When my alarm went off this morning I considered turning over and going back to sleep, but I would probably regret that decision for quite a while. Just time enough for a slice of toast and a cup of coffee before I have to leave and catch the 6:37 to Waterloo.
I’d been instructed to be at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park for a 7:45am start, so I’d planned to get there for about 7:30. I arrived on time, although sitting on a packed bus in my running shorts felt a little uncomfortable as the short shorts exposed almost all of my pale and hairy thighs to the Friday night stragglers and sleepy commuters. Thankfully it is a short ride from Vauxhall to Marble Arch.
At Speakers Corner there were a number of small groups of runners congregating so I made my way towards the biggest and most animated.
“Excuse me. Are you here for the group run thing?”
Smiles and nods.
Soon, I found myself in the company of marathon and ultra-marathon runners.
“So how did you find out about this?” asked a girl who turned out to be a seasoned UK Ultra-marathoner.
“Are you Tweet-Stalking Scott too?”
“Yes”, I responded with a sigh of relief. I was among like minded runners.
We all chatted, established what sort of distances we were running and slowly more and more people arrived. I was also not the only Ultra-Virgin – so that was a relief too. At 7:45, a group of around 20 of us had gathered, all energetic and enthusiastic distance runners. In the distance a sea of red and yellow appeared, the club runners had arrived – and in force. Scott Jurek’s entourage.
We took a short run down to Hyde Park Corner where some more runners were waiting. After a quick intro by Scott, in which he spoke of Vegfest and some running he had done up in the lake district – we all headed off (about 50 of us) with Scott and some bods from Brooks Running UK for a 6 mile jaunt along the Thames.
“When I read on the website ‘conversational pace'”, I said to Andy – a half marathoner I was running with. “I wasn’t concerned, until I saw how many ultrarunners they were. I wondered what ‘conversational pace’ is for a runner of that distance, I was worried I would not be able to keep up”
“What on earth one has a conversation about on an ultra is another thing,” chirped a fellow runner. “the meaning of life, maybe?” Good point, I thought.
The run along the river was amazing, and I got to run a good third of tomorrow’s Half Marathon course (phew). Post run, after some sweaty handshakes and photo ops I headed back. It was great meeting Scott Jurek, he’s a really nice guy. And today’s run gave me fresh confidence and inspiration for not just tomorrow’s run but my future endeavours too. I ran today 11seconds a mile slower than my HM race pace and i did the entire run in full conversation. What a great day!