It’s fair to assume that most people wouldn’t be enthralled at the idea of running round and round in a one mile circle. But there’s a certain charm about doing it in the City centre of London, on closed roads, with music being pumped into the streets, random people lining up to high-five your sweaty hand and large timer ticking down the seconds as you race against the clock…even if it is dull and grey while the rest of the country apparantly basks in sunshine.
Sunday was the Adidas 1 hour city run, part of a series of City Run events that take place across the capital but, rather than running a set distance, this race challenges you to run as far as you can in an hour. One Hour. No Limits.
I was going to sign up to this a while ago but, in all honesty, the £40 price tag put me off for such a short race…however, my incessant Instagram competition entering habit finally came up trumps and, not only did I win a place, but I was also treated to a pair of the brand new Ultraboost 19 by Runners Need! Not a bad win considering these are one of my trainers of choice and I was tempted to enter the race anyway!
I’d already met some of the winners at a Runners Need event the week before so I recognised some of the gang when I arrived at the event village near St Pauls Cathedral but, if in doubt, we were all wearing the same kicks so they was easy to spot!
We were introduced to 400m hurdler Lina Nielson, who took us through a warm up before heading to the start line. There was a little bit of hanging around but we were soon off on the first lap.
The course starts at Mansion House going up to Bank, then past the Guildhall and St Mary-le-Bow church and there are chip mats every 0.1 miles to track your distance. It was a bit twisty, but not overcrowded, and there were a great group of spectators just after the 0.2 mile mat who went wild if you gave them a sweaty high-five, it was worth taking the bend wide just for that!
There are large digital clocks on the course so you can see how much time you have left and, when the hour is up, a hooter sounds and you make your way back to the event villiage, which isn’t very far no matter where you finish.
Start line selfie with the Ultraboost crew
There’s something mentally challenging about knowing that it doesn’t matter how fast you run, or how much effort you put in, you won’t actually finish any quicker…which is unfortunate because that’s usually how I sweet talk myself to keep moving forwards…
So, what’s good about it?
- However fast your friends may be, they will never be able to finish the race before you!
- The T-Shirts are pretty good quality and a good length (I hate short t-shirts!)
- The medal is chunky if you’re into the bling thing
- FREE race day photos – you don’t have to bankrupt yourself if you find a gooden’ (I didnt but ‘ere you go anyway)
- Grenade Carb Killa protein bars are given at the end, none of this apple nonsense
- There is no ‘front’ or ‘back’ so you’re never out on your own no matter where you are in the field
- There are four start waves if early Sunday mornings aren’t your thing
- The course wasn’t over crowded (at least not in my 11:30 wave)
- There are chip mats every 0.1 miles to give you an accurate finish distance (although I did weep internally when I missed my final one by 5 seconds)
- There are plenty of clocks (four I believe) round the loop so you know how long you have left
- They went plastic free on the water – paper cups on the course and cans at the finish (now if only they could get rid of the unnecessary plastic wrapping on the t-shirts…)
- I ran past Ted Baker so many times I now know what top I want to buy next 🙂
What’s not so good about it?
- As well organised as it is, I don’t believe in a £40 price tag for anything shorter than a half marathon
- The twisty course plays havoc with your GPS
- You can’t wear your club vest…
- There wasn’t any coconut water left for my wave which I was really disappointed about
- I imagine there is a potential risk of dizziness if you’re super fast…but I wouldn’t know so that’s somewhat unconfirmed
It’s a simple idea, it’s a little bit different, it’s well organised, it’s smack bang in the middle of London and they put on a pretty good show. Is it £40 good? Probs not but there are worse things to spend £40 on.