Rhalou takes on the seventh annual Bupa 10K
Having heard great things about the race, I was delighted when adidas asked me to run the Bupa London 10K last weekend. The seventh edition of the central London event, it’s now a staple on the race calendar and has seen numerous celebrities tackle the six-mile route, including the mighty Mo Farah. Luckily Mo dropped out this year citing exhaustion post London Marathon debut, leaving the path clear for me to have a crack at first place (but 2,280th would also suffice).
Having yet to tackle the London Marathon, I was hoping the Bupa 10K would be the next best thing. A closet rockstar, nothing propels me across the finish line faster than a good cheer and with the same team as London behind the event, I was expecting some serious applause. Adidas kindly kitted me out for the day, including my very own personalised fluorescent yellow race vest, although mysteriously no one ever shouts my name out. I’m tempted to change it just for race day.
The spectators were certainly out in full force and it took me ages to find the hospitality tent, which was located slap bang in front of Queen Lizzie’s house. After chatting to my fellow adidas team runners Kerry, Miette, Becs and Charlie, I dropped my bag off with the royal guard and shuffled over to my starting pen. Only recently back from injury, I’m not ready to chase PBs, so I said goodbye to my speedy friends at the start line and prepared to run solo.
Starting on the mall, the route ran under the Admiralty Arch and along the embankment, before doubling back and along to Westminster Bridge, finishing in front of the palace. Everything went smoothly and despite the threat of rain, as soon as we started running the clouds parted and the sun came out to play.
I loved the route along the Thames and enjoyed running parallel to the returning elite runners by the river, but whoever called the Bupa 10K a PB course was fibbing. Although it was far from mountainous, the route had a few mini inclines that prevented the running field from going full pelt. Fortunately I’m one of the few weirdos who prefer rolling hills. Well-placed live music sections and water stations with hand-sized bottles also made the mini ascents more fun and I powered on through.
An exceptionally well organised event, my only criticism of the day wasn’t the race at all, but the mute crowds. Although the streets were lined with spectators, they hardly made a sound. It was rather unnerving sweating my little heart out while thousands of people stared blankly at me. If I were Queen and Buckingham Palace was my abode, I would enforce a law stating that the entire city must hit the streets and cheer their heads off on race day. Anyone who breaks the law would have to run the route themselves to learn the importance of positive reinforcement.
A post race Pimms in front of the palace softened the blow, plus an enormous goody bag that I spent all of Monday plowing through. I’ll definitely be signing up next year with a PB in mind. You lot better cheer me on or there will be trouble. I’ll be easy to spot, I’ll have ‘Queen’ on my race vest.