Of all the race distances our favourite has always been the 10k. You can train for it whenever you want, you can turn up at 9am and still be home for breakfast, there’s absolutely loads of them, you don’t have to give up your social life train to train and regardless of your level they’re always still a challenge. They’re pretty much the perfect all-round race.
If you live in London you could do a 10k every Saturday and Sunday if you looked hard enough. Sometimes they’re large-scale affairs like the British 10k or the Human Race Winter Run, but more often than not they take place in a park somewhere. Which means there’s probably going to be one somewhere near you.
The Regents Park summer series is probably our favourite. Firstly because it’s held at Regents Park, which means it’s not only set in one of London most picturesque parks, but it’s central. Which is important if you’re the kind of runner that likes to take part in a race to see friends. Trying to get East London mates down to Richmond park for a 10k is almost impossible, trust us, we’ve tried.
Secondly the start and finish are located at The Hub, which is basically a big changing room, shower, coffee-shop, locker facility placed in the middle of the park. Unlike other races where you have a couple of portable toilets and a gazebo, it means you’ve actually got somewhere nice to get ready. Or if you have people along to watch they don’t have to stand outside in the rain waiting for an hour as they catch a glimpse of you in the distance.
The course itself is a 3k(ish) loop around some of the main park paths. It’s a route used for a number of races throughout the year and aside from offering some nice views (you may get to see a few animals when you make you’re way past the zoo) it’s largely clear of pedestrians. Which means you don’t have to keep stopping or jumping out of the way. It’s also fairly flat, not completely, but flat enough. As the race is a series it also means timing yourself against a previous race allows you to gauge your progress throughout the months. Which may actually be quite depressing since most of the races take place in the beer garden months.
And if all that wasn’t enough we weren’t only rewarded by a giant homemade flapjack at the end (they’re enormous) but we also received our favourite medal design of the year. You can’t really lose.
Entry for the races costs £15.00 if you’re an affiliated club runner or £17.00 for anyone else. You can also sign up for all six races in advance which costs £85 affiliated/£95 unaffiliated.
Further details of the series can be found at the website here.
Oh, and here’s a handy video that explains it all better than we ever could.