I’ve known about the Great Ormond Street Race for the Kids event for some years, but had never taken part because it always seemed to fall on the same weekend as my local Cancer Research Race for Life in Tunbridge Wells. I subscribe to the Great Ormond Street e-newsletter and received an email on Wednesday warning that it was the last chance to sign up for their annual Race for the Kids 5K funrun in Hyde Park, London. Intrigued, I investigated further and found that the event was being held on Saturday 7 October this year. I signed myself and mum up there and then, without any hesitation.
My sister was an unfortunate victim of medical negligence when she had cancer, and was transferred to GOSH who saved her life. They were also a tremendous support to my parents. My family has been huge supporters of the hospital and charity ever since.
Email confirmation advised that we could pick up our race packs on the day, so all we had to do was turn up. Mum and I ate a pasta dinner together the night before, and on the Saturday I woke at a horrible 5:50am and drove to town where we caught a train and two tubes to Green Park. We arrived at the events village in Hyde Park for 9:30am with 30minutes to spare. There was a collection of portaloos, main stage area, information desk, race pack collection, merchandise stand, face-painting, selfie area, nature trail area, plenty of seating areas with tables and deck chairs; and event sponsors iCandy and Fairy Liquid had stands. There was also a corporate tent for main sponsor Royal Bank of Canada.
There was no baggage area and this was made clear at registration. Mum and I wore bumbags which contained the essentials – debit card, cash, train ticket, keys, lipbalm, tissues! I’d eaten a cereal bar and boiled egg & spinach pot, and wore Adidas running leggings with Nike Roshe trainers, black 1000 Mile socks, Brooks sports bra and Adidas London Marathon ‘rejection’ jacket with the event t-shirt over the top, resulting a super comfortable outfit which got a bit hot towards the finish line! The weather was perfect for running: dry, slightly cloudy and warm.
Collecting the race packs was quick and easy. They contained the event t-shirt, event information and personalised running number, which mum was really impressed with, seeing as we’d only registered three days prior.
The event village was buzzing and everything was clearly signposted. Mascots in big animal costumes (bear and squirrel) offered photos, and stilt-walkers and jugglers wandered the crowds. A fun warm-up took place on the main stage and then participants made their way to the appropriate starting pens – there were runners, joggers, walkers; people with dogs, buggies, in wheelchairs… It’s an event for anyone and everyone, and the atmosphere was lovely.
The route was a picturesque 5K loop around Hyde Park, with a generous two water stations and portaloos on the way around, and drummers to provide entertainment. The marshals were the friendliest and most enthusiastic I’ve ever encountered, and it was lovely. I stayed at mum’s speed so we walked and jogged at a leisurely pace without any pressure to achieve a good time. There were around 8,000 participants yet no bottlenecks or any frustrations. The event was very well managed and organised.
Someone called out mum’s name on a megaphone as we crossed the finish line – which was lined with supporters – and that made her day. A row of volunteers handed out lovely bespoke medals and drawstring goody-bags containing a lion teddy bear, crisps and sweets. Free ice-creams were also being handed out. Giant Instagram-style frame props were available for photo opportunities with staff on hand to take your photo.
It cost a mere £18 each to regsiter, so the event was very generous and fantastic value for money. It’s really inclusive and has a lovely, friendly atmosphere. The volunteers and marshals clearly enjoy what they do, and that makes the world of difference.
I’d take part again in a heartbeat and would recommend this to anyone and everyone. Thank you GOSH! 🙂