If I were The Overlord: Queen of the World, I would insist that every single race included disco tunnels, fairy lights, sexy cheering boys and lashings of gin. Someone at Nike HQ must have been making notes in my brain, because We Own The Night didn’t miss a trick.
Had it not been for the pre-race fun on Twitter and Instagram, admittedly the shitty weather might have persuaded me to stay in bed. But the runner girls of London were in an excitable mood. Having spent the day busily swapping race kit photos and chattering away online, I was thoroughly overexcited by the time I hit the park. As you can see by my race attire, I was ready for some serious running.
Despite the crappy weather the race village was laid out like a mini festival and it looked ace. After dropping my bag off and popping into the hospitality tent to catch up with my friends, I got involved with the warm-up, taken by the lovely Geoff Bagshaw from Equinox. Geoff is an excellent trainer, the sweetest man alive, and the perfect choice to lead the masses.
Although many of my girlfriends were taking part, I really wanted to just enjoy the night and not beast myself, so I chose my run buddies carefully. I was delighted to run with my friend Ruth Hooper, an old school Run Dem Crew girlfriend who has since relocated to Amsterdam to do cool things for Nike women, and my gorgeous lady friend Bangs.
We were lucky enough to sneak up to the front, and so cheered on by the dulcet tones of our MC the inimitable Charlie Dark, we set off. As with almost every race I’ve ever done, it’s impossible not to get sucked in and start too fast, which we did. But within five minutes of running, it was obvious this was basically my dream race, sent down from the heavens on unicorn horseback and served up on a glimmering bed of disco joy.
I used to live right by Victoria Park and did all my first marathon training around that little patch of green, but for one night only the park had undergone a glittering transformation. Concrete paths were replaced by illuminated disco tunnels (heaven), ginormous light up KM markers, and woods of glowing fluorescent mushrooms beneath a thousand twinkling stars.
Ordinarily I’m not wild about the concept of gender specific activities, but I get it now. There was an electric atmosphere of female solidarity throughout the night. It felt like all 10,000 runners were in it together as we ran through the magical disco wonderland.
Although the disco tunnels were arguably the most exciting thing I’ve ever had the pleasure to run through in my entire life, the best part of the race was definitely at 7K. The sexy boys from Run Dem Crew were out in full force to support their girls, and they did them proud. If you ever need a vocal pick me up, enter a race that includes an RDC cheer section. You could hear their supportive cheers echoing through the park for miles; those boys really know how to make a girl feel like pulling up her sequin hotpants and running for the stars.
Next up we ran past the discolicious Josey Rebelle who had her own private party booth and stopped off for a quick dance, before hot-footing it to the finish line. After two laps of the park which seemed to glide by in a sea of twinkly lights, we ran holding hands across the finish line to the cheering crowds, and I felt like Chaka Khan beneath a million twinkling disco stars in Studio 54 heaven.
After crossing the finish line we were handed our Alex Monroe finisher’s necklace, and headed off to the hospitality tent, where they fed us delicious wholefood, popcorn and lashings of gin. I then proceeded to get plastered in the company of sexy friends, and even got to meet the marathon champion of the world, the mighty Paula Radcliffe.
But before the close of the night, I had one more run to do. At about 10pm I realised, pissed as a fart, that I had forgotten to pick up my bag. The last leftover bag in the tent, I raced across the park and was greeted by my final finish line of the day, three little bag guys cheering me on so they could close the tent and go home. Luckily they didn’t seem remotely bothered about having to wait for an hour in the freezing cold for me to hurry up and collect my bag. Sorry dudes. You made my night.
The event was impeccably organised, everything looked beautiful, and I loved the course. I can’t fault We Own The Night; it was a perfectly organised slice of disco sex heaven. If I were Queen of the World, I would insist that all races were exactly like it and every week we’d all be forced to have a huge disco run with hugs and cheers and vats of gin. Minus the night bus home in gold sequin hotpants; that was a bit dodgy.