London Winter Run 2018 (Part 2 – the bit with actual running)

Off went the Klaxon, the familiar surge of bodies moved forward, and with the usual start of a large London race, there was a decent bit of waving and kerb jumping for most of the first 2 miles.

I started to move out of the pack as much as I could, trying to stick to the side and follow others also clearly concerned about getting a specific time. I do get frustrated with the fact you can put any goal finish time in when you register, which obviously results in faster people tripping over slower people who have been over optimistic and therefore placed in the wrong wave.


2017 medal, 2018 (temporary) medal *see below

My aim was anything lower than my current (in training) 10k PB of 46.59, but I was pushing to see if I could get anywhere near the magical 45 minute mark (which would mean 7.10-7.20 min miles). I’d managed that for 5k but wasn’t convinced i’d hold that pace for 6.2.

After the first mile of trying to break free (7.31) I knew i’d have to make up the time, and to be honest, I thought i’d lost 45 right there, so I moved my goalposts to as near 46 as I could.

The second mile I managed to make up some time and ticked over at 7.14, but I was starting to flake already. URGHH! I knew there would be moments when I doubted myself but I wasn’t expecting them to start so soon into the race…

Mile 3 dipped again, and I found I was in a pattern that continued for the whole way (which later on realised was linked to the elevation of the course!). 7.42 this time. I started to wonder if I was going to back off, but each time I got a slower mile, I pushed harder on the next one. I would constantly go through a checklist – I do this when i’m pushing myself, runners logic or whatever. But I will go through a checklist;

  1. Is my breathing ok?
  2. Are my legs feeling ok?
  3. Is anything else jeopardising how I feel right now?

And then I work through that list and reason it out. E.g, if my breathing is laboured, but my legs feel fine, my mind is in a good place etc, I know to work on my breathing and calm it back down into a pattern I can cope with. And if ALL things have gone to crap, well, i’ve not ever got there…yet!

Mile 4. A guy dressed in a santa hat, placed over a certain part, and some weird thong contraption, ran past. Bizarre and probably absolutely freezing… but it clearly motivated me to get myself going too, as I pushed back to a 7.17.

Mile 5 – struggling again… at that point, my shoulders had completely ceased up. I think a combination of starting to lift weights and being active over the weekend had made my shoulders spasm, and I was in so much pain. I was just praying they’d ease off, but it took a good mile. The whole mile I thought about, and actually nearly stopped. 7.40.

Mile 6. Gave myself a little pep talk (along with muttering some other choice words about my feelings towards the effort I was exerting) and decided to go full in. I had under 2 miles to go, and there was still time for me to get a PB, even if it was a few seconds.


Finish line sunshine!

I checked my watch and realised I was actually very close to getting JUST sub 46, but I just couldn’t get any more effort out. I was maxing out.

On the Strand I knew Becca and the others would be there waiting with signs and cowbells and I used that as motivation to push on to them, then I knew it was just around the corner to ending this hell!

Cowbells and cheers digested, I stuck on turbo mode and pushed the last 0.20 of a mile to the finish line, at 6.36 pace, pretty sure it was the longest, furthest 0.20 i’ve ever run, but there it was. PUSH PUSH PUSH to the end. It hurts but it’s nearly OVER!!!

I ran over the finish line and stopped my watch a little after it had ticked over 10k, so my watch shows 46.17, but official time was less (wahoo!) at 46.08.

Medal trio

Martha, Me and Kev

At this point, and on the day, I don’t think I could’ve pushed more. I was tired after helping out at a conference friday/saturday, I had hideous shoulder pain and it was freezing, and in parts, quite gross headwinds. But despite all those factors, I still got a PB.

My actual race PB for a 10k is last year’s Winter Run, which was 50.24. So in a year, i’ve managed to shave a whopping 4 minutes 16 seconds off that time. And I think that is something to be proud of. Imagine if I did that next year? (yeah, not gonna happen… but sub 45?)




*the temporary medal – the medals I was enticed to do the race for, have sparkly enamelling and a snowflake in the centre which spins! When I crossed the finish line, and took this medal it was lovely but I was super disappointed… turns out the medals are stuck in customs, and once released, Winter Run will be sending them out to the participants. So, two medals for the price of one! (i’ll update the post with a picture of the proper one when it arrives).

London Winter Run 2018 (Part 1)

First let me say how much I love this race.

It is organised well and it’s obviously for an incredible cause.

It is also where I first met up with other runners from Instagram, in 2017. I had been active on the gram for around 7 months at this point and still working it all out. I had a message from Becca (@redfaced_runner) saying I was very welcome to come and hang out with her and a group of runners before the race.

I was so excited to have been included in a gang of people, who, as it turns out, had only really just met each other a couple of months previous to that.


I met Becca (@redfaced_runner), Ian (@ianrunsldn) – who weirdly knows my brother from YEARS ago, James (shoulder_runner), Shellie (@shellie0055), Soph (@soph.dxb), Amy-Lou (@to5kandbeyond), Kieron (@anxious_to_ultra), and Mr Tommy Barber (@barbertronruns) who made me feel so welcome and part of the group. Happy one year anniversary you lot!

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so I rebooked for this year – promptly after seeing what the medal was like… (oh my gosh, spinning sparkly snowflake centre? YES PLEASE!)


I rocked up to Trafalgar square, after parking in Vauxhall, and jogging in 2 miles for a warm up (I had 11 miles on the marathon plan so I was squeezing them in around the race too) – to be greeted by a squealing Becca with THAT sign, now famous in races all around the land, and the most wonderful hug. LOVE THAT WOMAN. Why we still do not have a picture together though, is nothing short of ridiculous…

We were then joined by Martha and Kev, who i’d met at the Beachy Head 10k/Marathon after (s)talking on ig. Kev then channelled his inner femininity after Becca donated her bib to him.

We popped in to the cafe and were greeted by a million other runners and grammers, some who I knew and some I needed to meet!

Can’t remember all but it was lovely to briefly see¬†Amy-Lou (@to5kandbeyond), to FINALLY meet Jim (@jimgandon26.2), Derrick (@derrickgoesrunning – who I met last month at the first Scrambled Legs and Bacon run, in Kent), Ian, Georgina (@fitcetera), Lizzie (@lillybet.runs.alot) who I ADORE, Laura (@laurajbrine) and probably loads others, sorry.

Martha, Kev and I left the cafe for bag drop, and were joined by a new friend, Suzie (@suzieliveshealthy). We dropped bags, and made our way to the snowmen, which was a BIG deal for Martha as she hates any type of mask… but she sucked it up and we took this epic picture…


There were some warm ups, and then the coloured waves were asked to walk round to the starting line, where there were foam snow cannons and people dressed as penguins and stuff like that…

We jumped about, trying to stay warm, feeling eager to get on with it and get some blood moving around our freezing bodies. The other three stuck together, but I was on a pb mission, so I was ready to get going. Waiting made me feel more nervous about doing it…

One amazing thing about Cancer Research is that it humbles you, and reminds you why people are there. There are many (myself included) who would be doing this race just for training/medal/fun but not necessarily raising money for CRUK, or indeed MIGHT not give much thought to the reason behind an event like this with all the excitement and grandeur that a race this size brings.

So, at the start when everyone is lined up, I love that they bring everyones attention to those who have fundraised, those who know someone battling cancer (pretty much all arms in the air) and those who were racing who are battling cancer right NOW.


We were ready to go, all that was left was the 3,2,1…