Last Sunday, I took part in the London Winter Run. It’s the third year this event has taken place- having missed it in 2015 and 2016 due to injury, I was keen to get involved this time.
The 10k run is on closed streets in central London with over 16,000 people set to take part in aid of Cancer Research UK. The event is themed around winter with partying penguins, polar bear hugs and a snowman blast-off. The route starts in Trafalgar Square and takes runners past sights including The Royal Courts of Justice, London Stock Exchange, Bank of England, St Paul’s Cathedral, Somerset House and Downing Street.
Human Race events are typically very well organised and the Winter Run was no different. The bag drop was quick and efficient and there were plenty of toilets available. It was absolutely freezing on the morning of the race so I tried to leave it until the very last minute before taking off my hoody and replacing it with a black bin bag to keep warm.
Despite being given a start time of 9.54, the organisers seemed to be fairly relaxed about which wave you actually started with. There was nothing to stop you joining an earlier or later group. I queued with the hoards of people in the funnel and shuffled forwards towards the starting line.
I managed to paper cut my finger on my race number whilst I was waiting in the starting pen. It started pouring blood and continued to bleed all over my hand throughout the race. Being a triple-hard athlete, I soldiered on and ignored it. Well I didn’t want to wipe blood on my T-shirt!
Each wave was set off with a blast of snow, it actually made me jump as it almost hit me in the face! The first mile was fairly congested but I expected this with such a large-scale event. The crowds soon began to thin out and I found my pace, whilst taking in the sights around me. Running through central London on closed roads really is quite a special experience. Despite being freezing at the start, I quickly warmed up.
The course twisted and turned, so I could see faster runners on the opposite side of the road. The halfway point was marked with a water station in the Guildhall Yard. I didn’t stop to grab a drink, but quickly glanced at my watch and saw 27:49, so I wondered if I could pick up the pace in the second half.
I felt really strong throughout this run. No aches or pains, just lots of energy and determination. Along the way, we heard a gospel choir, drummers and of course the wintery characters. I high-fived the huskies as I passed by and laughed at the penguins dancing. The atmosphere was amazing, with plenty of runners out to enjoy the sights and sounds without taking the race too seriously.
The ten kilometres seemed to fly by, before long we were heading back along The Strand with Nelson’s Column in the distance. A few people have said that the course was slightly long, my Garmin measured it as 10.15km. Perhaps that was due to weaving around crowds and adding on slightly more distance. I crossed the finish line in 55:28. My PB for 10k still stands at 53:56, but I’m pretty pleased with my time for the Winter Run considering I just used it as a training run.
At the finish line we received a shiny medal and hug from a polar bear. Apparently there was also chocolate, but I seem to have missed this! The walk back to the bag drop area was quite long taking us via St James’ Park, I started jogging to try and stay warm.
Back in Trafalgar Square, I finally wiped the blood off my hand! I couldn’t leave before meeting the lovely St Bernard dog Isobel, I wonder if she had brandy in her barrel?
I took part in the Winter Run as a guest of Human Race, but all opinions are my own.
Do you find that you run better in the winter or summer?