How often do you explore unknown ground, take on a challenge or push yourself beyond your limits?
These are three things I embraced on Friday night when I was lucky enough to be selected as a sub-captain at the first event in adidas Runners London ‘Unlock’ series. One evening, two teams, 150 runners. Team North took on Team South in a race around Peckham. 75 runners on each team. The goal? To be the first team to get every runner over the finish line. It was a race, but a team race. Individual successes didn’t count for anything.
The event started and finished at Copeland Park, Peckham. Each team had 3 pace groups, based on 5km time: sub 23mins, 23-28mins, and 28+ mins. My role was to help pace the sub 23 mins group for Team North. The pressure was on. Did I have the speed in me? I was about to find out.
The route took us on a 6.5 km loop around Peckham. Team North headed one way, Team South headed the other. At some point we would cross paths. The roads were dark , sometimes busy, and we were faced with obstacles (lamp posts, cars, pedestrians, uneven ground). We worked as a team to ensure the pack stayed together, and remained unscathed.
We encountered Team South approximately half way round the route meaning it was anyone’s game. We gave them a few “boos” but mainly high fives. It was a race, but community spirit took force. Everyone was there for one reason: to run and have fun.
The route offered some spectacular views, particularly from the top of Telegraph Hill. Sadly, being a race, we didn’t have time to stop for photos. That element will remain a secret among runners.
We crossed the finish line to find the first group from Team South had already arrived. It wasn’t too disheartening. They hadn’t won. We waited for the remaining teams to come back, cheering and congratulating them no matter what bib they wore.
Once every runner had crossed the line, the party started.
Craft beer (from North and South London), handmade pizza, DJ, selfie cab and photo wall. Team North and Team South under one roof, celebrating running and the success of a fantastic run club.
The energy all night was outstanding. It was a pleasure to be selected and given such an instrumental role in the event. Two days later I’m still buzzing from the adrenaline, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget how epic the night was. If I could do it everyday, I would.
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