Better Late than Never

Pigeons Trafalgar Square

As usual I wake up on race day, filled with absolute dread. Looking back it seems quite an appropriate apprehension. The British London 10k had already been billed to me as being just about the worst race in the UK calendar and with just moments to go before the start I found myself enveloped in a Hitchcock movie wondering just how bad this day was going to get.

OGB finally came and rescued me from the tramps and the birds and dragged me off to the baggage drop. More angst followed, as he joined the longest toilet queue in the world and I decided that using a portaloo after 20,000 nervous runners wasn’t high on my pre-race agenda.

Where's Dan?

By the time OGB made it out of the potty zone, the holding area was deserted and we had to hot foot it to the start – 1.5 km away. By the time we arrived I was absolutely desperate for the loo but we’d missed the starting gun by 30 mins so I had no option but to clench and start running. I spent the next 10k looking around for toilets and wondering how the heck I was going to get to the end without an incident.

It was a fantastic route through central London, taking in Picadilly, the Embankment, Westminster Bridge and Millbank. It was my first road race and I did find it quite peculiar, it was hard not to stop everytime one of the traffic lights turned red. Stacks of supporters lined the streets and helped to generate quite a festival atmosphere, encouraged by the strange dad’s army style orchestras – very last night of the proms.


Apart from needing to wet myself from the very start, I had a great run, not a pb but not far off either. I felt comfortable throughout and I was able to walk at the end, which is just as well as the nearest toilet was another 2k away.

Garmin records 10.3 km in 74 mins. No official times will be reported as the organisers could only manage times for the first 400 and I would guess that I fell just outside this ranking.


Early morning runs aren’t the best, obviously you have to get up ridiculously early but more importantly you end up finishing before the pubs open. We did find somewhere open but they were only serving soft drinks til midday – what hapened to 24 hr licensing hours? My mum rang while we were waiting for the clock to strike 12 and we had a strange conversation:

Mum: Where are you?
Me: London, I’ve just run in the British 10k
Mum: Oh thats nice, were you walking?
Me: Did you just ask me if I was walking?!
Mum: Well yes because you couldn’t drive it could you.
Me: I ran – it was a running race.
Mum: You ran? How many metres did you say it was?
Me: That would be 10000 metres.
Mum: Did you finish it?

I was thinking to join in Lardathon for July but after an afternoon in the pub I had a slight hiccup in an otherwise exemplary day (beer being classed as legitimate carb replacement therapy) and polished off a twin pack of cream doughnuts. In my defence, I went shopping for the weeks groceries on Saturday and actually put back my multipack of hula hoops as I couldn’t face confessing my sins every day on the blog. I therefore claim that the two net each other off and I’m in the clear.

17 thoughts on “Better Late than Never

  1. jogblog

    Well done. And thank you for letting me win my bet that you’d do it in 75 minutes. And Lardathon doesn’t count on race day. Which is just as well as I have 3 races in July 🙂

  2. Kieren Geaney

    That picture of the birds is excellent!

    How did you rate the 10k? I did it a couple of years ago and never again. I did like the course though – the bands, flags etc.

    I had the same issue with the loo but managed to find empty public toilets at Embankment. So, doing it again next year?

  3. warriorwoman

    What’s this – a secret sweepstake?

    Kieren, I thought the organisation at the start and end was pretty much non existent. Having the toilet queues blocking the journey to the start wasn’t the greatest plan and they could have done with a one way system at the end as it was a bit of crush. Having said that, the course was fantastic and there was a real buzz from the crowd. I really enjoyed it and would do it again if just for the joy of reclaiming the streets.

  4. No wetsuit girl

    Great job! I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about with the bathroom thing. At my first marathon I wound up not drinking water for about the first 5k to sweat off all the pee that I didn’t have time to expell. In my second marathon (and this is something that you can’t tell ANYONE… no one’s listening, right?) I didn’t think I had to go, but around half way I realized that all that bouncing… well… something was dripping. No wonder the event photos didn’t post any pictures of me till the finish line! Now I try to shamelessly find a bush.

