Last Saturday evening saw 10,000 women light up the night at London’s Victoria Park for the second running of Nike’s We Own the Night 10k.
My day leading up to the race had been hectic- a challenging swim session followed by dismantling wardbrobes, then sanding and painting our bedroom walls. Glen and I are re-decorating our flat to put it on the market this week, and our blitz of the bedroom meant that our home was in a state of chaos. My Instagram feed was full of other runner’s neatly laid out race kits, but my running outfit was lost somewhere amongst the mess.
I eventually dug out my Nike T-shirt and leggings and headed to Victoria Park. Arriving at the race village in the bitterly cold wind and rain, I didn’t feel massively enthusiastic about this race. The festival-style event village had lots on offer including manicures at the Elle tent, DJs on the main stage, a sports massage tent and of course, a Nike pop-up shop with the latest kit. I browsed around the tents in the race village for a while before bumping into Lissy, Charlie and Harry for a quick chat.
Just before 8pm, the rain had cleared up and it was time to head towards the starting pens. We were filtered into six different coloured zones for a staggered start, based on our predicted finishing times. I’d chosen a blue wristband aiming for a sub-55 minute race. The first wave was set off bang on time, and we quickly moved forwards towards the start line. I thought the race had been organised very well by Nike, considering the negative feedback I had heard from last year’s event.
|Heading to the starting line|
|Photo credit: Nike Running UK|
I was aiming to set a new PB at We Own the Night, so the plan was to maintain a 9min/mile and to keep the sub-55 pacer in my sight, which would bring me in under my previous PB of 57:25.
The course was busy, but not too congested thanks to the wide pathways of Victoria Park. Along the way, we ran past glowing mushrooms and through tunnels of lights, to a backdrop of music from a live steel-band. The route was lined with (mostly male) spectators cheering us along, and each kilometre was marked with a giant lit-up sign.
|Photo credit: Nike Running UK|
It was fantastic to run surrounded a sea of turquoise T-shirts, but it did make spotting familiar faces difficult! As I ran I looked around for other ladies from Team Naturally Run, but couldn’t recognise anyone, until Leah tapped me on the shoulder at the 3km point. It was nice to see a familiar face although it was difficult to speak to her, as I was pushing to keep to my pace.
The course was two laps of the park, with a option to leave the race at the half-way point.
I always intend to finish races with a sprint, but it never seems to happen as I usually come over feeling strangely dizzy, faint and fatigued in the last 200m. The feeling passes as soon as I cross the finish line, but in those last few hundred metres I do worry that I am about to collapse! Despite my slow stagger on the finishing straight, I passed under the finish arch in 56:30- a new personal best!
We were handed a gorgeous Alex Monroe necklace in Liberty print box (I must admit the jewellery was my main motivation for signing up to this 10k), along with a goody bag and cartons of Vita Coco. I didn’t stay for long after crossing the finish line as the cold wind was getting too much, and Glen had been left to the decorating alone all evening.
Overall, a really enjoyable and well organised race- I loved the transformation of Victoria Park and the festival village. We Own the Night is perfect for newcomers to running as it is for women of all abilities, it was great to see so many groups of girls running together.