London Expo, Runderwear Run and The Running Awards

“Do one thing that scares you everyday” Eleanor Roosevelt.

So awhile back my cousin Katie, sent me a link she had seen on Twitter about The Running Awards and a Bloggers Forum. Fancy this? She sent. My initial reaction was NO WAY, I’m not really a blogger or a ‘proper’ runner. I know how stupid that sounds, because I would be the first to write – if you run, you’re a runner, but I wasn’t sure I would fit-in at this kind of event. I didn’t tell her that, I think I sent an equivocal response like ‘that looks fun‘.

A few weeks later, Katie sent me more information about it, and it said that we get a free set of personalised Runderwear if we sign up. I have been a big fan of Runderwear for a long time, so this had me sold. I wrote about my love for Runderwear back in 2016 here.

Kit gifted from Runderwear

Fast forward to the week prior to the event, an email is sent with all the details, and the run was taking place at 2pm. Katie sends me a message to tell me that she can’t get out of work, so couldn’t do the run, but we could still meet after and go to The Running Awards together. Oh no, oh no, panic sets in. I’m not a proper runner, I can’t go on my own. What if they are all super fast? What if we are expected to run in only the Runderwear? – I’m not really the shape that should do that! I consider missing the run too.

After deliberating for a few days, I decided to stop missing out and be brave. What could go wrong? I might actually enjoy it.

The night prior to going I posted the above photo, the caption exposing all my insecurities about not fitting in and not feeling like a true blogger. I am so glad that I did. The messages I got on that post where so lovely. Other runners that were going messaged me, and it felt nice to connect with people prior to getting to the event, and even knowing that they were nervous too.

I have always been a fan of the London Expo, and as soon as I knew I was going to be heading to London, I wanted to fit in a visit there too. Perfect timing, as Tina, one of my club mates is running London, and she was heading to the Expo on Thursday morning, so I asked if I could join her.

The conversations on the train were interesting. I will never be able to eat a Twix the same again! Best not to ask, hehe.

Heading to the expo, I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. It is such a special event, and even though I am not running it this year, I feel the excitement for those that are. Also, the London Expo is my happy place. It’s just full of people that love running as much as I do! I got to catch up with friends there and meet lots of new people. I was so lucky to win a £30 gift voucher from Sports Direct (My next raffle prize in MNDAD@70 is now sorted!). I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked – I reckon I could easily hang out there for the entire 3 and a half days that it is on, and I wouldn’t get bored!!

Special!!!

I left the expo and headed to meet up with the Runderwear and Secret London Runs group. This was the part of the day that I was most nervous for; attending on my own, being completely out of my comfort zone!

When I got on the DLR, I spotted and Paul from Pick Up The Pace Paul Great I thought, I can just follow him, he is bound to be going. I knew the train journey was about 20 minutes, so I jumped on instagram trying to share some stories, next thing I know we are at Tower Gate, I look up and Paul is gone! I cram everything into my bags and run of the train – I nearly miss getting off! Great start. I head out of the station and immediately spot another lady wearing a runderwear t-shirt. I hurry along to try and catch her up, assuming she knows where she is going. Luckily, she has to wait at the crossing, so I accost her. As I ask if she is attending the same event and can I follow her (Yep, weirdo alert!) The girl on the other side of her, says that she is going too, so we all walk to the event together.

I was so lucky that it was Lauren from Girl Running Late and Abby from Running Abby. Both of them were so warm and friendly and made me feel that I had made the correct choice attending on my own.

So, we met next to Millennium Pier, and most people were already in their kit, I was not, and pretty much realised immediately that there was no where to get changed. I was so relieved that I had at least put my Runderwear on in the morning, so it only meant I had to strip off my top and shorts. So there was me, worried about having to run around London in my underwear, and instead I was hid behind a van stripping off. Not sure why I hid, as the place was packed 360. At least it was a bit of publicity as I changed, as rularuns was displayed across my backside!

After changing, I couldn’t see Abby and Lauren, so I went and stood by a group of runners. Stupidly, I didn’t stride over and introduce myself, I just stood on the outskirts of the group, they looked at me, and that’s when I felt really awkward, and wonder why I was there.

