Thousands of runners took to the streets of London to run for their mental health and wellbeing at the 2023 Vitality London 10,000 as the race took place in its new September slot in the event calendar.
On a warm day in early autumn, runners packed The Mall to take on the course that includes some of the most recognisable sights in the capital.
The wheelchair race kickstarted the Vitality London 10,000 and first across the Finish Line by Buckingham Palace line was Richard Chiasarro in the wheelchair event, completing the distance in 24:36, with Claudia Burrough first female wheelchair finisher in 28:30.
Behind the fast finishers, thousands of participants enjoyed the autumn sunshine and iconic route as they made their way past the likes of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bank of England, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, before finishing in front of Buckingham Palace.
After winning The Big Half earlier this month, Jack Rowe crossed the line first in 28:13 in his final race before the World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga next weekend.
“To be able to run like that is a really good indicator of where I’m at,” said Rowe. “It was great to see my mates around the course, and for those five seconds I completely switched off from running or racing.”
Sonia Samuels was the first woman to cross the line in 33:01, despite not feeling in the best form ahead of the event. The Sale Harrier adding: “Coming down Birdcage Walk felt like finishing the London Marathon. The crowds were amazing and it’s a race you should put on your bucket list.”
Chiasarro was thrilled with his debut at the Vitality London 10,000, saying he was pleased to be enjoying racing on the road. For Claudia Burrough, crossing the line as the first female wheelchair racer today was a dream come true after taking part in the event several times as a club runner before a nerve condition impacted her ability to walk.
“I did this event with my running club, running around with my friends, so it’s crazy to have finished first today,” she said.
The Women’s Running Wave was started by Holly Taylor and Esther Newman, of the celebrated Women’s Running podcast, before the new for 2023 Run to Overcome wave got underway. The wave saw participants join a group of like-minded runners to enjoy the positive benefits of exercise on their mental health. In association with Mental Health Mates, runners supported the #DoItForYou campaign in their masses, including some well-known faces.
The wave was led by Mental Health Mates founder Bryony Gordon, with personality Scott Mitchell, actor Jake Wood and influencer Shareefa J also running.
It was a proud day for a group of refugee runners from Iran, members of the Coopah Run Club, who were taking part in their first mass participation event. The group of runners crossed the Finish Line with their coaches, who had designed a dedicated eight-week programme for them.
Campaigners Richard Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori crossed the line together in a show of unity against repression in Iran, hands clasped and arms aloft. Anoosheh was previously imprisoned in Iran and Richard campaigned for his wife’s Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release from prison, also in Iran. The Vitality London 10,000 comes days after Iran’s Parliament passed a bill toughening penalties for women who don’t follow Tehran’s dress code, with prison terms of five to 10 years a possibility.
“I promise you, even if you’re not a runner, if you start doing 10 minutes a day, you will soon experience the positive effects of running on your life,” said Anoosheh.
“I’m here today because of Anoosheh!” said Richard. “Until today, the longest I can recall running was a 5K at school, so today was quite daunting, but Anoosheh paced me round and we ticked off the kilometres, one step at a time.”
Also taking part was Shakira Suzia, who ran for Muslim Sports Network with the aim to encourage more Muslim women to get involved in events like this.
She said: “It’s about representing, because if you don’t see it, you don’t believe it. Fitness does so much and being outdoors does wonders and it keeps you young.”
Runners across the country were also completing their own run, as part of the virtual Vitality London 10,000, with all finishers receiving a finisher’s medal and finisher’s T-shirt.
The Vitality London 10,000 was also an opportunity for the UK’s best club runners to compete in the club competition, with male and female runners vying to win separate prize funds totalling almost £3,000 each.
Additionally, the free Vitality Wellness Festival in Green Park offered exciting free activities for children and the chance to run on the Vitality Tumbleator, a giant treadmill, on both days.
The Vitality London 10,000 comes the day after the Vitality Westminster Mile, which saw thousands of participants of all ages and abilities taking on a series of family-friendly mile events.
Entries are now open for the 2024 Vitality London 10,000 on Sunday 22 September.