My friend Harriet was partaking in the Sports Relief Run at the Olympic Park. The team organiser was her friend Chris who was preparing for the London Marathon but wanted to experience an organised group run.
I signed up as I thought this would be a little warm up to Rough Runner (10 miles obstacle run) a week later. My friend Naomi signed up to give herself something to work towards. Naomi and I have been out running on a semi-regular basis in the lead up to this event.
Although I wasn’t taking this event too seriously I wanted to complete a sub hour time. I’ve been doing 3 miles on a hilly route in 27 minutes but not done this pace for a longer distance.
Chris signed us all up so I paid the money direct to him. All the entrant packs were sent to him. Inside the pack was your race number and lots of fund raising things, leaflets and a big poster of celebrities taking part in the whole Sports Relief event. I can’t help but think that some of the leaflets and especially the posters were a waste of money being printed. Especially as there were thousands of entrants for the various events happening across the country who probably also threw most of it straight into the bin. Anyway, just a thought for the organisers.
There were a lot of the happy clappy volunteers (not a bad thing, but some of them seemed a bit intense when compared to the usual British service) about directing us to the location of the event. People were handing out free nuts and raisin fruits prior to the race.
As we lined up the crowd of participants grew of all ages and sizes. This was a fun event so I don’t think any of the diehard runners will be out today. On a platform they had two super cheesy aerobic girls doing their routine to get the group warmed up. Maybe because it was early in the morning, or the fact that some of us didn’t get to sleep till 2:00am, or their dance routine was a little bit ‘S Club 7,’ or there weren’t enough room to windmill, but we didn’t really join in the whole work out.
Everyone else seemed to be enjoying it though. I thought I was about to be sick and fall over at one point, as I didn’t realise at first that the bridge we were on started bouncing up and down with everyone’s synchronised bopping! (That’ll teach me for just standing on the side and not joining in!).
I believe there were three waves altogether, we were on the first. As I’ve come to realise with all of these group races now is that the start will always be slow with so many people involved. A lot of the track wasn’t that wide and there were a fair amount of little kids zigzagging so overtaking wasn’t always an option.
I shouldn’t complain too much as I needed the loo right at the start of race anyway. So I had a quick dash into the portaloo after just two minutes into the race. After I came out the pack had spaced out a little, enough for me to catch up with Harriet and Naomi.
We ran most of the way together, as I found from Survival of the Fittest it’s nice to work as a team. A little banter helps ease each other around the track.
Each lap is a 1 mile long and it was down to you to count as there was no timer chip as this event. You couldn’t tell what lap people were on. So if you really wanted to you could even do the whole 26 miles around and around… Or you could walk around once and said you’ve done 6 miles. For the last lap you went a different direction to the finish line. I was a little disappointed they didn’t make use of the Olympic stadium for the track but it was a nice route around the Olympic Park.
Around the track were more volunteers offering encouragement. Some looked a little out of place but the vast majority of them were brilliant. High-fives were thrown from the sides. There were cheerleaders, choirs, live bands, a water station and other groups at different points which really helped take your mind off things. Hats off to them.
On the fourth lap I upped my pace, leaving the girls. They’d been saying for me to do so earlier, but as I said before I enjoyed running together. Also I have tendency to sprint off too quickly and exhausting myself too early. Which is what I did do!
Before the final lap I slowed it back down the curb the potential stitch away. On the last route volunteers voiced out the number of corners left and that helped give you a visible count of distance left. The final stretch was a slight incline and people were slowing down. I love a sprint finish so passing everyone on the last straight was fun. My timing for this was about right as I could feel the legs becoming jelly as I passed the finish line.
A partaking medal, more water, fruit and nuts were given after the finish line. I waited shortly for the girls to pass the finish line too. They only saw me when as passed me as there were many others cheering their friends as well as other participants.
We had a look around the park after which had lots of stalls. I ate anything free they were offering to fill that hole after the run. Volunteers were about asking how the run went. There were some shows and activities on, such as stunt bikes; wheel chair basketball and tennis.
It was a fun day out. My time was 57 minutes so was happy that I achieved my sub hour target. I could easily knock off another minute if I didn’t need the loo at the beginning as well! This event is great for people starting out for the fact you were never left running on your own because of the laps. For more serious runner they’d probably get frustrated about the bottlenecking in places as the track width could get a little narrow. Everything was well organised which is to be expected
"Any tips, reviews and advice are my own opinions and are not to be taken as professional view points. The information on this site is what has worked for me and is here for guidance only, but I hope you gain insight into the various activities I partake in." Jonathan Chen