – he shot off after about two miles then waited for us at mile 9. The three of us started together and crossed together hand in hand.
The other thing which got me through the race was the support. Becca (aka Redfaced Runner) was there with her cowbell screaming our names as we ran past! There were also a couple a cyclists who we passed three times at different parts of the course. I won’t forget them in a hurry either. Georgia also screamed my name as I passed her twice. All those people – the strangers and the friends made the race!
There were two points when I had to stop and walk. One was at a brutal uphill just after mile 7 and the second time was just after a descent which left my knees aching.
Isn’t it cruel that downhills are more painful than uphills?
The Medal and the Goody Bag and the photos
I paid full price for this race since I hadn’t heard of it when the early bird entries were open. On the website the race organisers told us that the medal would be one we actually wanted and the goody bag full of things we also wanted rather than samples.
I was disappointed in the goody bag. A packet of crisps, a magnet, a cereal drink, and a pack of snack food. No where even close to the best post-race goody bag I’ve received. That honour goes to Nike. As for the medal? It’s lovely but from what they told us I expected something much larger and heavier!
I think by the organisers drawing attention to it they just managed to make us all really aware of it and get our hopes up.
In comparison to these (slight) disappointments, the race photos were fabulous! They were all completely free and absolutely brilliant. Race photos are so, so expensive when you want to buy them and it’s an added cost on top of having paid a sizeable registration fee. I think all races should offer them as free for participants.
Will I do it again?
You know I would if it weren’t for the distance from the station to the park and lack of signing from the park gates to the race village and information on the website, I would. All in all I walked about 2 miles yesterday and ran a little over 12. That was not what I had prepared myself for. It also wasn’t something I wanted to do. By the time I got back to Richmond Station my knee was in agony.
This is such a shame because 10 miles is such a brilliant distance. I hope more race organisers follow suit and that London starts to host this middle distance more and more (in areas much easier to get to).
Saying that, it was one of the most fun races I have ever done. Tough yes, but also really, really fun. I loved running with my friends and then seeing even more of them at the end. Maybe ask me in a month when the scars of getting there have faded…..