London 10 Mile

A hilly ‘country run’ in London

The London 10 Mile was held for second year running (the inaugural race was last year) in the beautiful setting of Richmond Park, in southwest London. I have run it both times and enjoyed the route (despite the hills, of which there are quite a few); the tranquil setting; and the fact that it is run on closed roads. The only thing you have to look out for are the deer, who cross the paths in front of you, or stand there giving you a bemused look as you trot past.

It was held on 13th May this year, so just 3 weeks after my marathon and it was another very hot day, so I had a real feeling of ‘why are you doing this to yourself again so soon’ about the whole thing, which wasn’t perhaps the most positive mind set I could have approached the race with.

At £40ish to enter, it isn’t the cheapest, but proceeds from it go to Great Ormond Street, so a very good cause. For that you get chip timing and a medal, but no t-shirt. You have to pay a further £20 for that, but it is a very nice one, despite a fair bit of corporate branding. There are plentiful toilets, of the plastic pod variety, and also a very efficient bag drop.

The race sets off at 10.30 in waves, and I can only assume I had consumed a couple of glasses of vino when I entered, or had been in Walter Mitty land with my time prediction, because when all the info arrived I was in the first wave! One of the friends I had gone with was also in that wave, but when the klaxon went to start us, I basically ate her dust as she sped off into the ether, with her finishing in just over the hour, 3rd woman home! Needless to say I trotted in thirty minutes after her, as I wanted to get my money’s worth out of my entry fee!

The first mile of the race is quite a hefty uphill, which gives you a fair indication of things to come. It then levels out for about three miles, until you get to about mile 4, which has one of those horrible, gradual uphills which goes on for about two miles. Another level mile is followed by what can only be described as running up a wall at mile 7, and this goes on for about half a mile. If you look above when you are running this stretch (or walking if you aren’t a masochist!) you will see tree surgeons perched on branches above you (well I assume they aren’t marshals) shouting out witty words of encouragement which thankfully take your mind off what you are running up. The last 2.5 miles are fairly innocuous in terms of elevation, and I enjoyed them knowing from having run it previously that the worst was behind me. The last 200 metres is a flat, straight stretch to the finish line in front of masses of spectators, so just when you think you have no more, it’s amazing how you can find some flying feet!

There are 4 water stations on the course, serving water in small plastic bottles. There is also a Cliff Shot Block fuel station, which seemed to be very well received.

I enjoyed the experience, and have already said I will brave the hat-trick next year. I am fortunate enough to have friends who live nearby so getting there in time for the start isn’t a problem, as they drive me there, and then we have a great time rehydrating in local pubs afterwards.