One of London’s most exciting events returned, London Winter Run 10km 2022! Having run it before, let’s see how it compares to previous events? Did it match previous years or even better did it blow them out the water?
Both George and I signed up pretty late, we’ve been pretty loose with our race calendar to begin with, trying to suss out the COVID impact and if restrictions were going to linger around for longer than expected. But when we realised it was good to go logistically, and the dates lined up we signed up. It is a pretty steep race entry as is to be expected for closed road races within Central London, but one of those memorable days that makes it worth the price.
Having signed up it was time to decide a plan, what was our race strategy going to be? I’m running mostly for the love of it this year, so decided I would stick with that concept for the race. George was going for a time, she is training hard and wanted to push to see where she was at. My initial plan to not run with a goal changed when good friend Michael aka The Urban Challenger wanted to chase his sub 45 goal for the race, and I offered to pace him. Not something I do a lot, but we’ve got great history of running together and having a blast doing so.
The pre race day nerves were high in the household, I love pacing friends but it is high pressured and I always struggle with strategy, how do I keep him motivated and confident he can do it? How do I keep him by my side? Do I just run the exact pace we need and hope he sticks with me? George was even more nervous than me, triple checking everything was ready and in place for her effort. Time to decide what to run in? I’m without a doubt obsessed with how great the New Balance FuelCell Prism feel, so much so that I’m on my second pair. The kit was ready, playlist decided and flat lay done. I was ready to get some rest before the big day.
We headed in bright and early, not wanting any added stress from delays or bag drop queues, and giving us the opportunity to grab a coffee and use the toilets before the start. Trafalgar Square was eerily quiet when we arrived, found the nearest Caffe Nero and headed in. I was brave and had a large black Americano, which can sometimes trigger movements you don’t want before a race or even worse during. What was I thinking?? I needed the caffeine though. Our close friend Happy Deaf Mike came to join us for a bit, we absolutely adore him and it was lovely to spend some quality time on race day, too often it is a fleeting hello at these events. Then the big man Michael arrived, we spoke over rough paces, acknowledging the fact we would get caught up in the first km and not to let that throw us off too much.
It was go time, we set off and Michael was ahead I was having to keep up with him, the course was packed and pace not consistent with the finish times needed for that wave, we did our best to weave through and keep close to something like 4:40, even resorted to going on the pavement for a bit. We ended up with a 4:55 first km, we had to pull something back, and he dug in and pushed hard, closing the second km with a 4:05 and bringing us back bang on target. It was time to settle the pace and aim for consistency now, 4:30 all the way would get us that desired result.
The km markers ticked by nicely, we were bang on pace at each marker and it felt comfortable, hit 5km in 22:29 spot on for that sub 45 goal. I had notice Michael dipping back a little, and I didn’t know what to do. Do I drop back to try and push him to catch the pace, or would that make him drop back further? Do I push on and stick at the consistent pace, with the hope he will kick in towards the end? I decided to keep consistent and hope he kicked up.
7km came and I kept looking back and he wasn’t in my sightline at all, I knew then that we had failed in our attempt at getting him that sub 45, I felt guilt and disappointment that it wasn’t his day. As we hit an out and back stretch by St Paul’s, I looked desperately for him, only to see George absolutely flying with a beautiful wide smile on her face. She looked strong, capable and in control. I got goosebumps and an overwhelming emotion of pride, she was doing it! Getting that time she truly deserves! Moments later I saw Michael and he confirmed the effort was done for the day, he was bringing it home and not pushing. I decided to kick in hard and push for the last 3km, I knew it would be fun and the course is perfect for racing.
The next 3km flew by as I managed to drop down to 4:05 pace and it felt exhilarating, just pure fun. We arrived back at Trafalgar Square just before the finish straight and I slowed a little, looked desperately for our family but couldn’t see them. Time for a sprint finish, I was on for sub 44 and had dropped nearly a minute in the last 3km, when did I gain that ability? I don’t know but it felt brilliant.
I crossed the line in 43:44 and I was buzzing, not just for my time…but I was excited to see my world finish and find out what time she got, did she do it? Of course she did! She smashed it and knocked a chunk off her PB! Hell yeah! Today may not have been the day for me and Michael but we will get that sub 45 one day, and it will be soon I’m sure! London Winter Run 10km 2022 you’ve been a blast!
Four years of London Winter Run and everyone has been brilliant for a different reason, one common theme is the buzz and excitement. The event is slick with regards to organisation, the entertainment on course is brilliant…I mean how many races do you high five penguins and polar bears? Most of all though I think it is running in the city I love and call home, with an incredibly supportive crowd cheering you on. No feeling quite like it! I will be back next year, will you?