Race Report: Teach First Run the River 10k 2015

Last week was really busy in terms of running: I'm just recovering enough now to start writing up my race reports! I ran a 10k Tuesday, a 10k obstacle race Saturday, and the 9 mile long run scheduled as part of my half marathon training plan on Sunday. Monday morning at work was not pretty, believe me.

Tuesdays 10k was the Run the River 10k organised by Teach First to raise money to help ensure children from the poorest backgrounds can access a great education. A colleague from work organised a team of 5 to enter the race (with a £5 discount per person via Running Bug) and and as it fit in (more or less) with my mid-week training for the half I thought "why not?"

The race is relatively small (3,100) runners and I had a last minute panic that I would be the last to finish. I usually like to check results from previous years' races to reassure myself that plenty of slower runners than me will enter, but this time none were available. However, there were lots of positive reviews about the race online and, happily, my experience was similar if not better.

Run the River is really well organised: setting off from The Scoop near Tower Bridge, the route goes over Tower Bridge, up the Thames Path, over Blackfriars Bridge, Southwark Bridge, then Tower Bridge again before finishing back where you started. You can check out the full route and my run on Nike+ 

There is a water stop at the 5k mark (by The Globe) which was welcome, but not desperately needed, and the goody bag at the finish was amazing (full size shower gel, percy pigs, Costa biscuits in addition to your medal...) There was a secure bag drop (long, but fast queues) and (super clean) portaloos at the start/finish.

Before the race everyone collects a bright blue Teach First t-shirt (note these are cotton so you may want to wear a technical shirt or vest underneath), which you're asked to wear during the race as it helps the marshals keep track of who's racing and pedestrians/tourists/normal London runners. The marshals were fantastic at directing you, warning you about traffic etc. which was really important as the roads are not closed and the route is often narrow, with steps and sharp turns as the majority of it is on the Thames Path. The actual race distance (as per my GPS) was 6.6 miles, so the best part of half a mile longer than 10k.


My chip finish time was 1:09:13 but after crossing the line and stopping my GPS watch, Nike+ started flashing up RECORD BREAKER! and fireworks and I was absolutely ecstatic to see I had managed to run TWO PBs. The first 5k in 31:23 (28 seconds off my previous PB of 31:51) and the whole 10k in 1:05:04 which is a massive THREE MINUTES AND SIX SECONDS off my previous PB of 1:08:10. I had felt that I was going at a decent speed for most of the race but I was actively trying to keep a steady pace, particularly over the first 5k, so that I could finish comfortably and in good time but I didn't expect such a huge improvement. I had been hoping to run a 66 minute 10k this year, but I absolutely smashed that!

The absolute joy of knowing that I can improve my times and get faster, that a sub 30min 5k and 60min 10k may actually be within reach with enough targeted training, plus the beautiful setting running alongside the Thames as the sun went down, and two of my team mates telling me that I inspired them to take up running and enter races to have a goal to aim for, has made this one of the best races I've ever done. I would heartily recommend it to anyone as a fantastic experience and a much more enjoyable and sociable workout than heading to the gym after work.

We're hoping to make this a regular work social and enter a race every couple of months (followed by drinks in the nearest pub) so if anyone can recommend good mid-week races in Central London please let me know!



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About

Gemma, 33, runner.

Also sometime triathlete, lifter, Tough Mudder, Spartan.

I like a challenge.

Those things that hurt, instruct.
-Benjamin Franklin.

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