I recently ran the London Winter 10k. Here's my review of central London’s coolest run

It was a cold Sunday morning but I wasn't deterred but determined to get out and have a great run around London. On my way to the station the cold wind went right through my trainers making my feet feel cold. I immediately began to regret wearing race trainers with a mesh toe box rather than opting for a pair of more insulated racing ones. I paused, turned, momentarily as I contemplated going home to swap them and then jogged to the station. I was happy that my leggings, base layer, long sleeve top, cap and gloves were keeping me warm. I was layered up and prepared for the cold. My first train was rather empty with no runners in sight until after 3 stops and then a few got on. When I changed trains at Baker Street there were more runners and I felt I looked less conspicuous in my leggings. It was great to briefly see Taz (@thishijabisrunning) a fellow ASICS Frontrunner on route.  I accidentally got off the train a stop early and jogged down to Trafalgar Square. The closer I got the louder it became and the more runners I saw. As I turned emerged around the corner of the National Portrait Gallery I saw Trafalgar Square had been transformed to a winter wonderland. There were penguins, snowmen, and some great winter themed installations.

I was ahead of schedule, so I strolled across Trafalgar Square and soaked up the atmosphere. It was already buzzing with runners arriving, congregating, and greeting each other. I spotted the media zone, a classic open top route master bus, and made my way there. It was cool seeing people taking selfies and photos with polar bears. I checked in, collected my race number, dropped my bag and prepared for the run. Michael (@theurbanchallenger) arrived shortly after I did and we caught up for a bit, kept warm on the bus and then headed off to join the first wave. I jogged the few metres to join the holding pen to the south of Trafalgar Square. It wasn’t long before we were called to walk up to the start which was a loop past the north of the Trafalgar Square to the start line on Duncannon Street. As I was walking up to the start line I saw Marina from Limelight Sports. We were busy chatting and catching up until a familiar face, Tim the day’s master of ceremonies set us off on our way.

I was so distracted with chatting and setting my camera to record that I completely forgot to set my watches. After we had turned left onto The Strand and I had finished recording I carefully set my watches and eased into a somewhat comfortable pace. As The Strand is a nice straight the temptation was to start fast but I resisted and got comfortable with the trainers I was racing in for the second time. As I approached the Kingsway I was greeted to the sounds of The Fantasy Steel Band who were playing feeling hot which was quite apt as I had just warmed up. Running north up Kingsway felt like a slight incline which made me determined to up the pace a bit. At 1km I passed the Trio Brass Band and turned heading south on Kinsway and turned left on The Strand. At 2Km I turned left onto Chancery Lane and then right onto High Holborn passing the Capital Connections Choir. At this point I took advantage of the straight and leaned into my stride and upped the pace.

The air was crisp, and I had finally warmed up, in fact I was possibly a little too hot, but it was okay. I passed the Cancer Research Rock Choir, turned left to loop around Angel Street to join Cheapside passing the 4km marker. I turned left on Old Jerry, right on Lothbury looping around the Bank of England and left down King William Street. Shortly after 5km I turned right onto Cannon Street. The snow summit zone put a huge smile on my face and shortly after the Drumworks were having a banging time. Over halfway, progressively increasing my pace and enjoying myself I was in the zone. I passed vocalist Lizzie Haynes for the second time and pushed on. I headed towards St Pauls and looped back then turning left to run with St Paul’s Cathedral to my left passing 7km. The view never gets old. I turned left on Warwick Lane passing 8km and then turned right on Ludgate Hill passing City Thames Link on my left.   

With the bulk of the course behind me and on the home straight I decided to push harder. I took advantage of the straight and headed determined along Fleet Street, passed the 9km mark and then joined The Strand once more. The atmosphere was intensified by seeing runners in the later waves heading up The Strand and the number of spectators had increased from earlier. As I passed Charing Cross Station on my left I pushed again feeling energise by the course and reassure that I was metres from the finish. It was epic as I turned left to head down Whitehall and passed Nelson’s Column and Admiralty Arch to my right. At this point the crowd was amazing shouting words of encouragement and Eric from K.I.M. gave me a shout out. I saw the finish line on the horizon, so I pressed record on my camera and tried my best to sprint to the finish. The cheers were loud, runners were finishing hard. I pushed across the line feeling strong and strolled over to collect my medal with a huge smile on my face. I remembered to stop my watches, collected post-race goodies a vegan protein bar courtesy of Science In Sport and a Canowater. I took a photo with a huge polar bear and headed to the collect my bag.

When I arrived at the bus I was greeted by the team and congratulated on my run. It was good to see Michael again and Jeric (@coderunnerguy). Ellie invited me to do an impromptu interview on the top desk of the bus which was parallel to the finish zone. I was really honoured to share the story of my race which I enjoyed. After the interview I saw quite a few familiar faces as they finished. I have good memories of my first London Winter Run in 2015 and every time I run the vibes have been great. I think the combination of charity runners, fun zones, entertainment, and spectators give the event its magic. The event is mixed ability friendly with waves for all paces including first timers. There's quite a few turns on the course but nothing tricky and the roads are wide enough to accommodate everyone. Whether you want to test your winter fitness, have a goal to work to, raise money for Cancer Research UK or smash your PB this is a good event for you. The overall race highlights included over £700,000 raised for Cancer Research, the course record being smashed by 2 minutes and over 13,000 finishers. A special thanks to the team at Human Race for the press place. Early bird entries are open for the next edition on Sunday 25th February 2024. You can find out more and enter here.    


My race trainers were Magic Speed 2 which provided a fast, smooth and responsive run over road surface and were stable around corners.

The MAGIC SPEED™ 2 shoe offers the energy you need to move towards a new personal best. We updated the fit and tooling to make the shoe more versatile for both tempo runs and races. ​ A full-length carbon and TPU plate are sandwiched in the m...

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Rey Smart

Personal Trainer from London



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