Sunday, 26 May 2013

Westminster Mile 2013

When I signed up for this race I was in the middle of an 3 month injury to my foot and didn't know if I'd actually make it to the start line.


Fortune had it that I did make it to the start line, but after the lay off I was not in as good condition as I would have liked to have been. During the sign up process the website asked for a predicted finish time, so I optimistcally put down 7 minutes.

About a week before the race I received my pack which contained a guide to the day, my race number, my timing chip and a baggage tag in case I wanted to leave my bag in the bag drop area while I raced.

Buckingham Palace

The course starts halfway along The Mall and takes you around the outside of St. James's Park until you reach the finish line just outside Buckingham Palace. It's about 3/4 of a lap of the park.

Green park is used as the main area for all race related stuff such as the changing areas, toilets, information tent, water stations, etc etc.. There are plenty of spaces for supporters to watch the races but most tend to gather just outside Buckingham Palace near the finish line, which creates a really good atmosphere as you round the final corner.

My supporters (including mobot attempt)

Everything is very well organised, all you need to do is be in the right place at the right time, wearing your number and timing chip that were sent and the rest takes care of itself.

My race number had me in the blue C starting wave, which meant that I had to be in the C start area in time for a 10am start. Small, individual races are run throughout the whole morning and set out at around 5-10 minute intervals.

The start

I had never raced one mile before so had no idea how exactly would be best to run it. I decided to just run and if I got it wrong it would be a good lesson for next time.

As we set off down The Mall I felt good, but pretty soon after turning the corner into Horse Guards Road I had a sense that I should have started a tiny bit slower. Still I pressed on and before I knew it I was passing the 800 metre point (also known as 'half-way'), I glanced at my stopwatch and it said 3.15 - On target for a 6.30 finish time.

My last few agonising metres

Once you turn the next corner onto Birdcage Walk there are markers every 200 metres, plus a 100 metre marker just before you turn the corner into the final straight. I'll be honest and say that during the second half of this race I was complete agony and did not enjoy it all at. I just wanted to stop. Maybe that's just what one mile races are supposed to feel like.

Post race hugs

Upon reaching the finish straight I had nothing left in me and couldn't sprint across the line, I just tried to maintain my pace as best I could. Looking down at, and stopping, my stopwatch as I crossed the line I was surprised to see that it reported my finish time as 6.10.

Once my timing chip had been removed I followed the road around to the goody bag and medal distribution point and then exited back into Green Park before heading off to find my supporters.

You have to have the medal (and stopwatch) shot!

I'd definitely be interested in signing up for next year's race to hopefully try to better my time, and in a shock piece of the news the wife also said that she quite fancied signing up too.

Later on that evening the results appeared online and gave me an official time of 6.14 - My result

(31 May) EDIT: An interesting point to note is that a few people have commented on Westminster Mile's facebook page that their own timings were 3-4 seconds faster than the official published times, which seems to point towards my own timing being correct.

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