Here's my race recap for the 2023 edition of the ASICS London 10k.

ASICS London 10km

Sunday 9th July

Thursday evening after my HIIT Class I collected my race number from the ASICS Store on Oxford Street. Fortunately it was after the queues had died down so I got served immediately. The process was smooth and the team were friendly and knowledgeable. While there I also collected the number for my friend Norman who was travelling from Paris to run.

Saturday there were two shake out runs from the ASICS Store which followed a circuit around London’s Hyde Park. The first shakeout run was for National and International ASICS FrontRunners to meet and catch up ahead of Sunday’s run. The second shakeout run was public and lead by ASICS FrontRunners and ended with an expert panel in the ASICS Community Space. I was unable to attend either of them due to work commitments but judging by the photos and feedback they were great and well received. My brief for race day was to deliver around a 7 minute dynamic warm up ahead of the race. Late afternoon I planned my routine, selected my songs, edited them down to the right length then saved to a flash drive in two different formats and uploaded to Google Drive just to be sure.

I woke up early Sunday morning, tired from 4 hours sleep as I attended a charity ball Saturday night. It didn’t take too long to get ready, double check my kit and head to the station. I was so tired I almost got off at Green Park Station rather than Piccadilly Circus. I arrived at race headquarters around 7am and met up with the team and Ania. I grab some breakfast and we walked up to our respective stages. On the way I saw Abi a FrontRunner from the Austrian Team and we briefly chatted. Lucia, Bella and I arrived at our stage at the corner of St James’s Street and Piccadilly. Lucia was the host for the day and Bella was the stage manager. We ran through the plan, I was introduced to the sound engineers, gave them my flash drive and did a sound check.

We were hoping that it wouldn’t rain and actually used brooms and tissue paper in an attempt to dry the stage. It worked and the rain held off and we started to interact with the our pens and runners making their way to the early waves. It really was great to see both new and familiar faces in the crowds of runners assembling in anticipation of their 10k run. It was touching to see how many runners were wearing charity vests and t-shirts. Time absolutely flew by and in no time Bella told me that it was a few minutes until I would be taking the stage. Lucia introduced me and I started with stamp, stamp clap to Queen’s We will Rock you, then up tempo movement to Scott Garcia’s It’s a London Thing and then finished off with high energy to Macklemore’s warm up classic Can’t Hold Us.

After the warm up I remained on stage and split my time between waving to runners heading to the start and runners that had just started and were passing the stage. It was great to see so many familiar faces and have the perspective of runners while they set off on their journeys. It was a mix of the fast, furious, focused and fun. It was a delight to observe. After about 10 minutes I walked off the stage, thanked my terrific team Lucia and Bella and made my way into the wave of runners moving towards the start line. I managed to make my way through gaps in the runners to start nearer to my predicted wave. Turned the corner, started my watches and I crossed the start line heading towards Piccadilly Circus. It wasn’t too long before I saw Lucia on stage who started to cheer me on when she saw me.

I maintained a steady pace to Piccadilly Circus where we turned left and headed north up Regent’s Street. It was a very pleasant surprise to see my old coach and London Marathon ‘Ever Present’ legend Bill O’Connor. This stretch was also sweetened by seeing Vicky and other members of the ASICS FrontRunner Fam. It wasn’t long before I did a tight turn and headed down Regent’s Street back to Piccadilly Circus then to Lower Regent Street. We turned right onto Pall Mall, looped at St James’s Palace and headed east on Cockspur Street to the south of Trafalgar Square. We headed north on Charing Cross Road, looping back just before Cambridge Circus and downhill to back to Trafalgar Square and passing the half way point.

We headed up the Stand, turned right at Savoy Street, turned left at The Embankment, passed 6km and looped back just after passing Temple Station. We continued along The Embankment with the River Thames to our left with views of The Southbank and the London Eye to our left. The sun shimmered on the river, it was warming up and there on course support was great. With 7km on deck my legs were fresh and spirits high. As I took strides up the Victoria Embankment running parallel with the London Eye and passing it I could see Big Ben in front of me. At Big Ben we turned left onto Westminster Bridge for a loop when I took in the scenery.

We passed the Houses of Parliament onto Broad Sanctuary then Victoria Street and looped back shortly after 9km. We headed towards Parliament Square and then turned left onto Parliament Street for the final push to the finish. I saw the finish, dug deep, widened my stride and attempted a sprint finish. Just before the line I saw Pete with his camera and tried to manage a smile. I crossed the line, paused for a second and headed to collect my medal, t shirt and goodie bag. I hung around for a while as it was a great opportunity to catch up with people, hear about their experiences and take pictures. The weather stayed fine and overall the day was amazing.

If there is one domestic run that I cannot miss then it is this one. The weather is generally fine, the vibe is friendly and fun. It is a great opportunity to catch up people you know, finally meet social media friends and make new friends in real life. The waves are well organised so there is no need to worry about pacing or runners pushing, furiously trying to pass. The bag drop is open really early, the course is well marked and everything is well organised. Shout out to the organisers and army of volunteers that made this a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable event.

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written by

Rey Smart

Personal Trainer from London

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