I’ve been anticipating Sunday 1st February for months now! Waiting for the time to come to see you at the start line for the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run (CRLWR).
This is how the event went for me.
The night before, I read the weather update posted on the CRLWR Facebook page. It was set to be cold. Very cold. I picked out my warmest but most breathable running outfit and got myself off to bed.
I warmed up by running the 5km from home to the start line; dropped off my bag, fuelled up and was set. Everyone had been allocated time waves to start in and although I made my way to the start line just before my wave time, I ended up starting in a later wave after a quick warm up led by the Fitness First Team.
At this point, I was with Bethan, Jen and Charlotte but with the congestion in the first few hundred metres (to be expected) Bethan and I lost Jen and Charlotte.
We quickly found our stride and were already at the 1km mark. I was feeling incredibly comfortable so decided not to look at my GPS watch and to just feed off of Bethan.
The views were spectacular; yup, it was cold and windy but it was bright. One thing I do love is running in traffic free London.
Part of the route is the stomping ground for my Wednesday evening with the lululemon Run Club along with Bethan for the last few weeks; usually we run at either ends of the group so never get to chat so it was great to catch up properly!
There were two water stations on the course (one more than stated in the race pack). I took a bottle from the first station and drank it slowly along the course so didn’t need a second before the end. I was clearly dehydrated (or under hydrated) as I had no desire to use a toilet.
Race organisers did stipulate that there would not be as many toilets as hoped so not needing them was a bonus.
We ran east towards the Tower of London along the river then turned north to take in the City of London before heading back towards the finish line. The parts where we ran with runners going the other direction on the other side gave us a chance to spot friends and cheer them on!
The snow machines…now I loved these! They actually squirted out “real” snow (in the sense it was made from frozen water)…there was not too much of it to make the floor stupidly wet…yet enough to get a sense of it and a good picture!
Before I knew it, we were at the 9km mark. With 1km left to go, I could’ve done with some 800m to go, 600m to go, 400m to go…markers but we ran, came to a corner and there was the finish line…about 100m away!
Bethan went for a sprint finish whilst I kept an eye on her and hung in there till the end! Of course the first thing I did was check my watch – it read approximately 1 hour.
Considering all the circumstances (being unwell, running 5km beforehand, it being so cold) I was chuffed with this time! I’m just 3 weeks away from my first half marathon after all….
A stroll around the corner and we were awarded our medals…and took the opportunity to grab that Polar Bear hug we were promised!
Overall, the atmosphere was amazing! There were plenty of people on the sidelines cheering…and the Swiss cowbells did not go unnoticed!
Having read comments / feedback from everyone after the race it seems a lot of people think this is not the race to run a PB but I beg to differ.
If you want to run fast and hard, you need to get to the start line first. Start waves by time would help, along with a way of distinguishing who is in what wave to allow for a lot less confusion.
Running a PB also comes down somewhat to running etiquette if you start in a crowd. The race pack did say to stay to the left if you needed to walk but I think people forget this as soon as they get on the course. It does make life a little more difficult but a PB is still manageable if you plan out your route to dodge the other people.
I also didn’t use the bag drop – I ran with a running bag and minimal stuff (a warmer coat for post race, a warmer / bigger scarf, a post race snack and my purse). Bags were provided to put your belongings in and I’ve heard that the bag drop ran well!
Did you run the CRLWR?! What are your thoughts?!
The date for 2016 has already been released! Put 31st January 2016 in your diary NOW! For one week only, you can register at a discounted price!
p.s Huge Thanks to Human Race for having me as their Fitness Expert and for my place in the London Winter Run. Also a shout out to We Heart Living and Human Race for looking after me in VIP area set up at Fitness First Charing Cross Beat. All opinions are my own 🙂 some photos though are not – got ’em from the CRLWR Facebook Page!