The Great City Race

That was something else!

5k around the streets of the City of London with over 6,500 others! The gathering point was the parade ground of the Honorary Artillery Company on the City Road. There was I with my company colleagues in our specially ordered shirts complete with logo. My number was proudly pinned to the front and my timing tag was attached to my shoe laces. Runners arrived in their corporate shirts..... Banks, Insurance companies, finance houses legal firms, tech companies and many others. Some we're taking this very seriously. Although there was an official warm up, some of the gazelle-like sub-15 minute types were already going through their paces well in advance of that.

Warming up in front of me was Paula Ratcliffe (Paula flamin' Ratcliffe!) and that bloke from BBC breakfast who does the crazy sports. He was to run blindfold with Paula as his guide (this was a charity run for treatable blindness). I suddenly had this crazy notion that he might slow her down enough so that I might be able to claim a surprise victory over the Goddess of the track, but no, it wasn't to be.

There were three starting groups. Under 20 minutes, under 27 minutes and everyone else. I am most definitely everyone else.... Start time was 7.15, but it took an age to get that many people through the start gate. My family was by the start line and I waved madly at them as I passed them to trigger the timing beam. Simultaneously, I hit the button on my Garmin. Six minutes per km would do, I told I myself, it's your first time so let's just get round in one piece. I went off like a rocket and through the first km in 5:27. Madness. But this is what I was warned about.... You just get pulled along. However I felt pretty comfortable and kept going.

Running amongst this many people is so very different to the open country roads of home. Here, you have to have your wits about you. People pull up unexpectedly or take the shortest route across a corner with no warning. It becomes a tactical battle. Find some space ahead and accelerate into it. Find someone running at a pace you're comfortable with and follow them.... Until you realise that they are going too fast and they suddenly fall behind you. 2k, 3k and 4k came and went. I was moving smoothly and breathing easily. There was an eerie silence about the whole thing. I don't wear headphones and all I could hear was breathing and the sound of rubber on Tarmac.

Suddenly ahead of me I could see a colleague in the same shirt as me. A better runner than me, no doubt, I decided to get as close to him as possible and he would draw me home. The final straight now. My colleague slowed significantly and I passed him! I was pouring it on now, 200m to go, pushing as hard as I could and then... My colleague came up alongside me and grabbed my hand. He pushed it in the air and the two of us crossed the line together! What an unbelievable finish!

A glance at the watch.... 30 minutes on the nose, but 5.32 km run! I can only assume that all that weaving added some distance. Anyhow, working it back, I went through 'Garmin 5km' in a PB equalling 28.34.

Back on the parade ground, everyone was presented with a goody bag, a finishers shirt and a medal. I have a medal! For running! Me! Absolutely incredible.....

I must say I was very nervous about the event. Having done it I would say it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I loved every second. I recommend it to all of you and I can't wait for next time....... Which happens to be in 10 days time in the Olympic anniversary 5 mile run at Stratford, East London.

Can't wait.

29 Replies

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  • Ha ha! Well done. You must be so thrilled and relieved. It's over, and breathe.....

    A medal too. You lucky get. I wanna medal!!!!

    Great time you did there, which is amazing given the size of the throng. Paula Radcliffe!!!!

  • Well done Rob - we had some colleagues in that today too and you beat a few of them with that time. I was in Finland so that's my excuse...

    Fantastic write up and I can feel how excited you were about it (after being so nervous last night!)... Brilliant stuff... just brilliant...

  • That sounds like an amazing experience for your first run with other people ! How exciting... Very well done, I suspect you will be signing up for others now !!!

  • 30mins for a 5k -- POOH!!!

    Just ignore me - I'm a cranky old man who can't run 5K in 30 minutes :)

    Sounds like a lot of fun though -- did you have to be a Corporate type to run??

  • Working for a 100-man company, I wouldn't exactly describe myself as a corporate type, but yes, entries were accepted from teams representing companies in and around the city.

  • Ha! Well done Rob! Knew you would love it. Sounds a fantastic experience and cracking time too!

  • Just got my official time. 30:04.

    Thank you Laura. Just over a year after starting C25K, I run a race over 5k in 30 minutes.

    This stuff works.

  • Totally stoked for you, that is a fantastic time. Saw all the runners all over Moorgate yesterday, I was feeling jelz cos I'd done the JP Morgan 5.6k the day before and after getting it done in 38:06 (a sub-40 miracle) I wanted to do it all again!

    Keep on running....

  • Wow, that sounds absolutely flipping marvellous....I'd love to be part of something like that.....and in such a historical city......gosh how I miss my home town of London......beautiful. Well done and congratulations on a fantastic achievement and time. Hip hip hooray!

  • ......oh and I want a medal too!!!

  • Knew you would be ok once you got to start line and what a fantastic time . 1st medal will always be special to you. You will possibly be nervous before all your future races but now you know you can do it . You'll be spending all your time googling future races

  • When you crack that first race so the running bug escapes and you are now on the treadmill of watching times etc. However it is a really exhilarating feeling for each new run, distance, event so go and enjoy. Well done on your first time - a great achievement.

  • That's fantastic rob , a first race , & what a time ! Congratulations , you should be so proud .

  • A fantastic post Rob! What a great first race and a super time too! You should feel proud of that. Well done you! X :-)

  • Fantastic post Rob, so glad you enjoyed it...and you got a medal :)

  • What a lovely post - and what an event. Sounds a lot of fun! Thank you for the exciting description and you must be so pleased with those timings. I told you that you would be fine - and you were! VERY WELL DONE :)

  • You were so right. Thank you. In fact I must have read everyone's kind comments a dozen times yesterday. All the fear just faded as I crossed the start line.

  • That's what is so very special about our blog site. Everyone is so pleased for others success! :) :) :)

  • Well done Rob - great post I felt I was finishing it with you. Should post a picture of your medal, brilliant achievement, PB and Paula too - absolutely superb

  • I might just do that. A medal for finishing 4,233rd. Can you imagine what I'd have received if I had actually won!

  • Fantastic many many congratulations on a great time and a wonderful report, sounds like you will be entering many more events in the future :)

  • Yee-ahhh Rob ! Brilliant post , felt as if I was there re-living every minute . This is just the first of so many , congratulations on your time too , pity we cant see the photos :-) xxx

  • Very well done, Rob!

    "Having done it I would say it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I loved every second."

    This bit of your post really made me smile. It's so great to read of others' achievements and joy here.

  • Fantastic! Well done, you. I am so pleased you had a great time. Your blog is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it and good luck with the next run!

  • Fantastic! Well done, you. I am so pleased you had a great time. Your blog is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it and good luck with the next run!

  • Fantastic! Well done, you. I am so pleased you had a great time. Your blog is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it and good luck with the next run!

  • Fantastic! Well done, you. I am so pleased you had a great time. Your blog is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it and good luck with the next run!

  • Fantastic! Well done, you. I am so pleased you had a great time. Your blog is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it and good luck with the next run!

  • Fantastic! Well done, you. I am so pleased you had a great time. Your blog is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it and good luck with the next run!

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