Adidas City Runs – Fulham 10k. 

 

The Adidas City Run series is a series of four runs taking place around London – three 10k’s at Shoreditch, Clapham and Fulham and one in the City which is as many mile laps in an hour – quite an interesting concept and one I enjoyed. 

8am on cold, crisp November morning, filled with Nutella crumpets, banana and a strong coffee. The thought in my head walking to the tube station was how many layers I would need for the race and how long can I leave my jacket on for. 

Walked over to Eel Brook Common, a nice large open space, perfect for race village as it’s also within 10mins walk of two tube stations – well perfect for me as it’s only half a dozen stops on the District Line. 

No loo queue, used a residential street for my warm up, chat with Rowan (legend) and used the changing tent to peel my jacket off and be brave and go for base-layer and tee. The tee was something I was sceptical about before the 1-hour run, but it’s actually a nice tee – just a bit annoying that if I’d have wanted to wear a jacket I’d have to wear it over that – although I did see a handful wearing charity vests and even old Adidas race tees. 

Decided to drop my phone in my bag I’d pre-loaded my Spotify playlists on my Garmin and run using my Aftershokz. I’d never tried it before and it worked brilliantly, however I hadn’t setup my watch properly so I ended up listening to the one playlist on loop. Tried it again on Monday nights run and managed to find the mid-run music controls. 

The waves were split into A-E and you were advised of your wave pre-event. I didn’t have a wave assigned, due to my late entry – not that it mattered, so I positioned myself at the back of wave D, however I stopped to chat to Craig on the side lineand ended up at the front of wave E. 

Before we got underway the leaders had already completed their 2.5k loop and were coming past us on the other side of the road – not a issue for when we got going as we were separated by a barrier. I ended standing next to Alastair Brownlee who was starting everyone off, he didn’t seem up for high-5’s and the like but it was a nice touch from Adidas to have him there.

I’d made the decision I was not going to take this easy, I wanted to see what I could do after working really hard the past few weeks on strength training and hitting the track with the club on Saturday mornings. 

It’s been a long come back from injury but I am starting to see improvements. 

Cardiff was my first 10k back under 90mins (1:29:14), then at Battersea I went another minute quicker with (1:28:14), so for Fulham at minimum I wanted something quicker than Battersea.

I run in Kilometres – it makes things seem to go quicker. However at Battersea my average pace was 14:12 min/mile, I know I’m not quite at PB level yet (1:24:55) so my next target was to have my average pace under 14m/m. 12seconds per mile seemed like quite a jump in a month, but I was willing to give it a go and if I blew up then that was what it was. 

Goals:

 A  Post Injury PB (<1:28.14)
 B – Sub-14min/mile 8:42 min/km

 

Alastair counts down to 1 and off we go. I stick to the outside and let everyone set off. I run to feel for the first km, feeling good, feeling strong, but disappointed to see I was just averaging 8:42’s. I had to keep this up for 10k. As we know the first couple of Kilometres are liars and it takes a few to warm the legs up and get into a rhythm, so head down, lift the knees, keep pushing. 

I took a walk break just after 3k and my knee was not happyat all, it’s been great recently and only aching when I’ve had it bent for hours sitting at my desk at work. However, running it was absolutely fine, so more running, less walking. 

5k pretty much flew by and I’d already been chasing a few people down, but we were really strung out at the back of the pack so it was taking ages to catch the next person in front. Pace was perfect and I didn’t feel like I was overreaching, I crossed the 5k mat in 43:16 / 8:39min/km.  I turned onto a long stretch of road, grabbed a bottle from the water station and took a sip before plodding on, however, into the fiercest headwind I have experienced in a race since Brighton Half in 2016. I pushed hard through the wind, but the road seemed never-ending. 

There was a weird circle around the town centre where I lost my bearings and onto a small section of cobblestones, but I kept running over them as they were pretty flat. 

