London's famous parks were invaded by more than 500 ultra keen runners who braved the winter chill to put down an early season marker at the increasingly popular 10k distance at the weekend.
First up was the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10K held on Saturday (6 January). The Race Organiser was the first promoter to establish monthly runs around the iconic QEOP after the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and races continue on the first Saturday every month. One of the features of this run is the winter and summer Grand Prix based on results achieved in a minimum of four races in each season.
Mark Boulton (East London Runners, 34:21) led 285 finishers round the three-lap waterside course with views of London's Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Centre and ArcelorMittal Orbit. Penelope Teoh-Shi (Kent AC, 39:19) was first woman and the final finisher recorded 1:30:17.
Sunday (7 January) saw action at Greenwich Park with The Race Organiser, and Richmond Park courtesy Nice-Work race promotion. There were 106 finishers in 1:19:40 at Greenwich and 109 in 1:14:42 at Richmond.
Greenwich Park is hilly and a tough three-lap challenge, as this writer can attest. However, the stunning setting, with panoramic views of the River Thames, more than compensates for the tough climbs. Charlie Fordham (41:25) and Angharad Smith (London City AC, 44:10) were the winners here and M50 master Francesco Riboldi (54:29) was the midpoint marker.
Meanwhile, Felix Allen (Hercules Wimbledon, 37:57) was swifter at scenic Richmond Park. Adrienne Baddeley (W35 Ranelagh Harriers, 44:04) headed the women's entries and Lucy Tobin (55:24) and Ian Nelson (M45, 55:34) disputed the halfway point in the pack.
The Richmond event had a 5k option and nearly half of the 72 finishers were running for Ealing Eagles RC. Unsurprisingly, the Eagles provided both race winners in Ewan Fryatt (18:21) and Melissah Gibson (20:54).
Image from QEOP 10K courtesy The Race Organiser.