Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Teach First Challenge 10k Run 2012

Teach First is "an independent charity with a mission to address educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into inspirational, effective teachers and leaders in all fields". And as part of its 10-year anniversary, a 10k Run, its first ever, was held this past Sunday, 23rd September 2012.

I had signed up for the event a couple of weeks before I got to London, and I was just excited to be part of it. I left my apartment around 7.20am that morning and made my way to the London Bridge tube to head to Waterloo. Registration was at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, the first time I had ever been there, really.

I had anticipated a bit of a problem since I did not get my race pack earlier (they had mailed it to my apartment but I never got it), but all was sorted in a jiffy as I was given the timing chip and run t-shirt (cotton!)

Although the number of participants was first advertised as 3,000 people, the post-event email actually said there were only around 1,300 runners that morning with many pullouts. No matter, it was still a fun atmosphere on a chilly morning nevertheless.

After dropping off my bag, I then made my way to the nearby bridge where the group warmup was being done. The Southbank of course has various iconic landmarks including the Royal Festival Hall itself and the London Eye.

Runners were then segregated into the expected finish time, although I doubt everyone was being 100% honest. Hehe.

I was feeling rather good before the run, despite not having the proper pre-race preparations; good sleep, energy food etc. But I HAVE been running almost every other day and getting used to colder temperatures, so I was kind of confident of clocking a good time.

The route itself was rather interesting. And pretty strange. As advertised, it was mainly flat throughout, but as you can see below, we went past several bridges along the Thames which also meant we had to go up and down stairs, and in and out of tunnels.

We also had to negotiate narrow paths and back lanes, not really ideal for big events, but it was OK for this one, I guess. The weather was good on us as well. It was cloudy throughout with a bit of sun and the temperature was around 10c (but it did rain just as we finished the run).

The first water station came at the 6km mark (VERY late if it was a typical Malaysian event), but it was fine for that morning. I maintained a good pace throughout and finished with a 10km personal best of 64mins. Hurrah!

Overall, a well-organised event with good atmosphere and a very friendly feel. The medal's not bad either : ) On a personal note, hope I can maintain or improve on this pace when I get back to hot and humid Malaysia!

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