The London Winter Run has been going since 2015 and I’ve now participated in all five events.
I didn’t sign up for the 2019 event until a few weeks ago, and ended up paying a ridiculous £49.50 for the privilege, but didn’t like the thought of missing out on an event which I’ve always taken part in.
The journey to the event on Sunday 3rd February was easy, with a straight train from Tunbridge Wells 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 checked in my bag which had a 10min queue but was efficient and simple, and involved a numbered wristband exchange system.
The weather was freezing at -2! I wore Primark leggings, black 2-in-1 support vest, Nike sweatband, Winter Walk neck buff and London Marathon ‘rejection jacket’ with black 1000 Mile trainer socks and Brooks Ravenna 8 trainers, resulting in a super comfortable outfit.
There were colour-coded Start Waves and corresponding coloured bib numbers – I was in the second/orange wave. However, like last year, there weren’t any timing pens or marshals checking coloured bib numbers, so we seemed to be bunched in together. I crossed the Start line at 9:40, dodging 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 blast of fake snow signalled the beginning of each wave, and runners enjoyed a 10K run around the closed streets of London – the route was relatively flat and scenic with no major bottlenecks. The atmosphere was fabulous, with volunteers dressed as penguins, huskies and polar bears handing out high-fives and shouting encouragement; and live music and entertainment en route included a rock choir. I’d had a banana, Graze Protein bar and Costa cappuccino for breakfast on the train, but stupidly was a little dehydrated, and got a big painful stitch between 1-3K, which was uncomfortable and definitely slowed me down! The water station at 5K came in handy, with mini bottles handed out by volunteers who were doing a fab job of clearing away the empty discards.
The home-stretch was lined with enthusiastic supporters, and a chunky bespoke medal was hung around my neck after crossing the finish line. Free Vita Coco coconut 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; 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 £49.50 is super 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 17 February 2019