Run to the Beat 2012 Race Report by Lee Maxwell

Run to the Beat 2012

An early start as I had a long drive into London town with 2 sleepy children and an equally sleepy wife and wanted to get in before the traffic started. So a good clear journey of an hour was the perfect start, no hassle, no real queues and plenty of parking, this is going to be a good race ‘me thinks’ (maybe to prematurely). Queue car sick child to add missing stress.

I had arranged to meet up with my former Boshers Messrs’ Parry and Rawlinson, but unfortunately the timescale and O2’s shocking mobile coverage when more than 10 people use the phone put an end to this. Still, enough of my moaning. .. Race time!

Due to my goal over running a sub 1:40 in Cardiff I had put myself in the 1:20 to 1:40 pen which surprisingly was right at the front of the course. I got in a good 20 mins to start time after learning of the mass push fest that happened last year causing me to not cross the start line until some 20 mins after the race had started.  The race due to start at 9:45 saw us herded to the giant start arch with seconds to spare. Then, with a rush of men hurdling the fence for a last minute drain, we waited… 9:50 came, still no start. Reggie Yates was shouting some nonsense about wanting us all to ‘jump, jump’ over the tannoy but many of us seemed a little less impressed. I did the usual scout around to make sure I didn’t look too out of place in the 1:20 – 1:40 pen as my paranoia at this time is normally one of other runners looking at me and thinking he shouldn’t be in this pen he’s too slow looking. But with a mixture of ages and sexes I felt quite comfortable.

At 9.55 the race finally started, it only took me 30 seconds to cross the start line this time so was happy with that. However, due to the mass of people the congestion soon started quickly. So much so that I was forced to run the first mile at an 8.15 m/mile pace. There were people there that were never going to run 1:40 let alone 1:20 and the usual walkers at mile 2, but that was fine, it always happens and this is my run.

At mile 2 my doubt set in, a niggle on the top of my left foot and the need for the loo (never have I had this in a race before) was playing on my mind. At the first set of portaloos I stopped and composed myself, resulting in 9.30 m/mile but my head was back in the game as we run on through Charlton. The streets had good support for the entire route. Cheer camps were set up by charity that cheered everyone on, not just those running for their course. The first hill approached and all of a sudden the overwhelming numbers of participants became visible as the see of yellow tops filled the road ahead and behind. Quite a sight to see and quite a gimmick for Nike’s advertising.

On the route around I kept my eye open for Boshers and Bosh bands but none spotted. The route is nice parts are city streets and others take on the culture Greenwich has to offer. On each mile marker there was live music, well I say live music there were DJ’s but everything played was uplifting and spurred you on.

The run through the Royal artillery barracks at mile 6 saw me at a comfortable place, settled into my running and relaxed. As per usual I steered away from water and powerade stops and ploughed on. The race has a good steady stream of water and fuel stops though maybe a little too many for just a half. The loop around the barracks took me through into mile 7 and over half way. I was happy at this point and made my way to the side plenty of times to give the waiting children high fives. Then it started….

At the same point as last year, around mile nine I felt a pain in the top of my foot, along the line from the font of my shin to the toes. Last year this happened and I put it down to my shoes being too tight. This incident last year resulted in me changing to elastic laces and after that I never got the issue again. Still running in the same footwear Sunday it came back, and at the same point of the route. I think a mixture of a sharp downhill and 3 hairpin turns in Greenwich Park could be the problem. This pain then caused me to slow and struggle the last 3 miles, at one point in mile 11 I promised myself a little walk at mile 12 (this never happened as I fooled myself into the ole ‘there’s just one mile left might as well run it’ trick)

So the final mile was upon me, the adrenaline had kicked in and numbed the foot pain and ahead laid a 10 people thick alley of cheering supporters (not all mine) the noise was deafening and did everything I needed it to. As usual just 20 meters before the start my wife and eldest leant over the barrier to cheer me on my last part of the route. Done, finished! In a comfortable but slower than normal 1:44.

Through the start DJ Fresh was manning the decks (I think that’s how you say it) and after a few stretches I made my way along the slightly longer than needed gantry to collect my water, powerade and medal. No goody bag seemed to annoy some people but I had plenty of leaflets, granola bars and sachets of shampoo at home so wasn’t too upset.

All in all, a congested start turned into an open but sometimes busy race with a few more hills than expected. Great street lined support, some interesting landmarks and the best soundtrack to run to of any race. Followed by some well organised parking, the O2 with its abundance of food outlets and lots of smiling faces, it was a good day all around.. Probably not one for next year though..