Last Sunday me and my mum were up early to run a 10k race through Hyde Park, London. Run with the Girls is a new 10k race for women which we thought would be flat(ish) and a perfect race to do together.
I was really looking forward to running this race with my mum. After the hills and trails of Trailffest running a flat 10k in the centre of London was something my legs would thank me for!
Run with the Girls was also raising money for A Mile in Her Shoes, a charity which helps women find their feet through running. They encourage women who may have been affected by issues related to homelessness to experience running as a way of exercising, socialising, boosting confidence and raising self-esteem. A very apt charity to be running an event for.
Run with the Girls is a two lap race through Hyde Park and along the Serpentine. It is almost flat, just a few gentle ups and downs and not as hilly as Finsbury Park. Starting at 9.30am it’s an earlier start than the other races we have run together and Hyde Park had a curtain of mist that was only just lifting when we arrived an hour before to register.
Unlike the previous 10k we did together we weren’t running for a time. Unfortunately, when we last ran together my mum tripped, landed badly and bruised her ribs so she hadn’t done any running for over two weeks. We thought we’d take it easy and just run at a pace that was comfortable for her.
The start was very organised, although there was a huge queue for the toilets which meant we were late for the pre-race warm up session. What we did of the warm up session was very good, concentrating on gently waking up the muscles through dynamic stretches. After that we only had a few minutes to wait until the start.
Like the Women’s Running 10k there were a number of pacers so we decided to start behind the 65 minute pacers and see what happened. I think it’s a really good feature of the women’s races I have done that there are pacers that you can follow, it would be good to have them in other races too.
The route was really nice. We started by running through the wide open parkland which was fairly flat, just a tiny incline at the start of the lap. We managed to keep the 65 minute pacers in sight and there was a really good atmosphere with the other runners, lots of chatting and encouragement.
After the open part we ran past one of the houses in the park and down a hill. Of course this meant an uphill followed! However, it wasn’t really that steep and we easily managed it. After some twisting around the park we then ran a kilometer along the Serpentine lake, which was really pretty in the morning sunshine.
We got to the second lap in a very good time (around 32 minutes) and I had a feeling that we might just get a PB for my mum. The last 10k we did together was also a 2 lap route and she had felt the second lap quite hard. As I didn’t want to put any pressure on my mum I kept quiet about my prediction and we carried on running at the same pace.
By the time we were on the second lap the park was becoming a lot busier, so I can see why they needed a 9.30am start. It wasn’t too crowded, just a lot more people, dogs and cyclists out and about.
Around the 8km mark my mum said she was starting to feel tired and didn’t think she could keep up with the pacers. I took a sneaky look at my Garmin and said ‘that’s okay’ knowing that we were probably going to get that PB, even if we did slow down a bit.
I really enjoyed the final 2km, we were running along the Serpentine again, there were lots of wildfowl on the water and the sun was shining. The park just looked very pretty.
As we neared the end my mum decided to speed up and we crossed the finish together in a very respectable 1:02:49 by my watch. Unfortunately, even though the race was chip timed the results we were given appear to be the gun time so the official time is about 30 seconds slower. However, either way it is a PB for my mum! Woo hoo!
All in all Run with the Girls is a good race. It’s nice and central in London, the organisation was good and the route was quiet and very pretty. Not only that but they had a changing tent! It was the first race I’ve been to where I didn’t have to change in a portaloo or toilet. It would be great to see more races provide changing tents. A lot of the times after a race I like to have a wonder round and maybe get a coffee or something to eat and I don’t like to do that in my sweaty running gear. More changing tents please!
The other good thing about Run with the Girls is that it was sponsored by Wholefoods Kensington which meant the goodie bags were rather nice.
It was an almost 100% vegan goodie bag (the Eat Natural bar contains honey). So often after races the goodie bag contains sweets and cake which I can’t eat. Sometimes I’m lucky and it will have a banana in it. It would be great if more races had more healthy and more vegan treats in the bags.
So all in all I would recommend the Run with the Girls 10k and if they hold it again next year I will definitely be signing up for it.