The Bupa London 10,000 was my first proper running event three years ago and holds some great memories: it was the first time I experienced a huge, well-organised running event, and it had me hooked. I took part in the Bupa London 10,000 in 2013 and 2014 but missed the registration boat in 2015 by a DAY due to a clerical error my end. I emailed and Tweeted the organisers begging for a place but didn’t hear back, and contacted various charities who confirmed that they had already reached full capacity. So, that was that.
It turns out that 2015 ended up being Bupa’s last year as headline sponsor, with Vitality taking over for 2016. I admitted in a previous blog that I felt slightly despondent about this, while remaining hopeful that Vitality would keep up the very high standards set by Bupa who maintained, in my view, a perfect running event. Vitality run the worst 10K event I’ve ever taken part in (the British London 10K) but also held the Brighton half marathon, which was surprisingly enjoyable. I wanted to see what the new London 10,000 would be like; if my favourite running event had changed in any way.
So, I set off on Monday 30th May feeling both excited and slightly nervous, as my last ‘proper’ running event was back in February. Due to Thameslink works, the trains were all out of sorts and it took 2hrs to travel to Green Park; not ideal, but not the end of the world. The Event Village was very easy to find and well signposted, with a large area full of catering and beverage carts, Vitality-branded beanbags and tables. There were more than enough portaloos and I didn’t have to queue on the two occasions I used them. I’d consumed a banana, cereal bar and Lucozade before entering the well-organised colour-coded pens, which were manned by event staff who checked to confirm that runners were in the right wave. This is imperative for good organisation and is something that the London Winter Run, for example, could learn from and implement. There were four waves in total; I was in the second wave (‘black’) and we set off around 4-5 minutes after the first wave, with a fun countdown and motivating music. The course, as always for the London 10,000 event, was lined with supporters/general public and charities, with a number of brass bands and drummers set up to play music along the route; I personally love this touch. The two water stations were well staffed, and cleaners were efficiently removing the empty bottles from the pavement without getting in anyone’s way. The sprinkler ‘showers’ en route were a welcome feature and seemed to be popular, too – I found it refreshing!
The atmosphere was electric, absolutely amazing, and I felt proud to be running a beautiful, scenic course amongst thousands of other runners. The weather was dry, slightly muggy but ideal running conditions, and I had chosen to wear sports leggings with a tight vest layered under a looser vest, which worked very well and I was comfortable throughout. No parts of my body ached and I felt on top form right up to the finish line and beyond. In hindsight, although I didn’t get a PB and wasn’t particularly fast, I would call this a perfect run, in terms of how I felt and the event itself.
The Finish Line was wide, with a large digital clock on display, and an organised production line of sorts where volunteers snipped off the timing tag from all runners’ shoes and handed out possibly the most impressive goody bags I have seen: an Adidas event t-shirt, water, Lucozade, bag of almonds, Ritz crisps, Jacobs crackers, Drumstick Squashies, full-size bottle of SPF15 sun lotion, Whitworths fruit mix; and a large, heavy bespoke medal. Photographers lined up just after the exit to take pictures of runners with their medals, and the whole Finishing element seemed seamless and well managed. I found my spectator boyfriend with ease and we exited the event village without trouble or queues. I didn’t have to use the baggage drop so can’t comment on that, but the whole experience was very positive and I’m so glad I took part. No negatives from my point of view!
I paid £28 to enter this race and can’t quite believe the quality and high standards. The British 10K, for example, charge £50 entry and don’t supply goody bags, color-coded start pens, this amount of photography or even half this level of organisation. I would highly recommend the London 10,000 event to anyone and everyone. If you’re going to take part in a London 10K, it without a doubt has to be this one. Well done, Vitality! I’ll be back 🙂