The London Winter Run has been going since 2015 and I’ve now participated in all four events.
Last year I kept looking at registration for the 2018 event but with the price at £47 I was struggling to justify it… Until Black Friday came along in November. With 20% off I didn’t hesitate to sign up!
The journey to the event on Sunday 4th February 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, Nuffield Health ‘igloo’ and of course the start line. I checked in my bag which was quick and simple; no queues and a numbered wristband exchange system.
Start Waves and corresponding coloured bib numbers had been introduced for the first time, which was music to my ears! In previous years runners were bunched together with some very slow runners/walkers at the start of the corrals, which caused frustration. This year there were nine colour-coded Starting Waves with times running from 9:30 – 10:34. I was in the Third/White wave starting at 9:45am. However, there seemed to be some confusion (or maybe that was just me!) as a marshal instructed everyone to head to the start line, where there weren’t any timing pens or marshals checking coloured bib numbers. So again we all seemed to be bunched in together and despite being quite far back in the starting pen I crossed the Start line at 9:32, bumping into speed-walkers and very slow runners within the first KM, which was crowded. So although a very good idea in theory, the Start Waves didn’t seem to work too well, although that’s likely the fault of participants rather than race organisers. At the London 10,000 event there are clear colour-coded pens with marshals checking bib colours as you enter, which works fantastically.
A record number of 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, yetties, huskies 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 water station at 5KM came in handy!
The weather was freezing to start with. I wore Primark mesh-detailed leggings, black 2-in-1 support vest and London Marathon ‘rejection jacket’ with black 1000 Mile trainer socks and new Brooks Ravenna 8 trainers, resulting in a super comfortable and weather-appropriate outfit! I’d had a banana, Graze Protein bar and bottle of water for breakfast and felt as though I was running well and faster than normal, with no aches or pains getting in the way.
The last KM home-stretch was lined with enthusiastic supporters, and the bespoke medal is chunky and fabulous. Free Vita Coco water, Soreen Malt Loaf, Optimum Nutrition chocolate protein bars and water were handed out to finishers, and there were more volunteers dressed as arctic animals to offer selfies and high-fives! Back in Trafalgar Square there was a fun selfie area with lots of Nuffield Health staff offering to take photos; and picking up my bag couldn’t have been quicker/easier.
The London Winter Run is always a lovely, fun event and I’m super glad I took part again. The price at £47 is excessive – other London running events are cheaper and include a technical t-shirt – but I’d still recommend it to others and had a really good morning! In all honesty, this is an event that I’ll probably always take part in 🙂
NEXT UP – Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon, Sunday 18 February 2018