    I love the idea of a post-race pub run. I think that you should be my training partner! And yes, it IS legitimate post-race carb replacement, and also it opens up your veins to allow for better flushing of lactic acids. Stella=sports supplement. So there.

  5. Rach

    Well done!! I like your chart. For the 10K run, did you run 10.31K? Am I reading it wrong?
    I like your rationale with the crisps. I do something similar. If I have a salad for lunch, it means I can have two chocolate bars for pudding as the calories will equate to a regular lunch, ie sandwich, crisps and choc bar. I don’t like crisps, or any sugar in any of my drinks so to make up for the calorie loss I eat an extortionate amount of chocolate. Makes sense

  6. kathy

    Congratulations on running 10 km while desperately wanting to go to the loo.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. You describe things with such humour and the photos add insight.

    LOL at the conversation with your mum. My family haven’t got their heads around the fact that I run either.

  7. Kieren Geaney

    Oh I forgot to say – I also totally know what you mean about stopping at traffic lights. I felt really bad going through them at Richmond Half-Marathon.

    I guess it just goes to show that you are one of the better cyclists out there (stopping at lights) 🙂

  8. warriorwoman

    My satellite watch said 10.31k but that is not to say it is 100% correct. I did start running a little bit before the start as I was thinking the sooner I start the sooner I finish and can find a loo but there were also a couple of longish tunnels along the embankment which would have played havoc with the signal.
    Safer to assume it was 10k.

    I like your definition of a regular lunch, you’re clearly of the McDonalds generation.

  9. celeste

    LOL at your Mum. That’s exactly the sort of thing my mother would say too. congratulations on a fabulous run. 74 mins!! Woo Hoo!!! I am so impressed!

  10. Roads

    Well done, Angela.

    It strikes me that you’ve had more than a good sample of the Flora London Marathon course there, as well as the experience of running through traffic lights set on red.

    And having spent the whole of an incredibly muddy 6mile Hash run during a thunderstorm on Tuesday desperately holding off an even more embarassing Personal Evacuation Event (that’s a PEE, not lightly to be confused with a pee), you have my full sympathy in your desperate but ultimately fruitless hunt for toilets.

    So – what have we learned ? Well, it’s becoming clear that :

    1) yes, you really are going to run the London Marathon, one day soon;


    2) you’re maybe going to drink a little less beforehand and definitely take some toilet paper with you on that particular voyage.

    With quality learning experiences like those, your day sounds very well spent.

    And that’s even before the beer and doughnuts 🙂

  11. Don Smith

    Hi, I’m an Australian who has just returned home from a brief visit to the UK. I was going to run the Brit 10k but an English friend of mine (now living in Oz) warned me off running it because of the poor organisation – so I didn’t run it. I ran with the Serpentine running club instead and had a fantastic run Saturday 30 June. I love London and love the UK and am keen to try and return as much as I can.

    Well done on your 74 minutes for the race.

  12. Dr Nutrition

    Dr Nutrition would like to point out that Hula Hoops are probably the healthiest crisp/snack out there, with saturated fat lower than most ‘healthy’ snacks.
    So to equate them with doughnuts is just plain wrong.

    Dr Nutrition is saddened by this food maths of yours.

  13. stephanieontour

    Well done on the run ! As with last years Run London we finished at similar times although on this occasion I came in a few minutes faster at 70.

    Like you, I went into the race having heard all of the bad reports so really wasn’t sure what to expect. Like your friend though, I did have to join the loo queue. Definitely food for thought for next year. I absolutely loved the feeling of running around those closed streets and the crowds and the Dad’s Army as you called them were just fantastic.

    What’s next on your list of athletic adventures? Theoretically I’m doing the Great Run in Hyde Park next Sunday.

  14. warriorwoman Post author

    Well thanks Doc, I’ll make sure the hula hoops go back in the basket for next week!

    Hi Stephanie, I had noticed that you were progressing better me, I’ll try and hold my own for the next RunLondon though.

    I would have liked to have done the Great Run as well but I didn’t discover it before it filled up. Instead I will be doing Trailblazer, an offroad run organised by the Brighton and Hove running sisters.

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