After last week’s surprisingly fast 10K, I was jazzed to run another 10K. The Mornington Chasers, a local UK running team, sponsor a series of 10K races in Regent’s Park, and their December race has sat on my calendar for awhile. I decided to pull the trigger and register, with the goal of continuing to chip away at my 10K time. A cursory review of the course shows that it seems flat and the weather looks like it will be decent, so I registered.
Price: 19 GBP/$24.48 A great deal for a 10K! Price: A
Website: All the info I needed, and by that, I mean that I got a medal. A day or so before the race I received an email with the start location and some more details, which answered all of my questions.
Publicity: I found the race listed on several race sites
Transportation to race: Underground and then a walk/jog to the start–it worked out perfectly!
Enjoying the view inside the park! The swans were sleeping, and I don’t blame them.
Weather: Low 40s, relatively clear, and a bit windy. I’m glad I brought my winter coat, because I desperately needed it before the race!
Time: 9:00am…while I wish it was a bit later, but oh well, it’s my choice to wake up early on the weekend. I woke up at 6:30am, drank coffee and unsuccessfully tried to complete my morning ritual. I left my apartment at 7:30am and picked up my race bib shortly after 8:15am. Unfortunately, I then had to kill time outside, in the cold, before the race started. This was actually the only negative point in the morning, where I questioned all of my life choices. I wish there had been an indoor place where we could hang out prior to the race. I should note that the last time I really dealt with pre-race cold was March 2018, and the NYC Half Marathon. In Israel, instead of freezing cold start lines I usually have to wake up stupid early for a 6:15am-6:30am start time…both of these are terrible!
Start/finish area: Basic, with the announcer stand and water and snacks for after the race. As we lined up at the start, a woman turned to me and said, “We’re mad, aren’t we?” for braving the cold on a Sunday morning, when we could have stayed in bed. I wholeheartedly agreed…but the camaraderie made me feel better, going into the race.
Packet pick-up: Packet pick-up was only held on the day of the race. It was a quick process with no line, and the race website listed the exact address.
Race shirt: I was not asked to provide my shirt size during registration. It seems that many races in London do not include a shirt in their registration fee. No complaints here.
What I wore: Leggings, t-shirt, new zip up (thin) sweatshirt. I was so cold that I ended up keeping my fingerless gloves and running with them for the entire race. I regretted not bringing ear warmers/a buff, but during and after the race I didn’t need them.
Bag drop: Available and free! I checked my coat and was easily able to retrieve it after the race Bag check: A+
Course: The course is three loops in Regent’s Park, including running by the London Zoo. The course was a bit crowded at the beginning, but it thinned out pretty quickly, and there was no jostling. While the course is generally flat, there are some slight rolling bits. These rolling bits have nothing on Central Park, but they did slowly take their toll. The course did allow runners a peek into the London Zoo, but only the camels felt like braving the cold. There was a 26 second difference between my fastest mile (5) and my slowest (4). I ran the odd miles a bit faster than the evens, due to the hills. I didn’t have much of a sprint at the end, but I ran the entire race at a pretty hard effort.
After the race I needed a minute to catch my breath…and I was pleased to see on my Garmin that I ran a 52:23! The race results did me one better, saying that I completed the distance in 52:18! That’s a 30 second improvement on a course that ran longer (6.21mi according to my watch…just too short for the Strava 10K challenge, vs. 6.18mi last week), and on a more difficult course. I consider this a success!
Because the course was a loop and we crossed the finish line twice prior to actually finishing, the race also provided loop times. It turns out that my third loop was my fastest! This is thanks to my fast mile 5 and the sub8 .2mi that I managed to bang out at the end.
Yay for extra data!
Water stations: One just past the start/3.34K/6.67K mark. I didn’t use it, partly because I didn’t want to slow down, partly because I was afraid that if I accidentally spilled water on myself, that I would return to my pre-race freezing state.
Bathrooms: Indoor bathrooms by the registration area, and that’s it…maybe there were other public bathrooms in the park? Anyway, I didn’t need them.
Pictures: To come (I think), but I’m not expecting any model-worthy pictures like at the Battersea Park 10K…
Medal: The medal is very cute, and one of the reasons I wanted to run the race. However, since this is a 10K series (a 10K the first Sunday of the month), it looks like the medal doesn’t change…that may be enough to convince some people to not participate more than once. As for me, I have another race that day in January (where I don’t need to take the underground to the start), so my only option to return is in February. We’ll see…if I think I can beat my current 10K time, I may return.
Another very well-organized race! My only complaint is having to deal with the cold before the race. The course was good, there was plenty of space, I set a new post-2017 PR, and got a cute medal. What more can I ask for?