The mile. Four laps of a track, plus an extra 9 metres for good measure. It’s not something I can say I’ve ever raced before. In fact, not many people in the UK are likely to have, seeing as it’s a distance that has been missing from UK race calendars for some time now. So much so, that it’s been 28 years since anyone has run sub 4 minute road mile in the UK, despite it being a record that was broken some 60 years ago.
Enter, the Amba Hotels City of London Mile
The mile is an iconic running distance, for which TV programmes used to be interrupted in order to show the mile being raced back in the 50s and 60s. But you don’t have to be a super-speedy sub 4 minute/miler. It’s an achievable distance that anyone can run. Whether you plan on setting a PB time, or just taking part in a race for the first time, the mile is something that can challenge you without having to be ultra fit.
And best of all it’s FREE to enter.
Its sponsors, London based I.T. firm Computers in the City, the Running Works (London’s largest independent running retail store) and international sports brand Mizuno, have all made sure that the Amba Hotels City of London Mile can remain a free race – the only free mile race in the UK. Yet that hasn’t stopped it being chip timed, on fully closed roads, and even rewarded with medals!
Taking place on Sunday 14 June 2015, with the start and finish line next to St Paul’s Cathedral (billed as being the best started backdrop for a race in the world), the route takes in some of the historic sights of London and also covers part of the 2012 London Olympic Marathon course.
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. The event will also be working closely this year 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.
Preparing for the Mile
I attended the launch event last week where Anthony Whiteman, Olympic middle distance runner, and Commonwealth Games medallist, gave his tips on how to prepare for the mile:
- Train at three paces – aerobic (speaking pace), tempo pace (can say a few words), session pace (can’t speak!)
- Run 10 x 400m reps with a minute rest between – this should be at your session pace and once you can do this, it sets a precedence for your mile time
- Wear light, loose clothing, and a light racing flat shoe – Anthony recommends anything under 200g, though I think he’s being picky!
- Prevent going off too fast by training at the intervals mentioned above – you may go too fast on your first rep, but you’ll learn from it by the time you’ve done the rest!
- Care about the seconds – if you can shave a few seconds off your mile time, imagine what that can do to your 5k, 10k and more.
Entries for the Amba Hotels City of London Mile are now open, but there are only 6,000 places so act fast to get yours!
You can enter here: http://www.cityoflondonmile.co.uk/ I have!
Photos courtesy of the Amba Hotels City of London Mile and Freestak.