Trek and Run were supported during this event by;
First up, hereâ€™s a short video we shot during the event, to give you an idea of the course and atmosphere.
By Laura Kimberley:
On Sunday 31stÂ January over 12,000 people assembled in Trafalgar Square for theÂ LondonÂ WinterÂ RunÂ 10k. This is the second year of the Winter Run series organised by Cancer Research.
We had been previously given a start time of 10:18amÂ and expected to be standing around for a long while considering that the first wave set of at 9:30 however when we arrived at the start line it became apparent that all of the runners were herded into the same pen and then a row ofÂ SnowmenÂ in a chain barricaded off where they wanted each new wave to start. This made the allocated start times meaningless and it became more of a first come, first served kind of operation. This made it possible for me and Dave to start in the second wave at about 9.40 which was great to not have to stand around for so long; however I do feel like we shouldnâ€™t have been given wave times if this was how they were going to do it. If Iâ€™d arrived later (ready for my supposed actual start time) Iâ€™d have been pretty annoyed to find out I could have set off much earlier.
The route was lovely. The road closures made it anÂ absoluteÂ dream. I love London and I love exploring the city but traffic is notorious and busy roads combined with heavy pedestrian foot traffic often spoil my wanderings so to be able to run freely around central London without the fear of being barged, beeped at or run over was bliss. We passed landmarks such as Bank of England, St Pauls Cathedral and finished on Whitehall just along from Buckingham Palace. There were a few little uphill buts but nothing too steep and the light rain on the day made it perfect running weatherÂ and despite the large number of race participants I never felt like the route was too packed.
Along the route there were two Snow Zones which consisted of a snowman with a giant water pistol/snow cannon thing firing flakes up into the air. It was actually pretty realistic as they didnâ€™t go overboard with the snow so you really could imagine that it was snowingâ€¦Â for about 20 seconds. There was a drinks station halfway at Guildhall Yard where volunteers dressed a penguins gave out bottled water and at the finish line yet more volunteers (dressed as polar bears this time) rewarded you with a hug for your efforts and an absolutelyÂ gorgeous medal. This medal is truly something special; itâ€™s silver and white with snowflakes and a little polar bear on it with a long blue ribbon and I honestly feel like itâ€™s something that Elsa would have been proud of had she forged it in her ice palace in the mountains.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this event and would recommend it to anyone who loves London and would appreciate the chance to run through it unobstructed. The volunteers are fab, the supporters were great and itâ€™s a really good bit of fun. I wouldnâ€™t describe myself as a serious runner and my main goal is to try and enjoy myself which is something I definitely managed to do at the London Winter 10k. With the help of my lovely fiancÃ© I even managed a PB!
By Dave Sherman:
London truly is an awesome city to run in. Of course, this sentiment isÂ often echoed by run commuters and city workers who run in their lunch breaksÂ and itâ€™sÂ typicallyÂ followed by the statement â€œand you can do it for free!â€, but there really is somethingÂ quite surrealÂ about runningÂ through such aÂ big andÂ busy city on closed roadsÂ and eventsÂ like the â€˜London Winter Runâ€™Â create a brilliantÂ and amazingÂ opportunity to do just thatÂ while at the same time raising huge amounts of money for Cancer Research UK. Last year was the first ever London Winter RunÂ and Iâ€™ll admit Iâ€™d heard mixed reviews about this inaugural event with complaints about the previous route, but withÂ a new route andÂ over 12,000 people taking part in its secondÂ runningÂ itâ€™s clear this is an event which willÂ continue to grow in popularity.
With an event village and bag drop situated at the foot of Nelsonâ€™s Column youâ€™re heading pastÂ the main tourist sitesÂ before the race has even begun, and as we waited by the race start just outside Trafalgar Square there was an awesome buzz in the air as people took their obligatory pre-run selfiesÂ andÂ jumpedÂ or joggedÂ on the spot warming themselves up. As the race is held at the end of January it wasnâ€™t quite as cold as it had been earlier in the season, but there was still a chill in the air and Iâ€™ll admit IÂ wasÂ partlyÂ looking forward to seeing the sightsÂ and running through theÂ closed roads, but also looking forward toÂ running so I couldÂ warm up!
