And so onto race three of three, the Vitality London 1000. As with the Westminster Mile yesterday I really enjoyed this last year so I came back for a second helping.
Starting on The Mall again, the course took us through Admiralty Arch past Trafalgar Square and out to St. Paul’s before returning via Whitehall/Downing Street along Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace. Iconic.
As with the Mile, the event ‘village’ was in Green Park so after meeting with some friends and dropping off my bag I made my way towards the start, only to get caught up in the massive queue of runners all of whom were trying to get onto The Mall.
Indeed, that would be my only criticism of the event. Once I did make it onto the road I then had another 30 minute wait before setting off. The winner, Mo Farah, had finished before I’d even started … although, maybe they felt it necessary to give him a head start after coming up against me in the Mile yesterday!!! Other than that the entire day went smoothly.
As with Sunday, the pollen proved to be an issue but once we got away from the park it was no longer a problem.
I have seen some runners complain about the bottlenecks in the early part of the race but I was quite grateful for these simply because they slowed me down, and prevented me from burning out too soon.
As stated, we ran through Admiralty Arch and past Trafalgar Square. The support here was fantastic, there was a real carnival atmosphere and I was thoroughly enjoying getting swept along in the moment.
After that first kilometre or so it was time to focus on the serious business of running. I had been tasked to run the first half at a certain pace and, I’m pleased to report, I managed it with time to spare.
Despite my busy weekend my body and legs responded well once more, at least for the first 5k, much to my surprise.
However, after that, I guess things began to take their toll on me, both in terms of sheer fatigue and the heat of the day. I had been challenged to go faster over that second 5k but I went the other way and slowed down, not massively so but enough, although on a cooler day and after a less hectic weekend I’m quietly confident I could have maintained my opening 5k pace.
I love running in London, and despite beginning to suffer a little I found my second wind once we got to the last couple of kilometres. The crowds were immense again, the atmosphere generated goosebumps on my goosebumps, and it reminded me why I put myself through all this running business … that run past the Houses of Parliament, up Birdcage Walk, turning towards Buckingham Palace – it was for moments like this, moments to savour and remember.
In the end, despite slowing towards the end, I still clocked my second fastest ever 10k which, everything considered this weekend, was absolutely fantastic. I had thrown everything I had into it, I can’t ask anything more of myself than that.