Night Owned

Well that was fun wasn’t it?! Saturday was FINALLY the night we’ve been waiting for and it was time to OWN.THE.NIGHT.

Nike know how to put a good event on and Saturday didn’t disappoint. The race village was full of cool shit. You could get a manicure! Although highly impractical it was definitely cool. The village was strewn with huge orange and pink bean bags and it looked so vibrant. We had a photo taken in front of the Elle wall before being taken through a full body warm up by Nike master trainer Sonja Moses. It was amazing to see over 3000 women bouncing around in a big orange mass. In typical running event style I ran in to people I knew here there and everywhere – so great to see friendly faces!

Pre-race!

I rocked up with two of my best friends, both first time runners, Tatum and Lucy. They were both, understandably, nervous but excited. Tatum has been working out and running 3-4km a couple of times a week for about a year whereas Lucy went from sofa to 10k in just 5 weeks! Both wanted to finish without stopping and Tatum had admitted that over an hour would be disappointing for her. As for me, I had secret hopes of beating my 10k split from Amsterdam half (48 minutes) but was pretty sure it was too soon after the marathon to be sub 8 minute mile-ing for any length of time. So, we had our goals and we were ready to go.

The start was, if I’m honest, a little disorganised, with no start pens and three vague ‘colour’ bands.

Pink for those who wanted to ‘enjoy the race’ or ‘laugh with the girls’ or something (1hour +) Orange for those hoping for a new PB

Blue for those who wanted to ‘lead from the front’ (I was told this was sub 40, but it should probably have been sub 45/50)

Everyone got called in very quick succession and despite plumping for an orange band and hoping for sub-48 I ended up behind the 65 minute pacer, which was not ideal. The first km of my splits was my slowest by far (6:15 compared to a 5:07 average) and the congestion was disappointing purely because it could have been avoided. The route itself was quite congested for the first 4km or so and there were quite a few runners up on the grass trying to get up to pace, including none other than PAULA BLOODY RADCLIFFE. I saw a woman running ahead of me and thought “she runs like Paula Radcliffe” (yes I recognise her running style BIG DEAL). I found myself catching up with her only to see that it WAS and I ran alongside her like a crazy stalker, smiling and staring right next to her without saying a word. Idiot. The course however was flat and fast and had some amazing things along the way – big km marker balloons, awesome DJ sets (RDC’s finest Josey Rebelle and Lynda Phoenix) huge screen and some awesome crowds.

Unfortunately I really struggled in the race. I had legs of lead, couldn’t get any air in, and ended up with a time that I felt hideously disappointed with. Too much too soon after the marathon (I’ve been squat challenge-ing and spinning twice a week) and too much to ask of my body. The most amazing part of the night was how amazingly well my team did and how ridiculously proud of them I am.

Post-race prosecco? YES

Tatum came in with an AMAZING time of 52 minutes. First ever 10k and the furthest she’d run in training was 8.5km. That’s an 8:25 minute mile! She is the man. Lucy ran the whole distance without stopping and came in at 1:12 and I cannot believe it. To go from no activity to running over six miles non-stop shows amazing dedication – she’d been hitting up Train with Elle, Run with Elle, the Ellie Goulding training run AND her own training and I am so amazingly proud of her progression. Jen smashed her first race in 53 minutes and knowing that she had been struggling with injuries in the build up it’s amazing to think that she had the balls to run and knock it out of the park. Zoe got a new PB and Cara ran her first race in 6 months trouble free. There are so many amazing inspiring stories and I couldn’t be more proud to know such an amazing group of ladies.

The atmosphere after the race was awesome. There was a whole chirpy gang of dudes waiting to bless you with Vita Coco, Eat Natural bars, water, prosecco and the beautiful finishers bracelet. I ran in to run dem ladies and running friends in the finishers area and we dissected the race and waited to cheer more people home. I even ran in to my speedy friend Krystle who came 21st overall! Amazing result, she is an inspiration.

Me and speedy Krystle

The race was great and I thought it was a great race for beginners. There wasn’t a huge focus on time (fastest pacer was 45 minutes and pacers all the way back to 90) and it was very much more about the taking part as opposed to anything else. There were lots of first time racers and I thought that it had a really inclusive atmosphere that would encourage lots of people new to running to come back and compete again. The route was fast and flat but the crowds and narrow course meant it wasn’t really one for PBs unless you managed to be organised and get yourself to the front. An awesome night – thanks so much for the journey Nike, can’t wait until next year!

PROUD!!