Fantastic atmosphere from start to finish and with a wonderful surprise at the end!
Nice flat(ish) 4 lap route and 2 laps for the runners completing the 5k distance.
I'd announced on insta the day before that my goal was anything under 45 minutes, just for some added accountability (/pressure!)
Jogging from Stratford International train station to the main field for a little warm up (took about 5 mins), my excitement was building as the music, and the host excitedly shouting through the microphone, was getting louder and louder as I approached.
I was a little nervous for this one as aside from it being my first 10k race in three years, I'd chosen to wear my Nike Vaporflys. I have worn the Vaporflys for many races prior to this one over two years but recently my feet and calves have been hurting when I wear them. So I decided to train in a different shoe and save these just for races as I know I run faster in them.
The host put on some great songs and gave us a fun warm up in the usual big race fashion. The 5k and the 10k runners all start together running under the big blue blow up start/finish sign in 3... 2...1!
(Thats the start/finish line in the photo to the left. It says start on the other side :)
Running with the 5k runners turned out to be a boost for me as I realised that I ended up racing some of them for the first couple of laps only for them to veer off to the side and go through the finish line, leaving me with two more laps to do! The signage for each k was a little confusing for me, but I had my watch on so I just looked at the distance on there to see how I was doing rather than the signs.
The course has a lovely straight next to the start/finish which is the busy and bustling part of the course then round a sharp bend and down a slope. There are a few uphill slopes each lap but only one that I would class in the slope/hill category, and its only a short distance.
The course also went along a little bit of river and under a bridge which was nice. My pacing was pretty consistent for the first 3 miles; 7:19, 7:20, 7:21 min miles. When I had completed 2 laps and knew I was at 5k I told myself to really dig in and give this all I've got as I was on track for my goal time.
I really dug in and managed 7:21, 6:54, 6:42 for the next 3 miles! This meant I came in at 43:56 and I was over the moon!
At the finish line I saw a runner who I had been running close to all the race. We kept swapping and going in front of each other throughout. I extended my fist for a fist pump and said 'Great running!' He said 'You too, I was just trying to stay near Mo Farah haha'... I replied with an awkward 'Haaaa' as I thought id missed the joke and I had a puzzled look on my face. So then he said 'No really! Thats Sir Mo over there! He was pacing his wife!'
So it turns out I was running behind Sir Mo and his wife and didn't even realise! They finished really close to us too and his wife got a 10K PB!
Wonderful race all round, and then I had a wonderful free massage provided by Runthrough. Really nice guy too.. I think his name was Colin :)
Lucky Saint the non-alcoholic beer company had provided me the free race bib which I am very grateful for!