I’ve long thought that 10 Milers are a great distance, and one that I look forward to when I see on my training plan. Long enough that I don’t have to run FAST, but short enough that it’s over quite quickly.
In the US there seem to be quite a few prestigious 10 mile races (the Cherry Blossom 10 miler has long been on my bucket list) but here in the UK, 10 mile races seem to be an anomaly.
Until the London 10 Mile race came along last year. Looping around Richmond Park (it really should be called the Richmond 10 miler!), this race is one of the friendliest ones I’ve ever taken part in, and free race photos!
Race morning can be a bit stressful, especially if you are like me and haven’t pre-booked parking and therefore have to dump your car on a single yellow line somewhere near the park. Unfortunately, because the park was closed to cars (awesome for runners), they had shut a lot of the car parks, meaning that the surrounding roads were really busy. It took me 45 minutes to walk from my car to the race village, and it’s a 35 minute walk at least from the train station.
However, once we arrived in the event village, there was a short queue for the loos and bag drop. There were fewer runners than I thought there might be, not sure whether this was because there were a number of other races on that weekend or due to the price (at £44 we thought it was quite steep). It did mean that there was always space on the course and I never felt boxed in by other runners.
There were a couple of waves of runners which helped stagger us as we crossed the start line…and headed straight up a hill. The course is definitely undulating, with some hills that had some of us swearing under our breath.
Sarah and I decided to just run together, and aim to finish in sub 1.40 (under 10 min miles), we were both feeling a little out of shape and had planned to use the race as a catch up. However, we were comfortably running sub 9 min miles and started to discuss trying to get a sub 1.30 without pushing it too much! Matthew, Sarah’s fiance, was right at the front, and we calculated that when we had covered 7 miles, he was already finished! He ended up coming in second place!!
There were three water stations along the way, however we didn’t find it helpful that two were positioned at the bottom of hills – then we were trying to run steadily, drink water and push uphill. I think I would have preferred them after the hill as a mini reward!
We loved the little facts about Richmond Park dotted around the course, and the volunteers dressed up as Henry VIII, squirrels and the tree surgeons perched in the tree on one particularly gruelling hill! Top marks for effort! And aside from a rather premature 2 mile marker, all the miles were very accurate.
Sarah and I finished in 1.26.34 which we were pretty pleased with. We actually negative split the course which I never do, maybe I’m finally learning. Although it’s a little scary that I’m going to have to run significantly faster than that for 26.2 miles in September, it was a confidence boost to run sub 9 minute miles easily as I thought I was in worse shape than that!
We really appreciated the wide, closed roads that were well signposted – it was very different to other races I’ve done in Richmond Park! And the post- race party atmosphere was awesome, with live music, plenty of exciting food stands and a Pimms/Champagne tent that we made a bee line for after finishing. Obviously it helped that it was warm outside, but everyone seemed to be sticking around to celebrate at the end of the run.
Overall, I thought this race had a lovely ‘local race’ feel with an awesome vibe, however we just thought it was a little overpriced. I think £30 would have been a better price point for it.
Did you run in the London 10 Mile? What did you think of it?
Have you ever run a 10 miler?
I was kindly given a bib for this race by the organisers, but all opinions (and muttered swear words) are my own.