A week ago I got up early for my first race abroad. But to be fair, I didn’t come to London just for this race, I already happened to be in London for a few weeks and really wanted to run this race.
However, by the time I found out about the race the entry had already closed. Luckily for me Lornah Sports UK was giving two entry tickets away in a competition and even luckier for me: I won! So, thanks to Lornah Sports UK I got to get up really early on September 6th to go to Kew Gardens. Which isn’t actually as easy as it sounds on a Sunday morning at 6:45 AM. But luckily I got one of the first buses and tubes and I arrived at 7:30 AM at Kew Gardens to pick up my race pack. And after warming up in the sunshine (it was only around 5 degrees Celsius that morning), I handed over my baggage (and with that my sweater which was at least keeping me a little bit warm).
I made my way to the start and luckily it didn’t take too long before the 2nd wave of the 10k could start at 9:35 AM. The first part of the course goes through Kew Gardens and was sometimes a bit crowded with that many runners on a not too wide path, but lovely to run through. After a few kilometers you leave Kew Gardens and continue along the Thames Path. You have a really nice view over the Thames, but this path isn’t closed off during the race, which means you’ll still be passed by cyclists while racing. Luckily, this didn’t really cause any problems other than some cyclist annoyingly ringing their bells at you. The last part of the race takes you through the Old Deer Park. The last part of the race went zigzag over the grass field, which made it seem as if the race organizers needed to fit in some extra meters in order to make it a full 10k. But luckily it was very nice and sunny and thus the grass was dry.
During the race I knew it was going pretty well and I was hoping to beat my PB by a minute if that was possible, but above all I just wanted to have a nice race. After finishing I looked at my phone and it seemed like I had a 4 minute PB, but I wasn’t sure and I thought the GPS on my phone might have made a mistake. But it turns out that I finished in 77:02! Which means I was 6 minutes faster than my 10k in May which took me 83:03! I have never run this fast before and I was very surprised!
But when I crossed the finish line I didn’t get a medal! They had ran out of 10k medals by the time I crossed the finish line and there were still around a 100 people behind me. I talked to the assistent race director later and she explained that apparently around 300 people who were meant to run the half marathon, which started after the 10k, had run the 10k and had thus gotten medals which were not meant for them. But they have ensured me that they will send me a medal in a few weeks, so I’ll still get one luckily. However, I did manage to get my hands on a cool race t-shirt!
After the race I went to the Lornah Sports tent where I got some new Lornah running kit: a Farah t-shirt and Aimina running tight. And I got a Guide to Running by Nell McAndrew, signed by herself, which I had also won!
I had a fantastic race day, even though I did not get to wear my medal that day, and the lovely weather was an added bonus! Would I run this race again? Absolutely! The race marshals and the course were great. Will I be running next year? I’m not sure, because of my job it’s hard to say where I’ll be in a years time and if I’ll have the time, but if I do I certainly would!