Monday, February 17, 2014

Wimbledon Common Dash for the Splash 10km race review

We’ve all seen that bit in a BBC wildlife documentary where the herds of wildebeest frantically scrabble their way down a steep river side, before wading across and emerging on the other side, unless the crocodiles get them.

Well, on Sunday at about 930, on a cold, hard but bright morning, I and 199 hardy soles went through our own river crossing on Wimbledon common. Down a slippery mud bank, through 2 feet of freezing water, and up the other side. Feet sodden, socks soaked through, and still 9.5km of hard, muddy, slippery running ahead. Brilliant.

The Dash for the Splash 10km was my first race for over two years, which is appalling, but it was certainly one to remember. The course not only involved the above water crossing, but numerous sections filled with grey, gloopy mud that weighed you down and long rising hills that dried your feet out. Then there was a middle section where we ran through saturated common ground, filled with water from the recent storms, forcing you knee-deep in freezing water to find the path again.  

As such it wasn’t a course for a personal best but a time of 45 minutes and 31 seconds was one I was very happy with. It would have been quicker but for the fact the final kilometre was on unbelievably slippery grass across a playing field.

I was overtaken by about five runners in spikes, while my old trainers (thankfully chosen over my shiny, clean news ones) just failed to gain any traction at all, forcing me to run like Bambi and focus more on staying upright than putting in a hard kick for the finish.

Still, even losing those places I came 37th, which wasn’t too bad. Now, the next time I do a 10km (possibly next weekend) the lack of mud, water and river crossings should make it seem a doddle.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

London locations

Ah an office move, the first in my long and distinguished career. This means the joys of ‘crating up’ your kit and then finding it waiting for you in a shiny, new office space about 800m away. I’ve gone from the bustling streets of central Soho to the bustling streets of the Haymarket.

Head in one direction its Piccadilly Circus and the flocks of tourists eating lunch on Eros, while head in the opposite direction and you enter the supposed-razzmatazz of Leicester Square. Head in another direction, though, and I’ve found the streets become rather quieter, with imposing streets that sort of peter out into nothing as they reach St James Park. This is quite nice really and brings another insight into the unique landscape that is London.

Wandering the other day I found a beautiful arcade, the Royal Opera Arcade, with high white arches and little boutique shops. I snapped a picture, included below.  I also found the hiding place of the Number 22 bus before it begins its slow, winding journey to Putney Heath. The driver looked a picture of contentment sat on the back seat of the lower deck, paper in hand and a Pret cup of tea in another.

So, I’ve now taken in Pimlico, Soho and now have the Haymarket and its surroundings to explore and work within for who knows how long. London, what a wonderful city.