I found out about the I Move London relay a while ago while browsing races in London. I was away for the weekend and had some time free to take part in an event. Stumbling upon the relay I thought it sounded interesting with the route looking similar to the one I’d done a few months ago with Fitbit.
For those who haven’t heard about it, it’s a 4,000 mile, 30-day relay in London. People are running, and importantly, volunteering day and night so that the baton doesn’t touch the ground. The run starts at Potters Fields Park, at the Tower-less end of Tower Bridge, takes you on a route that follows the Thames, once you arrive at Westminster Bridge you head across and then back along the Thames finishing off in the final kilometre across the wonderful Tower Bridge.
As well as a Guinness World Record attempt, the relay is raising money for three charities; Laureus, Sported, and The Running Charity.
Coincidentally, some friends from my running club were in London on the same weekend so we all signed up to stage 481, at 7.30pm. The start was really easy to find and I’d picked up t-shirt from the Asics store the week before, so I didn’t need to worry about making my way over there.
We were greeted by the marshals, signed our names of the gazebo and waited for the group before us to finish their lap. Once we saw them in sight, the foghorn went, we cheered and then we posed for the handover shots.
It was then our turn and we were sent off with foghorns, pom poms and cheers! In our group, there was the four of us from running club and Dan, our group leader, who knew the route and we put in charge of the all important baton.
What I learnt in the first mile.
London is busy. Very busy. Likely tourists, and there were a lot of them! It made it all the more exciting though, and I ended up dodging my way through them without any accidents (the baton was safely in someone else’s hands).
We were running, jogging, walking, at stand-still but we saw so much of London that we wouldn’t have ever seen or known about. From street food markets to graffiti on walls. It’s all part of what makes London, London.
At times we kept loosing members of the group, mainly due to the amount of people. Dan was also in a hurry so that he could take a quick break before heading out on another 10k lap. We navigated and stop-started at times and in the next breath we looked up and the London Eye was towering above us.
This pleased me in the sense that I knew we’d be on the home straight. I’d made a bad decision of eating a BLT less than an hour before running (I was starving and it meant eat and be even more starving) so I was starting to feel sick and had a little stitch coming on. Add to that it had been 28 degrees that day!
Westminster Bridge was also super busy but once we crossed and went down the Embankment (aka going in the opposite direction to the last mile of the London Marathon) we were able to pick up our pace. It was cooling off and the sun was nicely setting making it one of the prettiest times to run the route.
With the Thames to the right, we held our noses – breathing through the mouth only – as we ran past a bin depot (stinky bins plus hot weather makes a really bad combination). Once past this part, Tower Bridge was in sight – not long to go! My stitch passed and I could visualise how little we had left to go.
Running over Tower Bridge in the sunset was an amazing sight – even though we were yet again tourist-dodging. We were then had a corner to go and we were back into the park with the foghorn, the pom poms and cheers. We even received a surprise medal! Passing the baton on to the next group I was happy to sit down and take a sip of water.
After we’d sat around chatting to the volunteers and had a good stretch, we saw stage 482 come in so gave them a cheer before heading off for some well-deserved pizza!
Sadly, due to a change of plans, I can’t make it down to London this weekend to take part in the final 5k stage but urge you, if you haven’t already, to sign up!