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Vitality London 10k – Members’ highlights

Kerstin Johnson – Finished in 1:00:03

Having been lucky two years in a row in the club ballot for free entry into this event, I ended up entering it the normal way this year as Matt was the lucky winner of a free place. I have had plans to get back under 60 minutes for a 10k this year and as I knew the course is very flat I reckoned I was in with a chance. In the week leading up to the Bank Holiday I kept checking the weather forecast and kept hoping it would be wrong as it was promising temperatures in the mid 20s. Running in heat does not suit me at all, I overheat and my legs fill with lead.

Bank holiday morning came around and both Matt and myself slept badly because of the warm night. Bleary-eyed (or maybe that was only me) we met up with the other SJ’s travelling from Farnborough station and piled onto the train, A quick wander over to the Mall with the usual loo queues and bag drops. The organisation is very slick and before I knew it we were in the start pens ready to go. I had dithered if to try to use the virtual pacer on my Garmin to try to get under 60 minutes and only made the decision to use it as we shuffled closer to the start line. The count down started and I realised that I had forgotten to change the setting on my tri watch from cycling to running and this gives me completely different stats on the screen. Oops… well, no time to change it now, I pressed the start button as I crossed the line and tried to settle into my own pace to try to sustain a comfortable hard effort. The first few kms ticked by, the course is out and back so I kept an eye out for other club runners running in the other direction to see if I could spot any familiar faces. I did see glimpses and shout outs to Patrick, Claire and Lisa.
As I saw the 5k marker, I decided to see how I was doing and pressed the lap button for a 5k split. 29.15. Ok, so sub 60 was within reach, but I also knew the heat was getting to me. My legs felt heavier and heavier, heart rate was well above 170 at this point but in a way I still felt strong. I decided to do my best despite the heat and try not to slow down. A quick drink, pouring the rest of the water over my head, run through the showers, To keep my thoughts away from how much I didn’t want to do this anymore, I started  to focus on different things in running form to distract myself. Head up, look straight ahead, not down, relax arms and hands, push back elbows, Finally I spotted the 9km sign and focus became to just get to that sign. Ok, I’m there, now there is only 2.5 laps of the track to go, I can do that. Birdcage walk has never felt so long and I just focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and told myself just to hang in there. I turned the corner and there was the finish line. There was nothing left in the legs for a sprint, but I did manage to stride through the last 100m. Crossed the line and while trying to catch my breath I spotted Matt who had disappeared from sight a few km into the race. We caught up and I glanced at my watch – 59.47! I did it! And in that heat – I have no idea how I managed that. 
As we collected our bags, I got a text with my official chip time – 1.00.03. Where did those 15 seconds go? I quickly decided that my watch was right and there was a glitch in the chip timing – haha! I’m so pleased with my run and I ran my socks off in that heat, I gave it everything I got and could not have done any more.
Kerstin Vitality 10k time.jpg
Nigel Evans – Finished in 55:04

This is another event I really enjoy and it was nice seeing so many Sandhurst Joggers waiting for the train on Farnbourgh station.

As we crossed the start line I ran over to the start platform and high fived Jessica Ennis then headed down the Mall towards Trafalgar Square. The course passes many famous London sights including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey so if you want a tour of London in about an hour this is the race for you.

We passed the 2 km marker just in time to see Mo Farah leading the race running in the opposite direction. My legs were feeling tired but I was really enjoying the atmosphere with thousands of cheering spectators and a few live bands situated around the course.

Before we knew it we were passing Trafalgar Square again and heading towards Big Ben and the final km before crossing the finish line in 55 minutes together. We headed back to the bag collection point getting our medal, goody bag and very nice finishers technical t-shirt on the way having had a great run.

