In July, ASICS treated two members of staff from each store to a weekend away in London with all the trimmings – transport from Scotland, head-to-toe ASICS kit, entry to the ASICS London 10K, a meal, accommodation and an experience to remember. Working for a running store has its perks! We asked two of those lucky enough to attend – Natalie from our Run4It Dundee shop and Audrey from our Run4It Edinburgh shop – to tell us about their experience...
Like the cat that got the cream
Let’s just say, as staff perks go, getting to compete in a sponsored 10k in the capital city with all expenses paid, has to be one of the best. With staff going from every store there was no way that this trip wasn’t going to be amazing.
With an early start on the train on Saturday I arrived in London around 2pm in the afternoon. Turns out I was not dressed for the weather on arrival. I got onto the train in a lovely downpour and off in 24 degree heat. I made my way slowly to the hotel via the ASICS store on Regent Street (a slice of running heaven), grinning like the cat that got the cream.
After dragging myself away from the shop, I made my way to the hotel and lying there on the bed was my brand new ASICS kit. Armed with the advice of my manager, I grabbed my new Gel-Nimbus 21 shoes and headed for Hyde Park to get my feet use to the shoes that I would be running in the next day. The park as expected was alive with people going about their day-to-day activities and soaking up the sunshine. After an hour of walking, I had sweated though my clothes, so decided to head back and shower before meeting the rest of the team for dinner.
Meeting up with the Run4It squad
ASICS reps had asked us all to meet in the bar downstairs at 6pm for some drinks, before heading off to Ask Italian restaurant (a carb classic) which was situated a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It wasn’t only Run4It staff that had been invited along by ASICS, but also a few other independent running stores, mainly from England, which gave us a great opportunity to get to know new like-minded people and talk about running, in particular running shoes! There was 24 of us in total (including the ASICS reps) who spent the evening chatting all things running over pizza and beer. Pre-race bliss!
There was a buzz in the air over the prospect of the run and the sights that we would be seeing the next day. Some of us had commented that this would be our first race outside Scotland and for myself it was by far the largest in terms of the number of runners. It quickly became clear that most of us were so enthralled with running in the capital that we were there to enjoy the sights and atmosphere rather than get PBs,
The hardcores went out for a couple of drinks afterwards, whilst the majority decided to head back to the hotel and get a good night’s sleep and sort out their kit for the next again day.
On the morning of the race, a few of the group had to go to the start line early to collect their bibs that had not arrived in time, whilst the rest of us enjoyed a buffet spread at the hotel and then took a stroll across Hyde Park to the start line.
The race had one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced – with a real carnival feel. The streets were lined with spectators, cheering everyone on, offering sweets and morale support. Kids were lined up at many points looking for high fives, this kind of atmosphere was really infectious and made you want to smile the whole way round. Music was played at roughly each kilometre mark, some were live bands, some were DJs but either way it was really fun to listen to and help distract you from the soaring temperatures. The route itself was amazing, taking in some of the best sights in London such as Big Ben (albeit under scaffolding just now), Westminster Bridge, the London Eye, the River Thames and Parliament Square.
I among others, had decided to go steady and soak up the atmosphere – enjoying the shaded parts of the route and the water spray sections. Before I knew it, I was nearing the finish line which was nicely situated at Trafalgar Square. Upon the finish line you were handed your medal and an ASICS London 10K tote bag full of goodies such as Just Water, Michelob Lager, a KIND bar, nuun hydration tab, PowerBar gels and more!
Virgin Sport and ASICS did a great job of reducing plastic use by using recyclable cups at the water stations and positioning recycling bins within tossing distance of runners (though my aim admittedly got worse the further into the race I got).
We shuffled away from the finish line and congregated at the ASICS gazebos at the top of Trafalgar Square, to get a victory finishers’ photo of the whole squad with Nelson’s Column behind.
The atmosphere in the finish area was amazing, with so many people enjoying the sun and riding on that runner’s high – the freeing, euphoric feeling of having just finished a race.
After some chat everyone was free to go their separate ways, some of the group were heading back to the hotel to change and others were going off to do some more sightseeing and shopping, with everyone getting separate flights and trains.
All in all an epic weekend! A huge thanks to ASICS for their hospitality. We will definitely be back.