It did require me to dig deep and summon up motivation, especially after a night of New Year celebrations and a rather grey landscape outside, but I was glad to make it out. Was good to see other people also made the effort to venture outside during my wet 11k interval run of road, fence vaulting, hill sprints and forest trails.
Happy New Year everyone!
2016 events that gave finishing mementos: Sport Relief: Queen Elizabeth Park; Spartan Race: Queen Elizabeth Park; Run Through: Lee Valley Velopark April; Tower of London Run; Adrenaline Rush: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Color Obstacle Rush: Kempton Park; Wildfire Adventure Camp; Great Newham Run; Lee Valley Velopark July; Decathlon 5k Surrey Quays; London Inline Marathon; London Inline Marathon: 1st Place Senior Group; Toughest Oslo; Doughnut Dash; Rough Runner: Clapham Common 5k; Rough Runner: Clapham Common 10k; Bear Grylls Survival 10k
It was fantastic to discover the crisp escapism of an autumnal run. No one around, just the squirrels diving across my path of endless orange leaves.
My favourite sports store Decathlon has started hosting free running events which includes a free illuminance tshirt. For simply signing up to a free loyalty card you also get a free drawstring bag that you collect in store after the race.
Sign up was straight forward and so was race number pick up. The number didn’t match the one I got on email but it didn’t matter as there were no official timings for this race. We had to do two laps of the park to complete the 5k. Although my GPS calculated 4.5k.
The race itself went well with a negative split. Quite satisfying overtaking a couple of runners who shot off earlier during the race and I ended with a strong sprint finish. So from an experience point of you it was fantastic!
The vibe at the finish line was really warm and welcoming. People cheered each other as they completed the race and the MC seemed to be enjoying himself too!
5k (4.5k) result:
So after three months we're back for Run Through's Lee Valley Velopark event. We booked these two events together hoping that we could first set a benchmark and then have a target to strive for.
22 seconds slower than my first attempt! So that didn’t work out as planned. Well despite my initial intentions I haven’t exactly been running/training for this, except for the odd event here and there. So with the official temperature being nine degrees higher this time I really can’t complain with my lack of preparation.
£32 gave us a point to point run through the Queen Elizabeth Park. Whilst I've done a number of events already in the Olympic Park the selling point was that the finish line was in the Olympic Stadium. Another notable feature was the use of the cycle track. Even though we ran the opposite way to my previous experiences my prior knowledge gave me an edge on what to expect (hills!) and resulted in me being able to pace better than others.
It was a particularly hot day, especially for a race starting at 9:30. We were repeatedly reminded of this fact by the MC and the sun beating on us. Therefore it wasn't until the last kilometre I finally found my surge to pick up the pace. No PB for any of us today but happy with the final time.
Good event overall. We also got a got a goody bag, a tshirt, medal a few things to eat and drink, plus two tickets each for spectators to soak up the atmosphere from within the stadium. I've got to say the security staff at the spectators gate of the stadium were very friendly, asking everyone how they did as they checked their bags. Thumbs up!
I've heard a lot about this free weekly timed 5k running event. Park Run has established it's presence up and down the country and is run by volunteers. Signing up was straight forward to gain your unique barcode which is used to register your time. You don't actually need to to sign up to each event, just turn up on the day and have your barcode ready for when you cross the line.
It's fantastic that people can enjoy a group race for absolutely nothing. You also get a host of stats after the race that will encourage you to return to get that PB!
As for Brentwood Park, it was a very pretty setting. Nice forest as well as a few hills to run up and down. They had lots of Stickman themed sculptures as well as a deer farm.
The Sainsbury's Sport Relief Games at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was back today after an absence in 2015. For this event you could run, swim or cycle a range of distances. It was to be my first race since my double Berlin marathons in September and since I've only done one run this year I knew today wasn't a day for any personal bests.
The event was similar to my other experience, which was great. Good vibes, enthusiastic volunteers and lots of live music throughout meant I was excited to partake in this fun run.
The looped circuit was advertised with a 1, 3 or 6 mile option. Our GPS devices today said we were closer to 5.5 miles. Maybe if you ran in the middle of the track the whole way around it would have been closer to the distance.
I took this at a relaxed pace and could have gone faster, which gives me confidence for the upcoming events I have signed up for.
No official timing but you get a snazzy medal to wear for your effort. For an early bird entry price of £5.50 for the run it was an absolute bargain. Looking forward to the next Sport Relief event.
Without doubt the Berlin Double Marathon weekend was the pinnacle of the year. I finally achieved a sub 1:30 skate marathon time as well as accomplishing my first ever run marathon. The training was tough both physically and mentally. Along the way I also completed a bunch of other new races, including a number of other double event weekends and even had time to design a medal for one of the events. I lost a GoPro but got this massive medal holder. (I still would have preferred my camera). This has been an action packed year that has ended with me enrolling in yoga. Whilst I've dabbled with yoga with friends before, I'm now enjoying actual classes and the contrast it gives to my usual sporting activies.
I've already signed up for a few obstacle events next year. For me it was disappointing to see that some events, namely Nuclear and Nuts Challenge have increased their "early bird," prices by £30 on top of what it was this time last year! (I'll be skipping them this year). There are quite a few other events to keep me busy besides anyway.
Overall 2016 will be a little low key than this year, but the absence of marathon training should mean I can focus my energy on other things!
2015 events that gave finishing mementos: The Nuts Challenge (2 laps) ; Dirty Dozen (London South); Electric Run (London); Urban Ninja (Tooting Bec); Tower of London Run (10k); Spartan Race (Allianz Park); Nuclear Rush (6k); Tough Mudder (Midlands); London River Rat Race; Dublin Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon; London Inline (half) Marathon; Run to the Beat (Wembley); Berlin Inline Marathon; Berlin Run Marathon.
"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