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City of London Mile launch

by Supemum Cally
Tuesday 24th February 2015
Tags  Amba Hotels City of London Mile   |   City of London Mile   |   Amba Hotels   |   Mizuno   |   High5

Event feature: Run247's Supermum Cally  went along to the launch of the 2015 Amba Hotels City of London Mile

I was fortunate to be invited to the stunning Amba Hotel, Charing Cross to hear all about the launch of the 2015 Amba Hotels City of London Mile. The evening started off full of promise as I sipped a Bellini in one of their many beautiful function rooms.

The race was launched last year to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister’s era-defining run when he broke the four minute barrier for the first time, the widely praised and highly acclaimed Amba Hotels City of London Mile is back and it is the perfect summer race for everyone whatever their level. And best of all it’s FREE to enter.

This year it is taking place on Sunday 14 June 2015, it is a fully road-closed and chip timed race, it is also iconic, fast and flat. Starting at St Paul’s Cathedral athletes will run towards Mansion House before swooping down towards the Bank of England. This not only combines two of London’s most iconic locations but also provides a fast a start. Runners will then join onto the London Olympic Marathon course, looping past the Guildhall before the sprint finish along Cheapside.

The Amba Hotels City of London Mile consists of five events: Family Mile, Youth Mile, City of London Mile, International Mile and new for 2015 the Women’s Mile. This year the race has an option for everyone and there are set to be more Family Mile waves to allow more children to experience this race than ever before.

As someone who usually runs 10k to half marathon distances, I was initially skeptical about the point of running just a mile. Tom Snow, Race Director and Anthony Whiteman, two time Olympian and first person to run a sub 4 minute mile over the age of 40, easily sold the concept.

They explained that one of the most common training mistakes that runners make is to run the same course, covering the same distance each time you run. You almost never see leaps in your speed and performance. But, by mixing up your training to include shorter, faster sessions you can see gains in your speed that you may not have thought to be possible. As someone firmly stuck in the 8-9 minute mile rut (no matter the distance), I would definitely benefit from something to challenge (and change) my performance.

Anthony Whiteman described how he encourages people to train who want to increase their speed as well their endurance. Firstly, you have your ‘training’ runs. These are the runs where you run at a pace where you can have a conversation. Then there are your ‘tempo’ runs, now you should be running at a pace where you can’t speak a full sentence, but can manage one or two words. Finally, you have your ‘session’ runs; this is where you go all out for a shorter distance, where you should be pushing so hard that you can’t manage any words at all. You should be aiming to include at least one of each of these types of runs each week.

On top of the speed benefits of going all out for a shorter distance, the mile is a truly iconic running distance that has captured imaginations for generations around the world. The mile offers something for everyone, whether that is in the front of the pack, running a race for the first time, running for charity or getting children involved in a healthy lifestyle.

The race is organised by London’s largest independent running retail store, The Running Works. Peter McHugh, Director of The Running Works said “the ethos of The Running Works is to use our resources to encourage people to find inspiration from running, just as I and many of my staff have. Our aim is to develop a running community unlike any other and by making the event free to enter with the generous support of Amba Hotels we are providing access to everyone.”

Despite the alcoholic refreshments on offer, the launch evening also included the chance to run a mile with Anthony Whiteman. All the participants were asked to estimate our finish time, with prizes to those coming closest to their predictions, just to give us a little added competitive drive.

I am always concerned about getting injured and this stopping my regular running, so I decided to give a conservative estimate (7:59) so that I was less likely to get any niggles afterwards. Also, we were joined by some heavy rain, which did add some caution to my stride, but also made me very keen to get to the finish for some shelter.

We slow jogged a mile down the Embankment towards Blackfriars and after removing our GPS devices, we were off! I can’t say that I enjoyed the run back as much as I had the gentle jog out, it hurt, I couldn’t chat to fellow participants who I fell into stride with (although I had a few conversations in my head), I had no idea whether I was on track for my target, but I knew it didn’t feel like I could go on for that much longer.

There was a little tourist dodging too, due to the popular route we were on, but all in all, the mile was finished before I knew it (well 7 minutes 29 seconds later to be precise). On reflection, I think I could have gone faster and I would be keen to try the mile again with some distance markers so that I could more accurately gauge how much distance I had left vs. how much my legs and cardiovascular system had to give. I was way out with my estimate, but some of the other participants seemed to understand their capabilities far more accurately and they were fortunate to win prizes donated by race sponsors Mizuno, Amba Hotels and High5.

Once we arrived back inside the warm and welcoming hotel (looking rather more bedraggled than the other guests), all talk was on who was going to be taking part in the race itself. Amba Hotels Brand CEO, Belinda Atkins said “Everyone at Amba Hotels is very excited to be headline sponsor of the Amba Hotels City of London Mile for the second year. The race is in an iconic location in one of the greatest cities in the world and this year in particular we are looking forward to an exciting year for Amba Hotels, as we are opening our second hotel in London's West End this summer – the Amba Hotel Marble Arch”.

In addition the event will be working closely with charities the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund and the Weir-Archer Academy (created by World Record holder and Paralympic champion David Weir) and all entrants will have the chance to raise money for or donate to these charities.

There are also exciting plans for some of Britain’s and the world’s best athletes to compete at the event in the International races, with a generous prize money structure building considerably on last years.

Mizuno UK Marketing Manager Rob Henderson adds that “I’m absolutely delighted to support this event”, he continued “our company purpose is to contribute to society through the advancement of sporting goods and sport, so the Amba Hotels City of London Mile is the perfect run for us to get behind with its unique philanthropic approach. It also allows us to talk about our ultralight racing shoes, brilliant for the mile, in a really cool way.”

After enjoying a few more refreshments I headed home and decided that, as I was pretty wet anyway, I would run to Liverpool Street. With that, on top of my run home from my local station, I clocked nearly seven miles (only one was at sub 7:30 pace). Not bad, but now I’m confused if it was my session run or my training run, I’d better start getting more organised with planning my different runs in the week!

I’m looking forward to doing the mile ‘for real’ in June, but think I’ll be aiming to compete in a family wave with my children, run or walk, I think we’ll all enjoy it more!

Remember it’s free to enter and could really give your pace the jolt it needs!

You can go to www.cityoflondonmile.co.uk for further details and for registration

Follow the race on social media: Facebook and Twitter


About The Author

Supermum Cally

Run247 has got its very own Supermum joining the editorial team. Cally Shanley has just got back into running after a six year break, during which time she has had two girls (Amber, five and three quarter years old and Melody, one and three quarter years old) and started a new job

We are looking to get Supermum Cally to try out some of the latest products, review some of the races and generally tell us all about her journey back into the world of running.

You can follow Cally on Twitter @runsupermum


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