As London races go you’d be hard pressed to find one quite as iconic – apart from the London Marathon, obviously. The London Marathon is an extremely long race though, and there are massive chunks of it that aren’t quite as nice as the media coverage would make it appear (Woolwich back streets anyone?). The British 10k is pretty much all iconic. You’re slap bang in the middle of London for the whole thing – and the middle of London is far bigger than a 10k running route.
Starting at Green Park, the newly created route for 2015, takes runners through Piccadilly, down Pall Mall, past St James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben, to name just a few of the landmarks. It’s one hell of a nice route, and being in Central London means that the streets are full of crowds cheering loudly. Finishing along Whitehall is a spectacular end to the course.
With almost 14,000 finishers, it’s a massive event, especially if you’re used to smaller 10k races. From when we arrived at 7.30am the streets were already full of people making their way to the baggage drop. Just getting to the start line is a mission as you make you’re way around the signposted streets.
As seasoned runners, we tend to have a biassed view on races. We’re the kind of people who want to turn up, start at the front, beat our PB and then make our way home. But the British 10k is not that sort of race. With almost 14,000 people you need to be prepared for the fact there’s going to be a fair bit of queuing, whether that’s a bag drop, a toilet or even the starting waves. Thinking “I’ll be in and out in an hour” will probably mean you’re going to miss your brunch plans.
But what about the other runners? The ones that are there to enjoy themselves or are taking part in their first race. Well, this is where The British 10k shines. As mentioned previously – although we’ll try to stop referencing it – like the London Marathon, the event is designed for everyone. Yes it may be timed, but it’s more of a celebration of running, and indeed the city itself than a race. There’s a positive atmosphere in the air from everyone, people run around with smiles on their faces waving at the crowds, looking up at the scenery as they happily make their way to the end. It is (last time. Promise), like the last few miles of the Marathon.
If you are a speed runner expecting a fast time then make sure you get down early. If you’re not in wave 1, or at least wave 2, you’re going to have a struggle if you’re planning on getting a PB. We started in wave 3 and there were already a lot of walkers in front of us. Our resultant kilometre speeds fluctuated a great deal.
But, as we said, there are races for fast times. Races that have 250 runners that take place in the middle of a quiet park. The British 10k isn’t one of them. It’s a bit like Super Mario Kart: It’s fun, it looks great, there are all sorts of people taking part and you’ll probably spend a lot of time dodging things in front of you.
You can see our performance over the course on the handy tracker app here. A nice little memento of the day.
For more details of The Vitality British 10k London Run head over to the website.
Picture credits: Vitality