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PBs galore on the capital new course: Bupa London 10k review


Last time I ran the Bupa London 10k in 2013, I was loved the atmosphere but was frustrated by the congestion on the course and how it hindered my ability to run at my own pace. Other people I had spoken to said the same and bemoaned the fact such a well-organised, high profile event wasn’t a PB course. That all changed this year with a new and improved route and better wave spacing of the 12,000 participants at the start. A glance at the results show there were PBs galore…

On the last Bank Holiday Monday in May, so this year’s was 25th May.BUPA STARTThe race starts on The Mall (picture Thomas Lovelock/Bupa)

As in previous years, the race begins in The Mall but instead of going up and back along the Embankment via Leadenhall Market, this time it went out and back along The Strand, snaking around Bank and St Paul’s Cathedral, with the final 1k along Birdcage Walk to finish in front of Buckingham Palace. Aside from the final 1k, this meant it didn’t follow any of the London Marathon route, which made it a refreshing change for those who had just run the 26.2 mile event. There are a few bends to contend with around the half way mark but the out and back sections along The Strand are straight and flat with plenty of spectators for support.

The Race Village in Green Park has changing tents, portable toilets (with long queues but they did move swiftly) and plenty of water available thanks to sponsors Buxton Water (who also had drink stations at the 3k and 7k points on the course). As with the London Marathon, baggage could only be stored using the pre-provided drawstring plastic bags. The bag drop and collection was efficiently run by friendly volunteers. The start along The Mall is beside St James’s Park providing a suitable area for a short warm up while nearby Hyde Park is a scenic route for a longer warm down (or the post race party continues in Green Park for those who just want to soak up the atmosphere).bupa wave12,000 runners are set off in waves according to predicted pace (picture Bob Martin/Bupa)

The route is now flat and fast passing many of London’s landmarks with cheering crowds along the way. They might not be as loud and vocal as in the marathon but bands on the route also add to the atmosphere and sense that you’re part of a big event. It feels like a race where everyone is welcome with elite athletes at the front followed by club and charity runners and those doing their first 10k. Like the last time I entered in 2013, I put my predicted time as 39 minutes. That year I was placed in red wave B and had difficulty running anywhere near 39 minute pace for the first two miles as the course was so congested with many slower runners in front. This year, with the same predicted time, I was placed in red zone A and had a much better experience. The race flowed and I had pace to run in with athletes of a similar space around me. There was none of the bottlenecks or jostling to overtake that I’d experienced two years before.

Whilst I found the course less congested this year, it’s still a race of 12,000 people so that may not have been the same for everyone - particularly if you under or over estimated your finishing time and as a result were placed in a wave that didn't match your pace. It's best to be honest and realistic when you enter to ensure you start in the right place. Some of the waves are moved to the start line quite early which may mean you’re on your feet for a while before the gun goes.

A bumper goody bag containing a medal, T-shirt (you can chose your size from XS-L), chocolate bar, Robinson’s squash, Lucozade, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner samples and a DVD documentary about juicing.charity runnersThe race is for elite athletes and fun runners alike (picture: Thomas Lovelock/Bupa)

The new course is suitable for PB seekers while the race atmosphere makes it a great one for first timers and fun runners to enjoy. Giving reserved entries to running clubs (which is how I got my place) and having a team competition with prize money available adds to the competitive element and makes it a team event as well as an individual pursuit for a time. If you want a taste of the London Marathon experience without the pain and dedication that’s needed to train and race 26.2 miles then this race is for you.

Race reviewed by Lucy Waterlow Monday, 25th May 2015, finishing time 38.55

Visit https://www.london10000.co.uk/ for more information