runABC South news writer, Alan Newman, joined more than 13,000 runners for the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run yesterday (Sunday 5 February) and this is his report from the very heart of the race that can justifiably claim to be Britain's coolest 10k.
Britain's Coolest Ever 10K?
The winter theme begins with runners lining up in waves behind smiling snowmen and being covered in fake snow while being marshalled into position in front of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. After a brief warm up led by Nuffield Health personal trainers we were off with a whoosh of CO2 from two dry ice cannons, leaving us in no doubt this was a winter run!
The route was spectacular with close-up views of Nelson's Column, Royal Courts of Justice, London Stock Exchange, St Paul's Cathedral and Horse Guards Parade but it was the wintry characters, bands and even a choir in full voice that made this event so memorable.
Although the snow was artificial and in other fake news from Westminster the snowmen, huskies, penguins, St. Bernards and Polar bears were actually volunteers in mascot outfits there was a genuinely warm atmosphere generated, exemplified by the energetic Skins compression clothing team who would pace any runner who was flagging in the closing stages.
My personal finish line Polar bear hug was administered by 63-year-old serial volunteer, Dave, who shared my age but not my desire to compete. However, his contribution was an essential part of the success of this venture that hopes to have raised £750,000 for Cancer Research UK.
The slick organisation by the highly experienced Human Race events team started with the smooth bag drop and ended with almost instant results. Chip timing ensured an accurate record of all finishers and there were some impressive stats as more than 100 runners went below 40 minutes.
The top three men were Blake Vivian (St Albans Striders, 33:45), Chris Xenos (33:52) and Italian international, Michele Bucci (Nuffield Health (34:11). On the distaff side the leaders were Angela Douglas (37:06), Ashley Berry (Milton Keynes, 37:47) and Claire Chapman (W45, 37:51).
This correspondent's race role was to act as bag man and escort to his partner, Sue James, who headed the W65 category (53:42), while taking in the sights and sounds for this report. The morning ended for us with a well earned coffee and bacon sarny back at Trafalgar Square after witnessing a bonus parade of Horse Guards at … Horse Guards Parade!
Full results and other details at the Winter Run website.