A few months ago I entered a Twitter competition to win entry to the British 10K, plus Brooks running kit including new trainers, sports bra, vest and bottoms. I was lucky enough to win and couldn’t believe my luck, despite my chequered history with this event.
I participated in the British 10K during 2014 and labelled it the “worst 10K event I’ve ever been to,” stating that it had left me upset and unwilling to return. However, organisers Vitality promised a greatly improved event for 2016 with the bonus of a goody bag along with the finisher t-shirt and bespoke medal. I was both curious and eager to see if the British 10K had improved or whether it would retain its label of the “worst 10K event”. Everything deserves a second chance and I was looking forward to the challenge.
So on Sunday 10 July I woke at 5:50am, drove to the next town and caught a train to London Charing Cross. From there, I walked a fair distance to the baggage area where I visited the Brooks running stand to say hello. From there it was another fair walk to the starting pens, which were clearly labelled and well organised, manned by efficient event staff who checked to confirm that runners were in the right waves. The signage was obvious and the marshals were friendly.
The starting process was fairly lengthy, with pens A to D (wearing blue bibs) setting off in waves, and then pens E to H (wearing red bibs) setting off in waves. I was in the first red pen, E, and crossed the start line 16 minutes after the event started; not a big deal as we were continuously walking towards the start line, and there was music playing from speakers with an MC keeping us entertained. Also, the start was positoned so that runners u-turned immediately and ran back past all of the pens, which was a nice touch.
The course, as is typical for a London running event, was lined with supporters/general public and charities, with choirs and drummers providing music at various points; I personally love this touch and it was very atmospheric. The three water stations were well staffed and cleaners were efficiently removing the empty bottles from the pavement without getting in anyone’s way. The three sprinkler ‘showers’ en route were a welcome feature and seemed to be popular, too – I found them very refreshing, especially considering the muggy stuffy weather which later turned to drizzle. The course itself contained a few hills which were unexpected, but there were no bottlenecks and I really enjoyed the route overall.
I wore the new Brooks trainers, sports bra and vest with 1000 mile socks and black Nike shorts; no layers. The muggy weather meant that I was very hot at points despite wearing minimal clothing, but nevertheless I was comfortable throughout and was pleased with my outfit choice. I had eaten a banana and cereal bar for breakfast along with a bottle of water, and continued sipping water throughout the 6.2 miles, which all seemed to work effectively.
The finish line was fantastic, filled with photographers and event staff who cheered and hung big chunky bespoke medals around runners’ necks. The path out of the finish line was lined with volunteers handing out goody bags containing Proper Corn popcorn, a Trek cereal bar, wet wipes, bottle of water and a bottle of Lucozade. Bespoke event t-shirts were also being handed out separately, with sizes clearly marked. From there, it was a short walk up the road back to Charing Cross train station.
This experience was such a huge improvement from two years ago and overall I was very impressed; the British 10K organisers have clearly listened to feedback and taken it on board, adjusting the event accordingly. I would recommend this event to others and would definitely take part again, although at £50 the registration fee verges on extortionate, especially considering the London 10,000 was around half that price and the London Marathon is less than £40. That’s honestly my only gripe. Well done Vitality, I hope to return in future! 🙂