Bupa London 10,000 - race report

27 May 2014, 14:58

I ran the first ever Bupa London 10,000 back in 2008 in a steady downpour. It was my first ever 10k, and despite the weather, I utterly loved it and I knew I’d be back. Great course, perfect organisation, easy to get to, and always a good time. I’ve run it in apocalyptic rain and searing 32C heat, and last year only a week after I ran a marathon and flew halfway around the world for work, and it’s still always guaranteed to be enjoyable.

This was my 5th year running it, so I totally knew what I was in for. They’d tweaked the course slightly over the years, reversing the start and finish, leaving out St Pauls, and making the finish closer to Buckingham Palace, but it’s still comfortable enough that we feel like old friends. Despite running We Own the Night a few weeks ago and it being 6 weeks since London Marathon, I must confess that my head still isn’t back in the training game. The forecast was decent enough and my legs were in good enough shape, so I set off at the front of my starting pen at a comfortable 4:15min/km and figured I’d try to maintain sub-4:30 through to the last few hundred meters and try to kick out a sprint finish.

On paper, it looks like this was a massively successful strategy – I pretty much kept between 4:15 and 4:20 for the entire race, and sped up a bit in the last 200m. But this felt way tougher than it should’ve, and I know it was all mental. It was a nice day, I had good choons on my playlist, I was on home turf, and yet it felt like a struggle to just keep going and not stop midway through for a sandwich or something. I know this is normal after a big race, and I’m hoping that a return to a training schedule in a week or two will help matters.

For me, the highlight in the race was hearing my name shouted out at around 4.5km and suddenly being in the midst of half the Run Dem Crew Elites – Mani, Sorrel, Barefoot Tom, and Jeroen were running the race like a peloton, each taking turns at the front and encouraged me to come along for the ride. I got caught up with them for a few hundred meters but then realised that their sub-4 pace was way too fast for that early in the race so I told them to go on ahead. If I’d met them at 7 or 8k, or if it was a few months down the line, this would’ve been a dream race experience for me, especially since they finished in 39 minutes!

Post Bupa 10k

I didn’t finish too badly though – despite my mental game being decidedly “off” I ended up with a new PB by about 40 seconds. It’s the third time I’ve finished 10k in 44 minutes-something recently – first was at the un-chipped Marrowthon, and then the second was the first 10k of London marathon, so it’s amazing I was able to carry on after running the first quarter so quickly!

But a PB is a PB, even if it’s just by a few seconds, and I’m feeling very fortunate I was able to pull it off at all. This is one of my favourite races, and I just feel grateful every year that I’m able to participate at all. Each year I remember the only two years I didn’t run it, when I was off having my bone marrow transplant and then recovering from it. My BMT “rebirthday” isn’t for another month, but somehow this race is always linked to it in my mind, and it’s a great reminder of why I run at all.

Bupa London 10,000. 25 May 2014. 44:19

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