Nigel & Jess Vitality 10k

Patrick Wadsworth – Finished in 44:04
Vitality 10K is always a good event. It starts at Farnborough as you meet other SJs and runners from other local clubs on the train to London.  A walk across the river and into the hoards of runners in Green Park to drop off bags and then to the start.  Due to the train timetable it is usual for there not to be a lot of waiting around before the start.  The start pens are supposed to be for runners with similar time ambitions but there are always loads of people who are walking by the time we get to Admiralty Arch, all of about 200m from the start (Why do people put such very unrealistic times on their entries?) so quite a lot of weaving and baulking is to be expected even by the fast runners. 
Along the Strand and Aldwych then into the City  and the Bank of England.  The route is basically an out and back with some minor variations so it is good to see the front runners returning.  AFD were packing the front this year – always nice to see a local club doing well.  
There are two drinks stations and, probably learning from the heat of the Marathon, a shower on route.  The course is pretty flat with some long ups and downs but not much altitude change.  As its a 10k its flat out all the way, which makes it hard but a change from longer distances.  The final mile had changed this year to be similar to the end of the Marathon although we finished outside Buckingham Palace. 
Retrieving my bag and I met up with my daughter for a nice lunch. Highly recommended event, well organised, easy to get to.  It ought to be a PB course but a lot depends on the mix of runners in your pen.  A good first big event and good support along the course.  It must be good for spectators to as there are plenty of places to see runners twice during the event.
Stuart Overhill – Finished in 43:57
Excellent, well organised event, that has the big race London marathon feel without having to run another 20miles!!
Fiona Slevin-Brown – Finished in 40:24
It was my first time doing the Vitality 10km and I hadn’t realised it was such a big event and how well organised it was. The route is fab, finishing just outside Buckingham Palace and the support from the crowd was terrific!
We went up in a big group from Farnborough station – the platform was full of fellow SJs and it felt like a proper Club outing!
The run itself went well despite the heat… it was scorching… and it was great to see my fellow SJs also having great runs. I’d really recommend it for all abilities and look forward to an even bigger club contingent next year!
Angela Foker – Finished in 1:06:50
It was one of the best races we have run- (I ran it with my husband Mark) highlights were the start getting a high five from Jessica Ennis Hill, the support and entertainment around the course, the setting – starting and finishing on the mall opposite Buckingham Palace.
It was very hot yesterday and we were pleased to have two water stops plus a shower to cool us down. It was a very well organised race and the medals , t-shirt and goody bag were lovely.
I will definitely do this race again next year.
Kate Parker – Finished in 57:21
I was a little slower than last year (about 1:50) but considering the heat, and my lack of training (I had marathon fitness last year) I’m pretty pleased with my result! Very grateful for the place from the club, but I’m still not sure 10k’s are my thing, especially in the summer (bring back the snow!!) 
Kate Vitality 10k
Sophie Le Saux – Finished in 53:01
Loved being in the same race as Mo Farrah and seeing him whizz past on the other side on the road, beating me by about 24 minutes!!! The sights and numerous bands along the way were a very welcome distraction. Despite the heat being relentless, it’s a race I would do again! Oh, and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill looked so friendly and pretty, star-struck much?!!
Vitality 10k Claire and Sophie
Lisa Hale – Finished in 43:45
I hadn’t given much thought to doing the Vitality 10k until I didn’t get one of the club places, then surprised by how disappointed I was I decided to enter anyway, having recently re-discovered my enjoyment for shorter races! I’m glad I did as it’s a fantastic event, very well organised and supported on a great course, with the only down side being a rather congested first mile….note to self to make more forceful use of elbows to get to the front of the wave next year!
The weather on the day was perfect, and despite the early start it was fun chatting to fellow club runners on the train. There’s a quality medal and t-shirt at the end which you can spend the rest of the day showing off round the streets of London as you shop, sunbathe and re-fuel at your coffee shop or pub of choice!
Heidi Zymela – Finished in 1:03:42
For me, it was a unique race as I decided to run alongside my sister as this was her first ever race and second ever 10k distance. It was nice not to worry about my time, take in the sights and also motivate Rhi through her run. Great finishing spot next to Buckingham Palace, you don’t get to do that every day!
Heidi & Rhi

Rhi Zymela – Finished in 1:03:42

I thought it was a perfect route for a first-time race goer, with good organisation and a fantastic atmosphere. Thoroughly enjoyed myself and am looking forward to the next one!
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