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London Winter Run 10k – Freddie Cooke

I’m afraid this is not a race report. It is a run report. A run/walk report. A run/walk/take-a-selfie-in-front-of-something-winter-themed report.

While Spring is about to spring upon us in a few days, it was seasonably chilly willy. 1°C at 9ish. The warmest places around were the portapoos. And the armpits etc. The sun did come out. Then went back in. Such a tease.

The Winter Run course going past St Paul's cathedral

There were close to 20,000 people eventing. I don’t like using the word vibes. It is overused and originated from the word vibrations and how can vibrations be positive? Is a fart that causes ripples of vibrations a positive or negative vibe? Moving on, there were happy vibes. I bumped into lots of people and I was rarely the one apologising. I will always be in awe of the high spirits of people on a cold Sunday morning. I think I have discovered how to lift the unconquerable blah of an un-spritely spirit.

As there were reems of people walking, plodding, and intermittently running; it wasn’t the easiest course to navigate. You know people are really slow when I’m overtaking them. There were a few times getting stuck behind people putting the emphasis definitely more on fun than run. And good for them. We didn’t have any mishaps at all and everyone seemed of very humour.

I was running with Abi Thomson, who was very kind to guide me. She did her fastest 10k the previous week somewhere between 40 and 41 minutes. So, this was a bit of a step up for her. I have a low heart rate issue so was expecting to be even slower than the usual competitive pace of slow. We spent most of the way just chatting. It was very pleasant not to try/die. Important to remember how nice it is to run for the social aspect. It’s great to be getting faster and improving ourselves, but I think there is far more to the club. Like one that may or may not organise a Spring Social…

Moving on, again, we ran around the Strand a few times. It was delightful to pass Coutts, whom I’ve been a customer of for the best part of two decades. You know all the usual central London landmarks that I won’t drag you through. There was the other ringy dingy bong dong bell tower which wasn’t Big Ben, but that I found very jolly. Abi told me the name, but I forgot. It would be remiss of me to look up its name now. There was also a peculiar arrangement of music. With the ‘who let the dogs out’ at the start. We are dogs, really. Being let out of our pens. As one progressed, there was a brass band, two choirs, drummers (as always), acoustic guitar wielding singers. Finishing as it began, with the louder, ‘motivational’ tunes that we all know and love/tolerate. It’s almost as if they want people to go fast at the start and at the end! Surely, humans couldn’t be that manipulable?

Freddie and Abi showing off their medals.

There were creatures of the cold lining the London streets. Not sure why the penguins were dancing for us, given we’re eating all their fish. Nor the polar bears, as their home is melting by the day. The yetis had been plucked from the fantasy land to thank us for throwing seals at them (this is an incredibly niche reference to a game from the 2000s called Yeti Sport where you would hit a seal as far as possible as the yeti with its club).

A selfie of Giles with some runners dressed as snowmen or yetis

I should probably mention that this was an event that was hosted by probably a company to raise money for Cancer Research. It was £40 a ticket with ~20,000 people, equalling 20,000 x 40 = £800,000. This was before adding up the additional funds that people were encouraged to raise.

Lessons learnt:

1. Don’t ever drink coconut water

2. Make sure to put sufficient Baileys as pre-run prep

3. Especially if you have a body built for staying in bed all day, running socially can still be very enjoyable. It is absolutely definitely not a coincidence that run rhymes with fun

I also just wanted to give a little scream out to Abi Thompson, who phlegmatically dealt with my petulant vacillating over whether I wanted to do the run or not. Saturday morning it was a definite no. 5pm it was a maybe. 8pm it was a yes please.

And now I am very pleased that I did it

Well done to everyone who…ran


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