After a short waitÂ and a quick, crammed warm-up,Â we were offÂ and our sight-seeing trip though London beganâ€¦Â Â Straight away we passed through theÂ top of Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery on our left and Nelsonâ€™s Column on our right, and before long we wereÂ running through the theatre districtÂ andÂ along the StrandÂ pastÂ the Adelphi Theatre (currently showing â€˜Kinky Bootsâ€™) and Savoy Theatre (â€˜Guys and Dollsâ€™). After passingÂ through Holborn andÂ Chancery Lane we headed into the financial district pastÂ the Bank of America, through theÂ 5kÂ halfwayÂ water stopÂ at Guildhall,Â andÂ alongside the Bank of England. Then after a short loop around St. Paulâ€™s Cathedral we headed back towards Holborn,Â then the Strand and back towards Trafalgar Square. As we reached Nelsonâ€™s Column a slight divert took us along Whitehall, past the Horse Guards at the Barracks, and through the finish lineÂ â€“Â LondonÂ sightseeing tour done!
Except thatâ€™s not quite trueâ€¦ sure you can spend a race like this looking out for theÂ typicalÂ tourist traps we all knowÂ and love, but whatâ€™s even more impressive (and what Iâ€™ve tried to highlight in my race video) is just how many amazing historical buildings youâ€™ll see on a route like this if you take the time toÂ enjoyÂ your surroundings. For example;Â the route also passedÂ â€˜Bush Houseâ€™Â (the former HQ of BBC World Service Radio),Â â€˜MaughanÂ Libraryâ€™ (the former HQ of the Public Record Office and now the main research library ofÂ Kingâ€™s College), â€˜Staple Innâ€™Â (a beautifulÂ tudorÂ building dating from 1585Â and the last surviving Inn of Chancery)Â and â€˜St Sepulchre-Without-Newgateâ€™Â (also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and referred to as â€˜the bells of Old Baileyâ€™ from the nursery rhyme â€˜Oranges and Lemonsâ€™)Â and while none of these names may sound familiar, they really are impressive buildings and the type of architecture which highlights just howÂ much historyÂ LondonÂ contains, not to mentionÂ how manyÂ beautifulÂ buildings areÂ crammed into such a small space.
Now Iâ€™ll admit part of me wasÂ concernedÂ about the â€˜Winter Runâ€™Â stylingÂ of the race as Iâ€™ve always found it quiteÂ cheesy when races use people in animal costumesÂ as it can make a race feel more like a kids fun-run, but for this event they were out in force and were actually doing more than just standing around looking creepy! At the start area Snowmen armed with snow-guns were shooting the crowd as they passed through to the starting pensÂ and acting as Snowman-chains to separate waves, and just after the halfway mark the penguinsÂ were offering high-5â€™s to runners as they reached the turn-aroundÂ point at the Bank of England. The snow-zone located outside the Royal Courts of Justice was also a nice quirky part of the race as although at first it appeared slightly lacklustre with only 4 snow cannons being used â€“ 2 on each side of a wide section of road, the snow/foam seemed to almost hang in the air creating a pretty cool effect (pun intended) as you passed through it!Â FinallyÂ a numberÂ of Polar Bears were on hand just past the finish line to offer their promised polar bear hugs, congratulate runners on completing the race and also to thank people for supporting the charity â€“ a really nice touch which was really appreciated.
Now Iâ€™ll admit that at Â£35 for entry this event will have mostÂ seasonedÂ runners exclaimingÂ â€œHow much?! You can find 10k events in <random city name> for less than a tenner!â€Â but I honestlyÂ feelÂ thisÂ price is a steal just for the opportunity to run through closed roads in an awesome part of London. Add to that the fact youâ€™re taking part in a really well organised eventÂ (Human Race have a great track record and they never disappoint!), you receive a brilliant medal at the end of the run as well an honest congratulations and hug from a polar bear, but most importantly youâ€™reÂ supporting a brilliant charity and letâ€™s face it,Â the more eventsÂ Cancer Research UK have runningÂ and the more support they receive to fund their research, theÂ faster theyâ€™llÂ discover a cure for cancer. The Cancer Research UK London Winter Run is an amazing event and one we hope to complete again withÂ an even bigger crowdÂ in 2017.
To find out more about Human Raceâ€™s Cancer Research UK Winter Run Series (including their Winter Runs in London, Liverpool and Manchester and Snowflake Runs in Southampton, Edinburgh, Plymouth and Stoke) visit:Â www.winterrunseries.co.uk