Vitality London 10000

Vitality London 10000 – our capital in all its glory and fantastic support from my fellow LBAC runners!

by Matthew Brooks


When the email was sent out to club members asking who would be interested in a place in the Vitality London 10000, I expressed an interest not really knowing what I was signing up for. Lucky for me then, that my name was one of the 6 drawn out of 9 at the Awards Dinner. I happened to be sat on the same table with Sue Johnson, a Vitality London Veteran who filled me in on what a treat I was in for.

We all have our running goals and milestones and having been informed that it was a fast course, it was time to target that PB of 41.50 and even that dream of going sub 40 minutes.

Race day dawned with warm, relatively calm conditions and I found myself on the train with quite a LBAC contingent and talked running with Fi and Stu B all the way to Euston. Not having the depth of race experience as many in the club I had not appreciated the shear scale of this race until I found myself in Green Park and they announced over the tannoy that they had had 17,667 entrants.

Warm ups ensued and then we made our way to our start in the blue zone on Pall Mall, near the front but not close enough to see Sir Mo lining up or the wheelchair race start. Having had the privilege to witness Super Saturday in the Olympic Stadium in 2012 I felt like I had gone full cycle when Jess Ennis set us off on our race through the streets of London. Seb Coe was there too and if any of you haven’t read his autobiography I can highly recommend it.

I have not experienced or benefitted from team running to the degree I did last Monday. Sam led us through the throng weaving between the masses as we made our way to Admiralty Arch. The first 1000m and my split was 4.00 dead and for those who know me, I was beginning to forget about my Achilles tendons which were doing their usual screaming act. Mike, Adam and I took it in turns to stay with him and as St Paul’s Cathedral loomed up at the 3.5km stage Sir Mo flew past on the other side of the road on his way to the 6.0km marker – I mentally kidded myself that this was because he had had a frontline start and hadn’t had to fight down Pall Mall, but we all know otherwise.

We reached the 5km marker at about 19.50 and two thoughts went through my head – either the sub-40 was on or I had gone off way too fast (as usual Warren!) – I had just clocked 4.21 for the fifth km., which would prove to be my slowest. It was at this point that Sam started to pull away and I just couldn’t stay with him although I was to find out later that he ran the second half of the course faster than he did the first.

From here on it was down to Mike, Adam and me to get each other to the Palace in under 40 minutes. I took up the challenge and led the three of us for the next 2km. I started to relax into my running and tried to remember to take in the ambience and appreciate the great landmarks of our capital city as Downing Street, the Cenotaph and the Houses of Parliament whizzed by in a blur. The support from spectators was fantastic, with steel bands, choirs and eastern drums beating out rhythms for our tired legs.

At 7.5km, Mike took the lead and as Sam had done before him, he started to pull away. This time though, I had to stay in contention and drew on all my reserves to not fall too far behind him. As we ran down Birdcage Walk along the edge of St James’s Park we passed banners counting us down every 200m – somehow these seemed to slow the passage of time down for me as I was starting to obsess with my Garmin with that all important 40 minutes approaching. With 200m I dug in and sprinted for the finish, gasping as I crossed the line in front of Buckingham Palace, just behind Mike and in front of Adam, looked up at the clock – 39.50! I’d done it, a two minute PB and smashed that sub 40 minutes.

Big thanks go to all those spectators, the race organisers, the weather, but mostly to my fellow LBAC runners without whom I would still be chasing that elusive 40 minute barrier….

Now for that next goal.


Full results below:

Place Name Time
120 Simon Coombes* 00:33:07
383 Stuart Read 00:36:31
388 Stuart Blofeld 00:36:35
667 Sam Dear 00:39:03
765 Michael Furness 00:39:45
778 Matthew Brooks 00:39:50
Adam Haylock 00:39:56*
896 Johanna Sharples 00:40:41
1225 Gareth Bird 00:42:34
1286 Laura Brine 00:42:52
1395 Alfie Blaber 00:43:19
2756 Coralie Anderson 00:48:05
4934 Fiona Towell 00:53:24
6761 Andrea Meek 00:57:18
12555 Susan Johnson 01:13:39