Trek and Run were supported during this event by;
Race Photography by Wildman Media
Dave – I was looking for a couple of warm up races for the Marathon des Sables, just to tune up my fitness, and since this one was in hilly Greenwich Park and had the word ‘Tough’ in it’s title, I thought, yes, this sounds like it can be one of them!
It was a stunning day, just right, sunny, not much wind and quite cool, perfect spring running weather. The Fix Events race HQ was beside the bandstand, just near the Observatory, and it was here that we picked up our Bib numbers and dropped off our bags, both of which were very quick and easy processes.
There was a decent sized field of runners, split between the 5k, 10k and 15k distances on offer.
We all started at the same time, it was easy enough to see who you was racing against though as each distance had a different colour on the bib, and as we turned corners, of which there were many, you could look in front or back and see what the situation was.
I ran the 10k and this was 2 laps of the park. As always a race is as easy or hard as you want to make it and I chose to run this one flat out, so it was a really tough test with plenty of hills to cope with, including 2 killers at about the 2 and 4.5km marks. On the second lap I was nearly sick a couple of times, although you wouldn’t tell it from the race photos (the photographers were placed at parts of the course that were pretty flat!)…
The route was either on closed to traffic road or well made footpath and as you might expect for a London park, was very scenic. Huge trees, green fields, grand old buildings and the London skyline appearing at times. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was really happy to bag 3rd place; I wasn’t fast, just over 40 minutes, which is 2 minutes off my personal best time, but on this course I expected that.
Afterwards I feasted on free Cliff bars and water and after the last of the runners had finished I said goodbye to my team-mates and started to run into central London. I had another 10k run the next morning in Hyde Park – a great London double header if ever there was one! – and I was staying at the Thistle Hotel in Bloomsbury for the night. It was only about 6 miles away and the route there from Greenwich is amazing, leading away from the Observatory, past the Cutty Sark and the statue of Peter the Great, then along the Thames Path and across Tower Bridge…
…before passing the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Theatre District and heading straight into Bloomsbury.
I checked into the Thistle Hotel, which was where E.M Forster wrote parts of ‘A Room With A View’…
…and then walked 5 minutes around the corner to the British Museum. What a brilliant day in London it was!
Laura - When I was first asked if I wanted to take part in the Greenwich Tough 10k event I cast my mind back about 2 years to when I took on the 5k with a friend. I was brand new to running then and it took me about 48 minutes to complete one 5k lap during which I walked up both of the hills and a fair bit of the rest of the course.
I know that I’m in better shape now than I was then and was eager to see just how far I’d come by revisiting a previous event. I opted for the 10k this time and hoped to finish in around an hour and fifteen, given that I was recovering from a half marathon Â the weekend before and I knew this was a hilly course.
On the day, the desk to collect our race numbers was divided up depending on your number which had been emailed to participants a few days previously. There was also a bag drop immediately next to the start making the whole process quick and easy. The kids fun run was set off and then it was our turn.
The course consisted of 1, 2 or 3 laps of a 5k loop depending on which distance you had opted for. The first kilometre was pretty much downhill and although the temptation was there to take it quickly I knew that I needed to keep some energy back for climbing uphill again. There where two main uphill climbs along the 5k course and when they call the event tough they absolutely mean it. Not only were the hills big but they were steep and it really felt like your feet were moving but you weren’t going anywhere.
On the first lap I gave myself a fixed mark at the peak of the hill and just knew I needed to make it there. On the second lap however this was just soul destroying as the top just seemed so far away so I looked at the floor immediately in front of me, brought my cadence in and sang ‘Breakthrough’ by Queen until it got flat again (a little trick I’ve been taught at running club during speedwork sessions that I’d never been more grateful for).
Greenwich Park is beautiful and we ran past parts of the Naval College and the Observatory. The weather turned out for us too and it was a gorgeous spring day with glorious sunshine and a well needed breeze so it really was a very enjoyable run despite being hard work. After tackling the second hill for the second time the finish line was in sight and I somehow found a little sprint left in me for getting over the line and I was given my medal with the ribbon colour that showed which distance had been completed – orange for 5k, green for 10k and blue for 15k.
There was a timing system at the finish line that printed out your chip time straight away when you entered your race number so it wasn’t long before I knew I’d managed it in 1 hour and 3 minutes!!!! A new 10k PB for me which I was delighted with considering just how hard the course had been. Maybe the 15k option next time…
Vijay - Due to injury and laziness (probably more laziness than injury to be honest) this was the first time running for me in about a year. I was a bit apprehensive about the race because of this but I was looking forward to running around Greenwich Park, as I’d never done this before. I wasn’t trying to break any records or even come close to a PB, so I found a playlist on my iPod and decided as long as I finish before my playlist I’ll be happy.
I had found out after I’d signed up that there was a few hills, I probably should have clicked that an event called the Tough 10K wasn’t going to be a flat easy going route…
However, we were lucky with the weather as it was a gorgeous day with the sun shining and no wind, the first day like this for some time. And even though there were several hills the route itself more than made up for it with the scenery and views. Greenwich Park is a great place to run or even walk around and passing the observatory and running behind the National Maritime Museum were highlights of the route for me. Hills can be a pain to get up but once you were up them there were some great view of the not so distant city skyline.
All in all, I enjoyed the race. Even though this was more of an introduction back into running for myself, the route was great and I’ve ran plenty races with bigger and harder hills than this, so I wouldn’t let that put you off if you were thinking of doing it