London has a massive running culture, you’ve probably seen local running groups jog past you as you drag yourself to the corner shop on a Sunday morning in need of milk and Honey Nut Cheerios. You’ve likely heard of illustrious groups such as Run Dem Crew, who regularly take over London’s streets and who’s popularity has snowballed since their inception. London’s passion for running culminates once a year with the world renowned London Marathon, a massive celebration that knows no boundaries and manages to generate excitement each and every year come rain or shine. While this 5km with Nike and Kevin Hart was far from a marathon, it was the longest distance Adam and I had ever run, so did we even make it to the finish line?
It’s fair to say that up until now we’ve not been the runners in the family, we’ve always left that to Derek and Tahirah, who’s conditioning far exceeds our own. While I spend most mornings before work in the gym and Adam spent countless years swimming for his county, we both glare at the treadmill and see straight through to it’s devilish spirit. For this reason I’ve stuck to the weights and Adam to the water. To suggest we were brimming with confidence at 8am as we walked to Battersea Park would be a big fat lie. Fishing for excuses I’d even said the night before that if it was raining I’d be staying in bed, fortunately we’d been blessed with near perfect running weather.
Our enthusiasm was definitely given a little boost as we approached the start line and were welcomed by Nike’s encouraging display and hospitality. I’m not sure I’d expected quite so many people to turn up to Battersea Park at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and run for five kilometres but seeing such a diverse and hyped up crowd was definitely a big reassurance. Before the race began Kevin Hart took to a small platform to further lighten the mood with his hilarity and provide some inspiring words. He said something along the lines of, ‘I’m gonna stay until each and every one of you has finished but I got a lot of shit to do today, so you better hurry the fuck up and finish the damn thing!’ I was ready.
We somehow found ourselves just metres from the very front of the crowd as the race began, I’ve never had so many people pass me by in all my life… At this point though we were committed to finishing the run without stopping and so we were happy with our steady pace, besides we had no expectations of blazing past even semi-experienced runners. Our pace meant that at no point did either of us feel particularly uncomfortable or at risk of stopping. Most of all though I think we were spurred on by the group aspect of the run, in the past I’ve disliked running because I’ve done it by myself and been too in my own head, my internal monologue convincing me what I’m doing is a waste of time. In this case though the spectacle of the crowd or just a few people around me was a distraction from my thoughts.
While I’m sure we could have kept going was the distance longer, seeing the finish line was a relief and with Kevin Hart personally welcoming everyone across the line we sprinted to the finish. Even our recovery time was impressive, there was no lying in a heap on the floor for the next twenty minutes as I’d expected, instead we revelled in the endorphin rush and took a few pictures for keepsakes.
So are we fully converted to the runners church? That’s probably a bit rash. Believe it or not though, I have been running to the gym instead of walking everyday since and we’d definitely take the opportunity to do such a run again. We’ll see how a 10k goes before we jump into any marathons but if anyone wants to hand us the challenge, we accept!