The British 10k is one of the largest running events in the City and takes in a fantastic route around Westminster, St. James’s and the West End. Entered by over 11,000 people to atmosphere is buzzing and the organisation of moving all those people around the event village is done expertly.

This would be my third time running this event, second time in its guise as a Virgin Sport race. In 2015 it was the Vitality British 10k and my first ever race, safe to say I was nervous but I enjoyed it. I never thought two years later I’d be back again but pacing (in a loose term) for the Backpackers Team. This year I really wanted to run it for myself and experience the event properly.

I had a last minute entry from the team at ASICS as I should’ve been taking part in my first ultra at Race to the Stones, however due to injury, lack of training and a couple of tough weeks being ill, that dream has disappeared some time ago.

Sunday morning I was up very early had my usual breakfast and mentally tried to prepare myself for what I assumed to be a difficult day. To be honest if it wasn’t for Sophie keeping me accountable I might not have gone at all. After Alderley Edge 10k where I completely blew up at 8k and fell out of love with racing I’ve recently reviewed why I run and race, especially if it doesn’t make me feel good – we run because we enjoy the challenge right?

But anyway, I arrived at Trafalgar Sq after randomly bumping into someone from the same village as me back home and went to collect my number. I hadn’t done something right with registration but they had my confirmation so I was given a new number (and named Carl Deadley) for the day.

Number pinned, backpack decanted into VS bag, double-checked I had everything I needed, stuck some more sun cream on and dropped my bag. I walked over to the pens with Andrea who I met briefly before at the London 10,000 and we chatted about all things travelling and injuries.

The pens were pretty rammed but I managed to find Sophie and we slotted in.

It took us a good 40mins to get over the start-line, hilariously as I was receiving messages saying some of the ASICS Frontrunner team had already crossed the finish line – I may or may not have called them a rude word but the team absolutely smashed it this weekend!

I mistimed the turnaround point so stood off to one side with Sophie to let me Garmin find signal. We were joined by Alex before setting off over the start line.

The plan was not to blow up like I did at Alderley Edge and try to maintain a constant pace and finish strong. For this reason I set myself quite a low min/km goal of 10min/km. This should be comfortable for me given my PB 8:28min/km pace, but lately I am nowhere near given the amount of strength I’ve lost post injury.

Along this the plan was to run 1km, walk 2min, run to the next km marker as I’ve done hundreds of times before. However, I was feeling surprisingly good and pushed on until the 3k mark before walking – conveniently up a slight incline on Charing Cross Road.

5km was up before I knew it and my plan was just to stay strong for the second half. There’s a lovely downhill stretch from the Strand down to the Embankment and we made the most of it letting our legs fly freely.

It was hot, but it wasn’t bothering me as much as I thought it would, I had a sweat on but nothing over and above the normal. I took a drink at the first water stop, skipped the second and took one at the third. For a 10k to have three water stops was a blessing and needed for a day like Sunday.

Around 8.5k the Chasing Light Collective/Backpackers crew were out cheering in force and they gave me a real lift for the last km.

The last km is a almost never-ending out and back up towards Victoria, this was my slowest km of the race, given that I knew I was going to come in way under 1:40 (10min/km pace) I settled down and didn’t seem much point in pushing on and wasting myself for a few extra seconds.

The finish was in sight, and the increased shuffle (hardly sprint finish) commenced. It was hard to tell where the actual finish was but once I was over the line I was terribly relieved and a bit wobbly. Medal collected, goody bag with tee, can of water and it was a slow trundle back to the steps of doom to collect our bags.

I was a little disappointed with the goody bag, I missed out on the baked beans and tea bags from last year coming in last and this year was just full of the usual healthy snacks and a Kind bar – just give us a mars bar and a can of coke and I’m sure most of us would be happier. I did like that they had someone from Nuun at the finish handing out electrolyte tabs – great idea, although some more water to put them in would’ve been good too.

Bag collected and I jumped into the changing rooms to freshen up before going to chill with Sophie over a lemonade and chips.

Review on my performance?

Although I came in around 2mins quicker than I wanted, it was still 14minutes off my PB (no that isn’t a typo), despite having lost weight since my PB at the Winter Run, I’ve lost all strength and fitness.

I could see this from reviewing my Cadence post race. Limassol where I was particularly slow but ran non-stop had a much better cadence than Sunday, I don’t have any bounce in my legs, and it takes some serious strength to bounce when you’re my weight.

I was pleased I kept it consistent and stuck to my plan for the most of it, apart from running the first 3k, but if I’m to get back to running 10k’s non-stop then I need to hit the gym, get the legs stronger again and keep losing the kilos.

Thoughts:

Route, awesome, really good central location and easy to get to and away from easily enough. I thought last year the support was lacking somewhat whereas this year it was completely the opposite, maybe the weather drew a few people outdoors?

Organisation, good, I mean the start could be a lot quicker but they’re dealing with a huge amount of people in not a particularly large area. Everything else is perfect, I love the idea of the warning system with the flags to update people on any issues.

Medal and goody bag: Mixed feelings on the medal, it’s chunky (love a chunky medal) but the design seems a bit lacking, you can hardly tell that it’s the London skyline for example and it’s just a bit bare. Read feedback on the goody bag above, the kind bar was a godsend but I haven’t even looked at the rest and a bottle opener just seems a bit last minute stick something in there.

One of the big reasons I support this race given the price is the free pics – however I feel a bit let down this year, only three pics have come through. I’ve searched under Alex & Sophie’s numbers and they’re not good enough to call my own pics. I’ll keep looking and report back, some over Westminster Bridge or the Finish line would’ve been nice.

Asics put together a video of your race including start/midway/finish videos however mine doesn’t work and gets stuck after 20 seconds!

Saying that it’s probably been my favourite year out of my three runs, the support and the weather made it particularly enjoyable, along with running with two very good friends in Sophie and Alex.

Will I run it again, for sure, you can nail me down for a place in 2019 already, hopefully I’ll be in a better place physically and can have a proper stab at pushing myself as the course does allow for it, even given the twisty nature of it.

Nutrition:

Breakfast – Nutella & Banana Bagel

Pre-race: Luchos Dillitos Guava paste and Nuun hydration Electrolyte tab

Kit:

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 London

ASICS GEL-Cool SS Tee

ASICS 7in Short

Garmin FR 935

Aftershokz Titanium

Stance Feel360 Socks