I’d like to say thank you to Strava and the Running Awards for looking after us Bloggers before and during the Awards. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone that voted for my blog which meant I could be shortlisted and attend.
As I made the two hour drive I pondered on how surreal the day felt. I joined twitter Christmas 2014 and started my blog a year ago, in that time I have talked to and met so many like minded spirits and that’s the beauty of our running #community, so, as The Clash once said it was “London Calling” !!
On arriving at the O2 I’d pre booked parking so there was no stress involved there and I had all afternoon to take in the sights and sounds of the area as well as the London marathon exhibition. On walking towards the O2 I saw this sign in memory of Prince which I thought was a nice touch, what with it being such an iconic music venue. Later that evening there was also a sign that referred to the weather … “Purple Rain” 🙂
As I caught the tube/train across to the Excel there was no doubt it was London marathon weekend as I saw countless club T shirts. I chatted to 2 Welsh runners on the tube and chaps from Exeter & Hull while waiting for my return trip. The Excel was a hive of activity with runners collecting their numbers etc before entering the Expo.
I’d sum up the Expo by saying it was like being a kid in a sweet shop. My highlights were meeting Mike Gratton of 2.09, talking with the chap from the Lock Ness marathon (“If you’re going to put yourself through hell, you might as well do it in heaven”) and the enthusiasm of the Runtastic people. The Runners World Trailblazer lady was very interesting and I told the Saucony people how much I like my Peregrine 5’s.
I noticed the time was getting on so I made my way back to the car, full of anticipation for our run with the Strava guys out of the Intercontinental hotel that’s just behind the O2. A number of people including the bloggers had been invited to go for a run with the Strava representatives before the Awards and attend a Q&A chat with Parkrun COO Tom Williams, Strava UK’s Simon Klima and Marathon Talk’s Martin Yelling. As I registered I recognised Runners Knees (ukrunchat’s Darren Smith) from our twitter conversations and we were paired up with room keys to change in the hotel and shower after (separately) 🙂
As we stood outside the hotel for a quick H&S chat our group included Susie Chan & Shaun Marsden, Runners Knees, the The Mohican runner (Richard Hayes) and Nikki Jones, who is a local blogger and friend of mine, as well as her also being shortlisted for the Blog Award. I also chatted with Ryan from Ireland and Shaun about his recent Arctic adventure. As we reached half way this group selfie in Greenwich Park, from Susie, summed up the informal chatty run that we’d been on. The 6.6K also ran along the Thames to give us that “London” feeling.
I apologise to the other guys for not remembering your names. We headed back, showered and changed and as we walked over to the O2 Indigo Rooms I chatted to Ian Visser who concentrates on speed, hence his twitter name & blog being called Sub what ? The awards styled “running man” outside was a reminder that there would eventually be winners later that evening but to be honest I was chuffed with my shortlisted lanyard.
The other Strava groups gathered in the Balcony bar as well as our guests for the Q&A. We talked about the impact of parkruns, the growing strength of Strava with photos to develop more of a social media side and all three guests kept up a lively and interesting chat with the banter we have come to expect from Marathon Talk. Food, drinks and more chatting followed in another bar and then it was time for the Shortlisted bloggers to join the rest of the “downstairs” invited guests.
Photos : The Balcony bar & the dinners downstairs.
With wine and beer available on the table I carried on with my coke (hey ho !!) and I chatted with Rhona Red wine runner who’d come down from Scotland to combine the marathon with the awards. I cheered loudly when Absolute Running placed third as they are my local running shop. Equally I’ve chatted to Andy Palmer recently from White Star Running so it was great to hear their name called out by Mike Bushell from the BBC who was hosting the night. Well done to everyone that was either shortlisted or in the top three for all the categories.
In the end my Blog didn’t feature in the top three but I’m pleased and proud with how far it has progressed and the new running friends that I have made along the way, in our great running #community. Happy Blogging !! & there’s always next year 🙂
PS I may add more photos of the night as they become available.