A 10k? You’ll smash it. Were the words I heard from almost everyone I mentioned this event to. It’s funny how running a marathon (over two years ago) leads people to believe that I can run any distance at any time at the drop of a hat. 10k isn’t even that far! Was another one. But let me tell you, as soon as you put on a chipped number bib, hand over your belongings, triple check your shoelaces and scramble around to find a loo just in case you can’t hold it for a whole hour, it becomes something else. And if you’ve never experienced that feeling, then this is a good run to start with. Sweaty palms at the ready.
Taking place on the first Saturday of every month at 9.30am, the Olympic park race really did rekindle my love for running. Starting a stone’s throw from the ArcelorMittal Orbit (yep, I googled that) and the newly named London stadium – not to mention on the same day as the ACTUAL Olympics started, the atmosphere was friendly and inviting. And as someone who lives 15 minutes away and has never visited the park once, I was genuinely excited to see the sights.
At £17 a spot it won’t break the bank and with an entry limit of 700 runners it was far less chaotic than other events I’ve done. The sign in process was a breeze, the bag drop easy with no queues and after a quick group warm up in the sun, we were off. The distance is made up of 3 laps, taking you along the river bank, under and over a few little bridges and back along beside the stadium. It’s a pretty run, which is relatively flat, perfect for a first timer as well as anyone who’s trying to clock up a personal best.
Although the route is not cordoned off specifically for runners, there are no roads to cross, no traffic and very few people around; some sunbathing, some cheering us on, others were just enjoying the trail, and I don’t blame them. Normally lapped runs feel like a chore but this was all very pleasant, I wasn’t pushed aside or squeezed passed at any point and there were no parts of the route I dreaded facing for a third time. When you pass the start point for the lap you’ll find a water station, which was much needed in the blazing heat. You’ll also be met by a guy with a speakerphone egging everyone on – I won’t tell you what he was saying but trust me, it’s worth the money alone.
I finished up in 50 minutes, which I felt quite proud of, especially considering I was pushing it to the point that I gagged at the end. Such a pro. After collecting our lovely medals and goody bag we took our aching limbs for a short walk over to the bars and restaurants at Westfield shopping centre for a well-earned drink.
Pretty perfect start to the weekend if you ask me.
To find out more about the QEOP 10k, along with all the other The Race Organiser events, head to the website here.
Picture Credits: Basil Thornton, Tom Wheatley