Let’s be honest, we’re having one hell of a dreamy summer over in the UK at the moment. Well, we’re having one hell of a summer if you don’t have to do anything like running. Because let me tell you, today was one ridiculously hot day for running. At the point of me writing this (about 8pm), Google is telling me it’s 31 degrees. 31 degrees! Seriously, I can barely lie down in the shade when it’s 31 degrees.
So it’s probably not a surprise when I tell you that today’s race was a tough one. By the end I had to run my head under a cold tap for a few minutes it was that hot.
There’s one major reason I like running in extreme temperatures though, and that’s because other people don’t like it. Every time I do a race where it’s either really cold or really hot I end up a lot higher in the rankings. Doesn’t mean I enjoy it though.
Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about the race.
As you probably already know, I do pretty much every RunThrough event, so when one crops up that seems to have slipped through my fingers, I get pretty excited. Even if it is in relentless heat. The Regent’s Park race is such an event. As London locations go, the park is one of my favourite places to run. Like Battersea and Victoria it manages to be big enough to feel interesting, but small enough to make it seem like the race let’s you experience the whole park. I’ve done a fair few other races there over the years, but never a two lap course – I basically hate laps so I wanted to see if I enjoyed it more than the usual three lap ones that I normally do there.
The route was, inevitably, fairly close to the other races, however the extra bit of weaving about makes it feel considerably different when you’re running. Mentally, the fact I’d run it so many times before actually confused me a bit when it came to pacing, especially the last 2km of the lap where previously I’d be coming into the final few hundred metres of it.
But yes, the heat. I actually set off fairly quickly, working under the thought process that I’d give it a go, but I really didn’t care if I just ended up jogging it. Oddly I actually felt pretty good for the first half of the race and managed to maintain a fairly good pace. At one point I was, fresh from my 5k attempt at the Olympic Stadium a few days before, even thinking I may break 20 minutes for the first half. Must have been the sun as I was about 2 minutes off. Still, I was doing well. Ended up with a 43.45 and came in 14th out of about 350 – normally I’m not even close to the teens.
As I mentioned before, the heat was understandably having an effect on a lot of people by the looks of it. I didn’t speed up at any point, but I did overtake a fair few people by the end, presumably as the sun very quickly picked them off to a slower pace.
Under normal conditions I tend to look around quite a bit when I race in Regent’s Park. Not only is it one of the most visibly pleasing in the city, but it also has the zoo next to it. If you’re lucky you can see animals as you run past. I didn’t even bother today. All I could think about was getting to the end and hiding under a tree.
As with any RunThrough race, I couldn’t fault the organisation in any way. I actually don’t envy any race organiser that puts on an event in that kind of heat. So the fact their consistently doing it at the moment is a big thumbs up. Obviously the medal was a pretty damn fine addition to the collection and the cookie lasted about 7 seconds from the point of picking it up. It was also National Pride Day, so the park was a full of people preparing to join the various things going on around the city. Seems like Regent’s Park was the meeting place for a fair bit of it.
Ruddy lovely day all round in fact… once I managed to get some shade.
The stats – if you’re interested:
Picture Credits: RunThrough