This time last year I came face to face with the world renowned shambles that is the British London 10k.
Fortunately, this time round I was invited to join the Surrey Housewives Set in their annual attempt to show Michael O’Reilly how mass participation events should be organised.
Under the auspices of SHS1 the humongous portaloo/baggage drop nightmare of last year was replaced by a rather well equipped room in the Royal Horseguards Hotel no less.
Here we were able to leave our bags and eye up the breakfast that we would devour as soon as we’d got the running thing out of the way. The bathrooms were worth admiring as well, in contrast to the usual race day alternative they were delightfully perfumed and had neat little piles of personal face towels.
Outside, chaos reigned supreme as the afore mentioned Michael O’Reilly forgot to organise the promised baggage buses and the hoi polloi wandered round looking for someone who knew what they were doing.
Luckily SHS1 stepped into the breach and established a start line and pronounced that the race would start in 5 mins, ready or not!
Of course Michael was not ready and so many runners had to set off with their backpacks and handbags slung over their shoulders – they should have joined the Surrey Housewives.
It amazes me that good ole Mikey can arrange for a Spitfire to be plonked in front of the Houses of Parliament each year and for the Dad’s Army band to come and play “There’ll always be an England” but he can’t sort out a functioning baggage drop.
As for the run, it was hot, sweaty, painful but also strangely uplifting – who can fail to attempt a little sprint finish when Chariots of Fire blares out at the end? If pressed on actual numbers I will just admit to having achieved a personal worst but on all other fronts this race has been pushed well into the ranks of personal bests.
At the end, we were congratulated by the Queen’s Cavalry before being ushered back to the hotel for a continental breakfast with champagne. Quality organising and my only complaint is that now every other race is going feel ever so slightly down market.