h1_bkg

The Standard Chartered Great City Race featured the best-dressed audience I’ve seen on a sporting occasion

Last week, three months almost to the day
after the London Marathon, I took to the streets of central London once again,
surrounded by thousands of people running for charity. Roads were closed, and
people gathered around to cheer on the runners.

The distance was a little less dramatic,
mind. Instead of the 42 kilometre marathon, this was only a 5k. The name was
nice and long, though: the Standard Chartered Great City Race.

Standard Chartered Great City Race

And, mysteriously for me, instead of
running by myself, I was part of a team of intrepid Third Sector adventurers
pounding the streets along
with 6,500 other runners for the benefit of the charity Seeing is Believing, which aims to tackle avoidable blindness,

There was a lot to like about it, too. The
staging ground, on the Honourable Artillery Company Ground near Moorgate, was a
beautiful location, with some pretty heavy duty architecture going on all
around. And the route was pretty spectacular, weaving through the towering
marble office buildings between Moorgate and Bank. The spectators, consisting
mostly of lawyers and financiers who worked in the surrounding area, were
comfortably the best-dressed audience I’ve seen in the flesh at a sporting
occasion.

There’s something disconcerting about
taking part in a sporting event while being watched almost entirely by posh
blokes in suits drinking G&Ts, but I suppose now at least I know how polo
players feel.

Indeed, most of the entrants were from the
same firms of lawyers and financiers, so there was a pretty similar demographic
on the route, as well. I was left with the nagging feeling that I might
conceivably be the worst-paid runner taking part.

Fortunately, though, I wasn’t the slowest,
finishing about a third of the way down the field, which I was pretty pleased
about, because attempting to run quickly is still something of a new skill for
me, after six months spent training for a marathon by running around Regent’s
Park, extremely slowly, being overtaken by overweight ladies and
septuagenarians.

This time, I even beat a couple of the
journalists from Runner’s World.

Indeed the Third Sector team as a whole
proved pretty sprightly, with two of my fellow runners well ahead of me in the
draw, and even our fundraising reporter coming in halfway up the field, despite
spending approximately three days before the race telling everyone that she was
extremely slow and would probably come last.

What the race did do was serve as a useful
bookend, because I’ve decided that it officially forms the first day of my
training for the next marathon.

Having raised so much money for charity in
2011, I am planning on running again in 2012, although this time in Brighton,
because I like the variety and the sea air, and because it’s easier to get a
place.

Anyway, with a bit of luck I’ll be back
soon to update you on my attempts to run and raise cash for charity, so expect
to hear more from me over the coming months.

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