Monday, October 17, 2005

Run London Nike 10km run - Eye of the Tiger!!

Today, we would become running gods - well, at least that was the plan!

This was the Nike Run London 10km fun run event, which a group of us had been in training for over the past 8 weeks. Of varied abilities and levels of motivation, our running team of Andy, Shane W, Andy's mate Ben, Andy's workmate Jessica, and myself, had been attending a 5km Nike-organised training run every Wednesday after work around Regents Park (followed by a warm-down at a local pub), with a few of us sneaking in a few other runs in between. Karen W., the other one of our friends registered for the race preferred to train in private.

Together we had been rallying around the cry of 'Eye of the Tiger', the nominated theme song for the event (sung by 80's rock group Survivor). This wasn't just any other fun run. It was all about the 'Eye of the Fucking Tiger!!' Whenever we needed a pick me up, the call would go out - 'Eye of the Tiger..!!' - the song would always get you home..

We arrived at the race, after nowhere near enough sleep following drinks at the London leg of my 10 year School Reunion in a pub at Piccadilly the night before - and to make matters worse for my lack of preparation over the last two weeks, I'd been out at the pub for one reason or another for the previous two nights before that, and we'd spent last weekend eating and drinking our way around Paris - not good... I felt like crap, and as much as I was talking up my prospects to the rest of the 'Tigers' running team, things weren't looking good.

We warmed up and stretched together and left behind our outer layers with the support team before heading over to the start line in our provided bright RED Nike race shirts. Of course, with the testosterone flowing we pushed through to the front of our phase, which was the first of three phases at our venue - Hyde Park - while there were another two venues doing the same thing over the course of the morning.

As we waitted for the clock to tick down to start time, who else but Lord Sebastian Coe gets up onto the starting stage right next to me, to give a motivational pre-race pep talk to the crowd, and then give the countdown and blow the horn for the start of the run. Away we went!!!

Our phase was led out by English Marathon champion Paula Radcliffe who tore off at a cracking pace, with only our running team member Ben anywhere near her. After the race he said he only stayed with her and her running partners for the first 500m, at which time he decided it was just a rediculous pace and dropped back to his normal speed.

I took off with only one goal, to get under my recent best for 10km of 42:00. I had Shane W. just in front of me at the start and I was trying to keep him in sight, and to my surprise after my preparation of boozing, I had stayed on my target time for the first 5km (20:00).. but that was when it began to fall apart. By the 7km mark I had slowed to the point of wanting to stop, I was out of stride, and felt as if I was about to be overtaken by Andy P. at any moment (this would have been a disaster!). By the 8km mark, I had sped back up, but my best time was all but gone as I approached the 9km mark and the final turn before the long haul up a slight incline from Hyde Park Corner, along the South Carriage Drive to the finish just inside the park adjacent to Knightsbridge. It was over.

My finish was less than spectacular. I hardly sprinted to the finish, and if you watch the video of me crossing the line (link below - look for green shorts & sunglasses), you can almost see my disapointment through the grainy video as I stop my watch as I stop right on the finish line. I had had enough.

Here are the links to the finishing video's of our running team. All you need to do is click on the name, and a window should open on the Run London website with the persons time, their finishing placing, and a short video of the time they crossed the line - some are easy to pick out, others are less obvious:

Shane S.
Andy P.
Karen W.
Shane W.
Ben H.

As you can see on each of our finishing pages, the times weren't all that bad - out of the group I was the only one who didn't improve their time, or hit their goal for the run.. Shane W. came in at a very quick 39:10, Andy P. got a 47:49 which was well-deserved, Karen W. got in under an hour which she was very very happy with, Andy's mate Ben did a cracking 36 minutes, and me - a pityful 43:40 - very disapointed..

Carly gets a shot of me as I approach the line (you can see me, I have the whitest legs in the race!); and me after i've crossed the line

Andy & Ben enjoying a John Smith's post-race - Get in!!!

The picnic in Hyde Park for the non-runners/support team, complete with champagne and food

Running Gods in Red Nike Shirts
(left) Shane & Karen; Karen, Andy, Shane W., Spargo, & Ben

But, the day was not over yet - it was off to the pub!!! We'd picked out a boozer in Mayfair which had a good menu to fill us up, and Ales on tap to try and drown out our pain with. The pictures below say it all - it got messy, but it didn't matter..

Andy summed up the day as he does best, with a simply cry of 'av it!!!

We had become running gods - just ask us!!

Workman & Payne; Karen, Workman, and Carly

Karen, me, & Renee W; Jess & Andy P.

Karen and Andy head home from the pub



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