The London Winter Run has been going for three years now and I participated eagerly in both 2015 and 2016. I had been umming and ahhing about signing up for the 2017 event but with the price at £47 I thought about it for too long and the entries closed before I had made up my mind. Then a fellow runner on Twitter, lovely Carl, messaged me advising that his friend Ciara had dropped out and her place was available for just £20. I jumped at the chance and arranged to meet Carl at the information desk on the day of the run, Sunday 5th February, to swap pennies and running packs.
The journey to the event was easy – just a straight 45min train from Sevenoaks into Charing Cross. The event hub in Trafalgar Square was a bustling area with baggage drops, toilets, merchandise stall and of course the start line. I found Carl with relative ease who was with his friends Will, Melissa and Nat – all really lovely people! We checked in our bags which was quick and simple; no queues and a numbered wristband exchange system.
The starting corrals experienced the same problem as the last few years with no colour coding, timing pens or basic organisation. We were all bunched in together and waves of runners were let go gradually with what felt like long waits in-between each release: The event started at 9:30am and we crossed the start line at 9:47. This also meant that some very slow runners/walkers were at the start of the corrals which can cause frustration.
A record 16,500 participants enjoyed a warm-up from Nuffield Health then a blast of fake snow signalled the beginning of the 10K run around the closed streets of London, past landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Strand. The route was relatively flat and scenic with no major bottlenecks. There was a great atmosphere with volunteers dressed as penguins, St Bernard dogs and polar bears, handing out high-fives and shouting encouragement! There was live music and entertainment en route, including a gospel choir which was lovely.
The weather was mild, slightly chilly but nowhere near as freezing as last year! I wore my new Primark mesh-detailed leggings, Brooks sports bra and pink vest, and London Marathon ‘rejection jacket’ with black 1000 Mile trainer socks and Brooks Glycerin 14 trainers, resulting in a super comfortable and weather-appropriate outfit! I felt as though I was running well and faster than normal, with no aches or pains getting in the way. I had eaten a banana and cereal bar for breakfast, with a homemade Nutribullet berry smoothie (so delicious!).
The home-stretch was lined with supporters and the medal is bespoke and absolutely gorgeous. Free coconut water, Lindt chocolate and water was handed out to finishers; and the event photography turned out quite well too!
Once back home, freshly showered and in pjs under a blanket on the couch by midday, I discovered that I had completed the event in 53minutes – my fastest 10K ever! A new PB following a previous time of 54mins, with my average being around 56mins! A great start to the year.
It’s a lovely, fun event and I’m so glad I took part and got to meet Carl and his friends. However, if the price stays at around £47 I can’t see myself paying that in future, especially when the majority of other events are cheaper and include a goody bag and/or a technical t-shirt! I’d still recommend it to others and had a really good morning. 🙂