I enjoyed the sections where you were running in the opposite direction to the quicker runners. I said hi to Mike and Ash came over to double hi-5 me. I felt bad for not stopping to say hi to Camille, but I was pushing through and it was beginning to get tough. 

7km, thoughts were changing to less than 3k to go, keeeeeppushing. The course is beautifully flat, so much that there aren’t any downhill sections to take a rest so you’re full on all the way start-to-finish, it’s the only negative to it being a fast & flat course. 

There’s a pretty cool section that runs around Stamford Bridge (Chelsea Football Club) and you find the only hill (I’m exaggerating here) on the course, it’s more of a dip, but short and sharp. I took a walk break and focused the mind on the finish line and staying strong.

From then on I don’t remember much, someone sent me a message on IG saying they shouted to me at Fulham Broadway, I don’t remember passing Fulham Broadway, I was in the zone. 9k came up and there were two Adidas Runners at the corner cheering and shouting mantras to people. I passed by, but they came with me, all the way to the finish chanting, telling me I’d got this and I was super strong – they were good, even convinced me!

I knew I had a good 10mins to run the last KM so knew time wasn’t going to be an issue, I didn’t expect to keep running though, if it wasn’t for the two AR guys I probably would’ve taken a minute walk break somewhere to energise the legs for the sprint finish. 

The support out on course wasn’t amazing, but that final stretch to the finish was incredible, there were finished runners coming to the side of the road to cheer people home, I always try to say thanks for give a thumbs up, but I had tunnel vision (more than I do actually have tunnel vision) and just offered as much of a smile as I could muster. I couldn’t see the finish for ages as the road curves, finish in sight, hadn’t checked my watch since 9k, the two guys with me said they’d leave me to finish this and to spread my arms in celebration in my best Marcus (@themarathonmarcus) impression. 

Crossed the line, high-5’d the lady who finished just ahead of me and one of the AR people at the finish and wombled my way back to the event village picking up some VitaCoco(yuk), Clif Bars (yay!) and my precious medal – I didn’t see any water, but fortunately I had some in my bag. 

I’d finished in 1:26.11, beyond what I thought I was capable of – over 2minutes quicker than Battersea a month ago. I knew I could sneak under Battersea time but I’m pleased I set out hard and decided to go for it. I got my sub-14 (avg. 13:52/mile) and set my second quickest ever 10k – not sure how that has happened either. Turns out I’d also ran a negative split, without really trying. (0-5k = 08:39 min/km43:16, 5-10k = 42:45 = 8:32 min/km)

Collecting my bag is always easy for me, there’s never anyone around by the time I finish, so that was quick and easy. I had a chat with Ash and Camille and managed to say a proper hello. Austin appeared, then Sophie and Mike and before long I was pretty cold. I headed into the changing tent (these are a godsend on cold days), then headed back out to have a look round the event village. 

They were doing free t-shirt printing with your time on the back, however it was a huge queue so I didn’t bother. Took a few pics with Joanna and Hassan before going for a well-deserved Nando’s together.

For me, obviously I’m happy, I loved the race, Adidas really turned it out again. This was my second in the series and they have both been done really well – not too busy, just the right amount of everything. The medal is “sexy and chunky” (not my words), t-shirt is good quality and wearable on training runs and to top it off I have 80 (yes, 80) free pics to choose from on their website – let the insta spamming commence!!!!

I haven’t heard a negative word about the race on Sunday and I will definitely be adding it to my calendar for 2019. My only slight disappointment was not getting involved with the Adidas series earlier and being able to get my hands on the Gold medal for completing all four events – it was a stunner and made for some pretty epic medal collection pics – well done to the 350 that collected one of those!. 

 

Thanks to CSM Active and Adidas City Runs for my place, my review is my own and not influenced by obtaining my place for free. 

EDIT:

Nearly forgot! I’m nominated for Best Blog at the Running Awards 2019, click below to vote (for me obvs!).

 https://therunningawards.com