The Adidas City runs are a series of four events taking place over the year throughout London. There is one in Clapham, Shoreditch, Fulham and the City race which I took part in.
The City race is a bit different, there is no set distance, just a set time – 1 hour. One hour of running to see how far you can go.
I wasn’t sure about the setup at first, it all seemed to be tailored to quicker runners with slogans such as “how far can you go” etc and that brought out a bit of anxiety about being left behind and being “too slow”, but I was to be proven very wrong.
Sunday morning I traveled from my friends house in Northampton after her birthday barbeque for my 12.45 start – a blessing in this circumstance. I found it strange that even before my train had left the station I had friends already out on course and completing their races, that felt very weird.
I arrived at St. Paul’s about 12.15, 30mins before my planned start time. It turns out that it was plenty enough time to change into my race tee, drop my bag in the baggage lorry and make my way through the event village and on my way to the start line.
I took 5mins to stretch and do a couple of sprints and lined up with the rest of the wave and watched the previous wave finish and collect their medals.
I always say I don’t have a goal but you know sometimes you have that idea in the back of your head but you just don’t want to put it out there?
I wanted to do 4 laps = 4 miles in the hour. Normally that shouldn’t be a struggle at all but with injury laying me out, having an awful week with a stomach bug and having done four miles the previous day including Parkrun (1:03.18), I didn’t think I had it in me.
I’d forgotten to pack my Garmin so this was going to be my first race (maybe even first run), naked. Not that it really felt like it as there were timing screens every 0.2 of a mile, it just took some complex maths to figure out your pace.
We started off with a warm up and eventually underway, it took about 20 seconds to cross the start line and instantly my brain was trying to calculate what that would mean in terms of pace.
By the time we reached down near the Bank of England for the first time I had a few people 50 yards ahead and couldn’t hear heavy breathing or footsteps behind me so it was a guessing game as to whether I was at the back or not. But it didn’t matter, in this race more than any other because once the leaders had come through no one had any real idea whether you were on your first, second, third or tenth lap and that totally relaxed me.
Going through Guildhall I grabbed a cup of water but decided to skip the water on the remaining laps as I didn’t feel the need and didn’t want to cross the path of oncoming runners.
Lap 1 was 14:43 officially, minus the 20 deficit at the start, perfect. It wasn’t a struggle but I was pushing on, but who enjoys the first mile of a race anyway?
I took a walk break after crossing the mile marker for 2mins and then the aim was to run the rest of the mile and repeat.
Mile 2 was quicker at 14:08 and I was well up on expectations but the legs were not feeling fresh.
Support was good, especially for a Sunday in the City when it’s usually dead. Nice to have a few pats on the back and shouts from friends and anyone out of course, the nice thing was seeing them more than once and repaying the favour.
I took the third lap slower, purely because I could. I wasn’t going to win anything here and most of all I wanted to have a good time. I had to walk a little more this lap and took advantage of the uphill at Cheapside to walk until the photographers were in sight at the right hand corner (vain I know). Lap 3 was done in 14:42, still 18seconds up on what I needed.
I knew I only needed a strong fourth lap to finish the four I wanted but to be honest the legs were tired now and there was next to no knee lift going on – I can’t wait to see the pics can compare lap 1 to lap 4, I feel like there will be some grimacing going on too.
I got to the turn a Cheapside and had 5mins to run the last 0.3, my head was as tired as I was so I couldn’t work it out, however as the lap start point came into sight I could see I had 3mins and completed my fourth lap with exactly two minutes to spare.
I contemplated stepping to the side but when life gives you two minutes you have to go for it. I made it over the 0.1 marker and halfway to 0.2 before the hooter sounded and the hour was up.
I was sweaty, legs were like jelly but the main thing I had a massive smile on my face. It’s been a bit of a rarity for me to smile post-race lately, but I was smiling broadly after that.
You then had to make it back to the start/finish area within 10mins (although I don’t think it was strictly observed) to collect your medal, coconut water (bleurgh), Clif Bar (yay!) and water. Oh and also spend 10 minutes trying to take the chip off your shoe – they are the ones similar to the Berlin Marathon chips where you feed it through your laces – doesn’t make for a quick return.
I collected my bag, with zero queue and went to see the Backpackers crew in the event village.
The event village was small but perfectly formed. It was never completely full as you either had runners just finished and leaving or next wave runners arriving. There was a Fitbit tent, Continental doing prizes, a yoga/stretching area and changing tents.
As with all races, there are positives and negatives…
Long time between waves. I love meeting up with people at races but the way the event worked made it tough, but don’t see how they can find a way around this given the format of the race really.
It is expensive, undeniable, but I was chatting to Rey post run and yes, you could do a RunThrough race for less, this was on closed City Road and a much larger event, they’re not really comparable
No bib – In the end I did like the t-shirt, but there’s something about having your bib on your flatlay and you do miss out on a little bit of individuality and not being able to show your own flair and colours but, it’s a one off.
The Chip – it’s a tiny thing but the ones with the ties are so much easier.
The medal – nice and chunky (just like me)
The t-shirt (I was going to have a moan about this but, it actually fitted well, number on it is a bit weird and at least I can say I’ve worn it and not just stuck it in the back of a wardrobe like the rest of them)
The whole setup and how the race worked
No back of the pack
Free Photos – this is worth £20/£30 itself. I haven’t see the pics yet, but there were photographers at pretty much every corner and I cannot wait to see te results.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, probably boosted by having a good race but I only heard good feedback on Social Media post race. It’s an interesting concept, something I’d do again too, it’s a good opportunity to see what I could do next year.
Next up in the series is the Clapham 10k, sign up is available now: https://www.adidascityruns.com/clapham/overview/
Huge thank you to CSM Sport & Entertainment for my free place, as always this views are my own.