Report by Alexa Dale
Sheffield RC was represented by 3 club members at the Westminster Mile on Sunday 28th May 2018. Myself and Ben Mahoney were in the adult waves that started at 9:30am, and Chris Ireland was in the Masters Championships that started at 12:55 in the heat of the day. Bizarrely, both Ben and I were in wave A, the very first wave of 39 to set off that day – there seemed to be an effort to spread the waves, rather than grouping by ability. Ben ran a PB of 5:06 (hampered by congestion by those who set off way too fast and slowed down beyond 400 metres.) I ran 7:41 – not a PB, but not too bad considering the year I’ve had, and a small improvement over the 7:54 I ran at the recent club timed miles.
Chris Ireland won the M55 race, running 4:58 and 9 seconds faster than 2nd and 3rd place M55s (they both finished in 5:07). He even got a mention in Athletics Weekly!
Sheffield RC had 10 runners in the London 10,000, but despite efforts to arrange a group photo beforehand, only 5 of us managed to spot each other around the start line. Today the runners were arranged by ability, so the faster runners started in the blue (first wave), which was most of the Sheffield RC crew. I was in the black (second) wave (no, I’ve no idea why either!) and Georgina and Alison were in the green (third) wave.
In terms of organisation, London 10,000 did a good job – there was lots to do in the park for spectators, the baggage drop was easy to find and from there, we just followed the big crowd heading to the start line. Of course, there were queues for the toilets; when you have 12,000 runners, there are always going to be queues for the toilets. However, when the first wave starts at 10am, and you’re supposed to be in the second wave that starts only minutes later but are still in the toilet queue at 10am… you get a little twitchy and end up having to run down the queue and apologise for pushing in! Luckily, two guys let me in and once through, I ran down to the black wave that was just being moved forwards to the start line.
Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sebastian Coe were two of the starters for this event, meaning Sheffield RC got a name check at the same as the commentator announced that “Sheffield Running Club produced 2 of the finest ever runners” (or something similar.) We won’t go into the Sheffield AC / Sheffield RC / City of Sheffield AC story just now! And of course, David Addenbrooke ensured that his club vest got its moment of fame whilst Mo Farah was being interviewed!
My wave set off at 10:07am. I think my predicted time was c.52 minutes (based on my last 10K, and definitely not based on me breaking myself and only having 9 weeks of returning to running again for this event.) All week I’d joked that 62 minutes would be a good time, although secretly I was hoping for sub-60. We ran down the Mall, through Trafalgar Square and then a few parts of central London I’m not particularly familiar with, although I remember seeing the road signs for Chancery Lane, and passing St Paul’s Cathedral around the 5k marker. London 10,000 is a very flat course, and I believe the second half has a slight overall decline.
I stopped at the water station at 7km, which is opposite the 3km water station, and I’m glad I wasn’t in the later waves – the number of cups on the ground looked difficult to negotiate without slipping. It might help to have a couple of big bins on either side – if there are bins I’ve found runners do actually tend to throw their empty cups and bottles into them!
The 8km marker was opposite the 1km marker for this route, meaning the finish felt further away, but we ran down Whitehall and past the Cenotaph, which felt really good (when else would you get the chance?) The 9km marker was the right turn onto Birdcage Walk, and from here were the countdown markers – 800m to go, 400m to go, 200m to go, and finally, 100metres to go on the very last turn to the finish. I achieved a great “sprint hobble”™ over the line, and then just wanted to stop and not move again, but we were ushered away from the finish gantry to have our race chips removed, and a walk around the Victoria Memorial to the T-shirt, goody bag & medal collection next to Buckingham Palace
The goody bag contained a bottle of water, a small can of pop, a bottle of Lucozade, a few leaflets, a tea bag, a packet of crisps and a sachet of coffee. It also contained the New Balance t-shirt (much prefer Adidas myself, but it’s still a nice designed t-shirt) and we were given our medals by the enthusiastic volunteers at the finish line.
Baggage collection was very easy and I had my bag within minutes, before heading to the meeting points. I’d received a text message as soon as I’d finished, advising me my chip time was 55:23! Mo Farah and Steph Twell were just receiving their winner’s awards as I headed back towards Green Park tube station for my journey back to Sheffield, so we managed to get a picture of Mo as he said hello to the crowds.
Would I run London 10,000 again? Absolutely! I really enjoyed it, helped by the beautiful sunny weather with a slight breeze, the great organisation and the iconic running route around some of the best parts of London.
Sheffield RC results: