I took part in the Tower of London Run six years ago in 2013, and it was the first London race I ever did.
I haven’t taken part since, purely because this event takes place on a weekday so requires taking annual leave from work. However, dad passed away from a heart attack five years ago, and his 77th birthday would fall on the same day as the 2019 British Heart Foundation Tower of London Run – Wednesday 8th May – so it seemed like the perfect time to revisit the event.
I signed up alongside mum and my sister Jo – we paid £25 each which included a bespoke event t-shirt, medal, chip-timing and water. Our race packs arrived in the post with a few weeks to spare, and included a running number with the embedded timing chip.
So on Wednesday 8th May, we parked in Tunbridge Wells and caught the train into London Bridge. We got to the Tower of London early enough to watch the event being set up, which was nice, and arrived at the registration desk as it opened at 3pm, where we picked up our event t-shirts. Male and female changing tents and baggage storage were provided, along with portaloos, so we got ourselves ready and checked in our bags, before taking photos at the event selfie boards. We also purchased special event hoodies for £25 each, which have the date on the back. All staff/volunteers we encountered were really sweet, supportive and friendly.
The Tower of London Run follows a different format to most events, because it’s a 1K loop around the grounds, and participants can complete as many laps as desired (with a maximum of 10 laps/10K) before swerving off the course to the finish line. Some people run 1 lap, some 2 laps, some 5 laps… The same medal is given out to everyone regardless of how far they run. Children and adults of all ages and abilities can take part, and it’s a very relaxed event. The event started at 4:30pm but there is no specific start time after this – participants can start running at any time within the 3½ hour event time-slot.
A water station was positioned at the turning point of the loop on the grounds, and official event photographers were dotted along the course.
I was wearing USA Pro mesh cropped leggings, USA Pro sports bra, and black trainer socks with Brooks Ghost 10 shoes, plus a Runr hoody for travelling to and from the event. However, the weather was extreme, and no amount of clothing adjustment could have prepared me for the conditions. It poured down with torrential rain and hail, which felt like it was bruising the skin! I was soaked through to the bone after 1 lap/1K. Because of this, I got cold very quickly. I couldn’t see where I was going, and became uncomfortable. Jo and I had been aiming to complete 10 laps/10K, whilst mum had been aiming for a minimum of 5 laps/5K. However, mum stopped at 3K and then Jo and I stopped at 5K. I was just far too cold and wet.
The finish line was great, with an MC congratulating everyone who finished, and friendly volunteers who hung lovely bespoke medals around our necks and handed out foil blankets. We were soaked through and shivering, so the blankets came in handy! We quickly collected our bags from the baggage tent, and then went to strip off and get dry in the female changing tent.
It’s such a shame that we had to stop and weren’t able to complete more laps, but we couldn’t have predicated the weather. It was horrendous to run in! Combined with the fact that we were running on tufty grass (which is a lot different to running on pavements!), and having to remember how many laps we’d done, it was definitely a challenging run.
However, the Tower of London Run is a beginner-friendly event with a flat course, and had a good crowd of supporters with a lovely atmosphere. I’m super glad we took part – it was special, fun, different, scenic and just a lovely way to spend a Wednesday afternoon – despite the weather! 🙂
NEXT UP: Sevenoaks Run, Walk or Push 5K, Sunday 12th May