Written by Sarah Gerrie
Sunday the 9th July saw a bunch of ESM runners hop foot it into central London for the ASICs 10km. On a busy fixture day for ESM, the lure of a flat road race with great crowd support was too great which did somewhat leave our other fixtures for that day- the Summer league and Southern Athletics league- somewhat depleted (sorry Pat, and Beverley). The race however did not disappoint for most, with a great turn out and the buzz that these mass crowd events generates, resulting in some fast times and good old pre and post race fun and banter.
After what looked initially like it was going to be a hot one, the temperatures had cooled off slightly, leaving us with some nice sunshine and clouds. A good thing considering the amount of time needed with these larger events to navigate bag drops, toilet queues and making your way to the start. Having got to the starting pen promptly left almost too much time to deliberate if I had drank enough water (the answer was no, as I later found out) and if I should have had one more loo stop. It did however give time to laugh at those dutifully trying to follow the warm-up, performing squats whilst jostled up to strangers and understandably getting their bottom in the face of the person behind. Finally, after all this to keep one entertained, we were off to much hype and cheer. Most found the first 1-2 km’s a little bottle necked which resulted in a need to weave through the other runners but, as Mark Kencroft put, it probably help reign in the initial race excitement and the temptation to start off too quickly.
The course did not disappoint from a landmarks point of view; being able to run through the closed roads of Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, with the London Eye and Big Ben also providing a back drop at times, made it a great experience. I guess how much you paid attention to these depended on the tactics of your race with a good pack of the ESM guys racing up front with others going for more of the tactic of just absorbing the atmosphere. As always, these larger races provided that in abundance with the obligatory steel band, singer belting out ‘Valerie’ and random guy dressed in disco gear dancing on a traffic island. The course itself was flat but tricky with quite a few bends in which you had to double back on yourself making it hard to find a long stretch to get stuck into however, most of us seemed to take this all in our stride.
First home for ESM was Mo Hashi who raced competitively, keeping up with a pack jostling for 2nd-4th place, crossing the finish line in 4th place and earning himself a PB in the process. This opened the gate for a steady stream of green and yellow vests to finish. Simon Shaw bagged himself a win in the M50-54 category, with Peter Flewitt not far behind in 4th place. Mark Kencroft came in 3rd for the V55 category. I was first home for the ladies also claiming a second place in the F40 category. Sean Hanrahan also put in a solid effort to earn himself a PB. Malcom Woosley clocked his fastest 10km since his return to fitness and Sughra Mohammedi, having missed her first train and admitting to talking to a lovely group of ladies on the way round, also pulled out a PB. There were generally smiles aplenty as our glitzy medals were donned to the mutterings of ‘nice t-shirt too’. The one saving grace for having left Beverley almost on her own at the summer league was that there was absolutely no obligation to have to do a 400m leg on bumpy grass an hour after our 10km-our legs were done! Although I am certain those who had recently competed in the summer league races were slightly tempted to head over The Strand to Green Park to create a 400m dash for good measure!
The only downside and slightly annoying aspect of this race is that, despite some really great PB’s and efforts these will never show on The Power of 10- thank goodness for Strava and the results page to prove they really did happen- however it perhaps leaves some less likely to sign up next year.
All in all though, it was a really great morning with some superb running all with our wonderful ESM team.
Results can be found at: