London Marathon 2015 - Polar Bear Hugs & Mad Hatters

Sunday 1st February 2015 - Winter Run 10k

8 members of Team Hope headed off to London today to take part in the first ever Winter 10k, starting at Embankment and up along the Thames, past the London Eye, the Tower of London, up to St. Paul's and back again.

It was a good preparation event for the marathon with regards to the epic planning just to get to the start line; the trek across London, the bag drop, the clothing issues, the weather and what and when to eat.

We had to leave home at 6.30am to allow us enough time to get to the start for 10.25am. We arrived at Newbury Park at 8.15am and got the central line tube to Oxford Circus. We were all dressed in our running clothes, with a few extra layers on top and bags so I had arranged for us to leave some of our stuff at the Marshall St Leisure Centre in the centre of London. So a few layers lighter we headed off to the event.

It was a short walk to the baggage area, where we dropped of a few more layers, and then headed onwards to the start. This was another 15 minute walk and it was absolutely freezing. Fortunately we didn't have the snow and rain that morning that Suffolk was having as that would have been mighty uncomfortable.


It wasn't long before we got herded into the starting pen and we were off.

Me and my sister, Ally, quickly lost sight of the rest of the group (as we are a little slower), and headed off along Embankment. A couple of annoying things about the route...Basically it was an "up and back" route, so you were going past everyone who was nearly finished, not great for morale. And it was very busy and fairly narrow. The course never allowed for competitors to spread out. So because it started in waves there was always someone slow in front of you and it was often hard to get past.

There were a couple of times when we wanted to tell the "motivators" where to stick their Swiss cowbells!!

I had a flashback to 2007 at a couple of places. There was the bit after Tower Bridge, which is the halfway point in the marathon. You come over the bridge, which is amazing, thousands of people, and then nothing, you arrive at the quietest bit of the course but at the same you can see those who only have a few miles left coming the other way. It was here in 2007 that I lost the will to live. So on Sunday the memories of this nightmare came flooding back to me. Then there was the final bit coming back down embankment. Ok so you're nearly finished at this point but back in 2007, it was an incredibly hot day, the hottest marathon on record, and the central reservation was scattered with collapsed runners and paramedics running about with drips. I can remember this like it was yesterday.

When I overheard a conversation where one of the girls said "I couldn't imagine running the marathon we'd have to do that four times..." I did actually nearly cry.

Ally did me on her sprint finish. I had increased the pace over the last couple of miles with a couple of sub 10 minute miles (which is fast for me) so I didn't have a lot more to give. Finished my first ever 10k event in a very respectable 65 minutes and got a brill medal and polar bear hug for our troubles.

If I complete the marathon at that pace I would be very, very happy!!!

For a post-run treat we headed off to the Sanderson Hotel for a delicious and well-deserved Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, served by the equally delicious Raphael.

I've been left feeling slightly negative about how I am going to ever the run the marathon distance, that 10k was hard enough. But all in all, successful and enjoyable, albeit very tiring, day.