As I watch my chicken roasting in the oven and sip on a glass of red (oh that feels good), standing on the Victoria Embankment in the freezing cold this morning, surrounded by hoards of runners seems like so long ago.
Yes, I did it. I actually did the London Winter Run. For some reason I was doubting myself after the trauma of running the London Marathon back in April. Plus, the idea of getting up early on a Sunday morning to spend several hours in the cold did not sound like fun.
However…after all my self-doubt/whinging/yearning to be under my cosy duvet, it turned out to be, a really amazing event.
I won’t lie, the waiting around at the start line once you’ve reluctantly handed over your coat at the bag drop wasn’t the most fun part. But on the plus side, I got there super early, which meant I got to see the very first wave head off.
Let me know if you spot championship runner Jo Pavey, who kicked off the event…
As the sun tried hard to squeeze itself out of the clouds and I tried to maintain feeling in my fingers, the Fitness First gang got us warmed up with various Mexican waves, jumps and general jumping around.
As you’ll probably know, The London Winter Run is in partnership with Cancer Research, so to see a show of hands of how many people had been affected by the disease was quite an eye opener. It also made me think about the people that I know who’ve suffered cancer, and was a really valuable reminder of why events like these are so important.
Warm up done, the race began and we made our way around the route along the Victoria Embankment, down to Tower Hamlets and back via St Pauls.
It was quite weird. The last time I ran down this route was the last stretch of the London Marathon in April 2014. So it brought back all sorts of feelings from how difficult that day was and what it meant to me (see my running blog here).
But alongside memories of pain and flashbacks of a day where I needed to find a ridiculous amount of inner strength, it also spurred me on.
Through flurries of ‘snow’…
…and past iconic buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral…
I suddenly re-found my competitive streak (it’s always in there) to reach the end.
Fifty-four minutes and 49 seconds later, I was over the finish line and being congratulated by a polar bear or two…
…picking up my a fabulous snowflake medal (aren’t they amazing)
…and reuniting with these lovely ladies who had also taken part.
If I had tips for anyone looking to take part in the London Winter Run, I’d say…
– DO take an old jumper/coat/scarf/hat to wear at the start line which you’re happy to throw. I didn’t and really could have done with it while we were waiting to start. There’s a section where you can then leave them and they’ll be donated to charity. So it’s a win win.
– DO invest in some running gloves and hat (trust me)
– DO arrive in good time to do the bag drop. I had plenty of time in the end but taking into account queues, portaloo stops and walking from Green Park to the start line on Victoria Embankment (and getting there in time for the warm up) will take at 10 or 15 minutes. At least.
– DO take in the lovely views along the river
– DO make a beeline for Soho and go for an epic brunch in Balans afterwards.
Followed by that red wine and roast dinner…
Until next time x
For more information about the London Winter Run, head over to www.LondonWinterRun.co.uk
Tweet them @WinterRunUK