On Friday I headed down to the big smoke for The Running Awards. I was kindly invited by Strava to join other bloggers for a run followed by a Q and A session and a balcony seat for the awards at the O2. I left London with a goody bag, loads of selfies and really sore feet and I didn’t even run the marathon!
The Run
A stretch of the legs was what I needed after my train journey. I joined up with Laura Fountain from Lazy Girl Running, The Mohican Runner, Sarah from Dreaming of Footpaths and Jenni Morris from UKRunChat.

Led by some of the Strava team we ran along the river and up to Greenwich Park. It was a bit damp and drizzly but the view from the top was great.

I got a PB for the time it took me to change from runner into award ceremony attendee! Munching on a Clif bar and clutching a Strava bag with a great long sleeved top and heart rate monitor inside I tottered over to Indigo at the O2. (Note to self; return shoes and get size smaller)
Bloggers united
One of the things I was really looking forward to was meeting lots of my online friends. Oh the luxury of having more than 140 characters at a time. Add in a few glasses of champagne and I chatted away for hours! So nice to meet Susie ChanRunners Knees , Jenna Mccallion, the rest of the Fitness Rewards gang and at long last my blogging friend Mirka Moore from Fitness for Mamas. We’ve known each other virtually for so long but not managed to meet in person. She’s a super-experienced blogger and so generous with her hints and tips. We just had to get a selfie!

I had a good old chat with Julie Creffield from Too Fat To Run about how to get the inactive active and the role of GPs; I love her drive and passion. I was so pleased she picked up the Best Blog Award later in the evening.
The Q and A
Lucky us, we got to speak to Mr Strava UK himself, Simon Klima; Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Parkrun; and Martin Yelling, running coach and co-presenter of Marathon Talk.
It was incredible to hear about the rate that Strava is growing at. Strava is Swedish for ‘to strive’ and describes itself as, ‘a social network for athletes’. No longer just the domain of speedy competitive cyclists there’s something for everyone. Tom described how non-competitive people, including beginner parkrunners can use it to connect with others, share accomplishments and inspire each other. I was amazed by this statistic:

The Awards
You can go the The Running Awards site for a full run down of the winners but I had four highlights.

  1. Seeing Sam Mollaghan pick up the Inspiration in Running Award. She’s the runner in the This Girl Can campaign and we all know what an incredible success that’s been. She was so genuinely happy and shocked to be getting the award and it reminded me what an empowering force running is; it was a lovely moment. 
  2. UKRunchat getting silver in the Best Online Community Award. As the resident GP and active member of this community I felt really proud. There’s nothing quite like the #fastesthouroftheweek when the whole community is online but there’s support there at every hour for ALL abilities and it’s a thriving, growing family. 
  3. Women’s Running claiming bronze in the Best Magazine Award. I’ve been their GP for several years now and every issue is packed full of advice and inspiration. I always read it from cover to cover.
  4. ZaaZee getting shortlisted in the Women’s Clothing Brand Award. I discovered ZaaZee a small independent company last year. I adore their high quality fabrics and simple but stylish cuts. It was brilliant to see them up there with the big boy brands (or should that be big girl?!)  

..and finally
I topped the evening off with a catch up with Nell McAndrew and Lucy Waterlow. I was honoured to contribute to their book, Nell McAndrew’s Guide to Running which was shortlisted in the Best Book Award category.

We had a moan about high heels as we hobbled out of the O2 after a great night. Once out of sight of the venue I shoved the heels in my bag and slipped on my smelly trainers. I’m glad to say there’s no photo of that look!
What a brilliant evening. Running, laughter, friends and a little bit of champagne 😉
Well done to ALL the winners and thanks so much to my hosts Strava.

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