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Serpentine New Year’s Day 10K – January 1, 2020

Happy 2020! We are officially living in the future.


At least once a week, I’ve been perusing the local running calendars, in search of races. When I saw that the Serpentine Running Club was hosting a 10K in Hyde Park on January 1, I jumped at the chance to register. The race is close to my apartment, has a late morning start time, and I had 10 miles on the plan for today…Although Hyde Park is not as flat as Battersea Park, this seemed like a good opportunity to race another 10K and see where my speed and fitness are at. Plus, I’ve never run a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day race, so I can’t think of a better way to welcome the new year and decade!

Race Overview

Price: 20 GPB/$26…reasonable enough!

Website: Had most of the info I wanted…minus details about a medal!

Publicity: I found a Facebook page for the event, which stated that runners completing the 10K receive a medal and memento (one of the past years, the memento was a mug). Yay, swag!

Transportation to race: Warm-up jog

Weather: 43F and overcast. It was fine during the warm-up and race, but by the time I got home, my hands were freezing.

Time: 11:00am–amazing! I set my alarm for 8:30am. I was woken up from a dream where there was a giant moth infestation and I needed to give someone a pair of my shoes so that they could put blades on them and use the weaponized shoes to kill the moth queen, after which her gross offspring would automatically die. I decided I wanted to wake up on a slightly more peaceful note, so I snoozed my alarm for five minutes before waking up. I left the apartment around 10:15-10:20, and arrived at bib pick-up by 10:40am. Perfect timing!

Start/finish area: Small but got the job done! After the race there was water, and flapjacks–this is common in UK races. Flapjacks are not pancakes, as I assumed. They are dense, sweet granola bars. They are AMAZING. I took two (along with the drawstring bag that was the race giveaway…kinda underwhelming, I’d have rather had the mug from previous years!)…one was like a Bakewell tart and it was heaven. The other was good, but more plain.

Packet pick-up: Held the morning of the race. I rolled up, gave my name, and picked up my bib. Easy!

Race shirt: N/A

What I wore: leggings, long-sleeved shirt, and thin running sweatshirt. I thought the sweatshirt might be a bit much during the race, but it ended up working out great.

Bag drop: Available, but I didn’t use it.

Course: I woke up with a light hangover, but water and coffee fixed that pretty quickly. The night before, I accepted the fact that this was not going to be my best race, and that I would probably take things at an easier pace. I wasn’t paying attention at the start, and only started my watch just as I crossed over the second timing mat. My first mile reflected my laid-back approach, at 9:00. After that, I realized that I felt good, and started to naturally pick up the pace a bit. I passed the 5K mark in 26something, and realized that if I continued at my current clip, I’d actually run a good time! I continued to speed up, with my last mile clocking in at 7:42! I finished just at 6.20mi, at 51:54! After collecting my medal, I ran an extra .03 miles to have the distance count as a 10K according to Strava, and finished in 52:05–better than my 52:18 time in my last 10K race! I’m waiting for the official results, to see my official time.

This was a major lesson in mental game. If I’d taken the first mile a bit more seriously (even 15 seconds), I would have definitely run a sub-52 minute race. I almost completely gave up even before I crossed the start line!

As a note–there were some minor hills, but the race organizers were kind–we ran down the biggest incline in the race, and overall the course was mostly flat.

Water stations: There was one water station at a looped part of the course, meaning that runners passed it twice. Water was available in plastic cups, which is better than using bottles, but I prefer paper cups because they are easier to drink from while running. I took water the first time I passed the tables, but when I came to the table the second time around, I was in the zone, so I skipped it.

Bathrooms: I didn’t see any, but there are some in the park…that I didn’t need, for once!

Pictures: There were a few photographers on the course, and a pre-race email mentioned that the pictures will be available for purchase.

Medal: The medal is cute but pretty basic. The race day info is printed on a clear sticker affixed to the medal. I get it, I’m sure this keeps costs down and they use the same ribbon and medal for other races. Since this will probably be the only time I ever run this race, it’s fine by me.

In Conclusion

I’m bummed that I didn’t fight for a better time at the beginning of the race, but I am absolutely thrilled with my time, given that the course has lots of turns and isn’t completely flat. Project 10K is continuing to be a success!

The race was extremely well-organized, with very friendly volunteers, and was the perfect way to start 2020 off on the right foot!

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