Luckily, after what felt like an eternity, which, in real life was probably about 30 seconds, I spotted Lauren and quickly went and stood with her.

Some of the runners stripped down to have photos in just their Runderwear There was a part of me that wanted to strip down too! I would NOT have looked like them, but that was why I wanted to do it – to show that runners come in all sizes. I didn’t have the confidence, but I realised that I really should stop feeling like I don’t fit in, looking around the group there was a variety of ages and sizes – running really is for all! As London Marathon have hashtagged this year #everybodysrace

Secret London Runs and Runderwear spoke to us, and then we were put into groups. It started with, “anyone running under 7 minute miles, stand over there. I think 2 people moved; there were plenty of runners capable of running under 7 minute miles, but lots were running London Marathon on Sunday, so didn’t want to be pushing it now. That group was then extended to anyone running 9 minute or below miles, there was a middle group for 10-11 minute miling and then a 12+ group. I opted for the middle one, but then the groups were uneven, so I volunteered to go with the 12+ group. I had nothing to prove, so really wasn’t worried about what pace I was running.

First stop a church ruin.

I have never taken part in a running tour, but I am definitely keen to go back to Secret London Runs to complete another one soon. Vanessa was our guide and she was very knowledgable and engaging. Within a 2 minute run from the hustle and bustle of Millennium Pier, next to the Tower Of London, we were in the most tranquil church ruins that has be made into a memorial garden.

Within the 4k run, we were told things I had never even thought about in London and taken to places I didn’t even know existed. I am so keen to book another tour with them. Abby has said that the Christmas Lights one is lovely.

Photo courtesy of @secretlondonruns
Photo courtesy of @secretlondonruns

After finishing the run, my main concern was finding somewhere to shower. Many of the bloggers had booked hotels in London and were staying over. If I was to do it again, I would definitely be doing that. Instead I hit google maps trying to find a local gym. I noticed that there was a Bannatynes’s on Old Broad Street so headed there. I have a membership with them near where I live, and although I knew this didn’t give me access, I thought it may allow them to give me a discount on the day pass.

I used to be good at following directions, but for seem reason, I seemed to go round in circles for a while! When I got to Bannatyne’s eventually, the receptionist said that I would need to pay the £20 for a day pass – I didn’t mind too much, as I appreciate they are a business and I wanted to use their facilities, but I thought I’d try my luck and ask for a discount. She called her manager and it was agreed that I could use the facilities for free. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Bannatyne’s!

Quick shower and operation look presentable, and I was out the door heading to meet Katie. Luckily that was pain-free and we were back down to Millennium Pier with 30 minutes to spare. I had spotted a subway close by earlier, so we headed in there. I knew that there was food on the boat, but I hadn’t eaten all day and I just needed to sit down!

I was a little apprehensive about attending the running awards and bloggers forum, as I just didn’t know what to expect. The invite had said, Smart/Casual, so I had a dress on with trainers, which I worried may have been too casual, and when we arrived there were some very glam people, but I decided to just feel confident in what I was wearing, there was not much else I could do!

The Running Awards were everything I wanted them to be and more. The Bloggers Forum took place on the lower deck and the main awards upstairs. We had some inspirational speakers present, (which I ought wrote about in a another post) and then the awards were shown on a TV. There was plenty of free Prosecco being handed around, we had a meal and then lots of desserts were brought around. Our table seemed to attract the dessert waiters a lot!

So what did I learn from this day! I still ❤️ running and the running community. I need to say yes to more things. Life is too short to say NO, you miss out too much. If you say yes and it goes wrong, then you look at it from another viewpoint, and work out what you have learnt from it!

Thank you to Runderwear for the gifted pants and bra, to Secret London Runs for the run and the Running Awards for a great evening. For transparency I paid £15 for a ticket for the Running Awards, but the run and Runderwear was gifted. We were gifted some other items, but I will do a separate post on them.

What things have you said yes to lately? Are you glad you did? Let me know in the comments below.

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