Run For Osteoporosis 2014, Hyde Park, London, UK

I am temporarily based in London for a work attachment so I decided to join this run last Saturday (October 25, 2014) to get a first feel of the racing scene here.

This would be my first race in the UK – apart from Singapore, I have also taken part in races in Greece and Thailand – so I thought I’d share this experience with you and try to make a short comparison with the running scene in Singapore.

The race route was 2 loops in the north-east part of Hyde park, passing by Serpentine lake. A very flat terrain offering a run uninterrupted by cars and traffic. Hyde Park is a great place to run, and fellow blogger Jason has already made a photo-post about it, check it out here.

Registration and pre-race

Forget the fancy top-level-domains and well designed HTML5 websites that you get in Singapore. For this race (and many others that I have looked through) you just submit a form through organiser’s site and pay through either a third-party website or by posting a cheque (!!!).

The price was GBP 20 (approx. S$40) for either the 10km or 5km race. I should note that as stated on the organiser’s website “A donation from each entry will go straight to The National Osteoporosis society; just by participation alone you will be helping”.

There would be no race singlet or race pack collection day. Basically you show up at the race, check in, get your bib and run.


According to the website and pdf booklet, the starting point of the race would be “The Bandstand”. Keep in mind, Hyde Park is 2.5 square kilometres; to put things in perspective, the whole Gardens By The Bay area is 1.1 square kilometres. Stupidly enough, I didn’t think to ask for clarifications.

I came in walking from High Street Kensington, and met the west corner of the park first. There was a map which showed a bandstand located up north, so I made my way there. I got to the bandstand but nobody was there. I recalled having seen another bandstand near Serpentine Lake (south east corner of the park) so I thought to check that out. After about another 25 minutes walking I made it there, just 10 minutes before flag-off.

Warmed up from all the walking I was ready to go and glad I had set off early so I didn’t miss the race.

Flag off

Not a very big turn around compared to Singapore races. My estimate was about 300 people. Looking at the finishers list, I see there were 236 for the 10km and 80 for the 5km.

I picked up my bib and dropped my bag without any delays. There was a short warm-up session, the necessary safety announcements and off we went.

Now, I am not a particularly fast runner. I have a timed PB of 51m:07s for 10km, and 2h:01m for a half-marathon. Still, I always find myself in the top 20% or so in Singapore races (judging from the few races that release percentiles).

I was really surprised by how fast everybody was. I did the first km in 5:20 yet I was still getting overtaken all the time. I tried to keep up that pace all the way to the end, but got cramps after around the 6th km so I had to slow down. I am not a big fan of running loops, but there were a quite few turns and changes of scenery so it wasn’t so bad. I should note that the only hydration point was passing the start line, which was about 5km into the run.

All in all, it a very comfortable run, and the unusually nice for London weather played a big part. Big thumbs ups to the little boys and girls “marshals” cheering along the way and handing out gummy bears. And to the lad playing his guitar for us at around the 3rd km.

osteoroporosis run 2014 london route map
Running route as recorded by my Sports-Tracker app.

Post race

A finisher’s medal, more gummy bears and a bottle of water were waiting for us at the finish line. The finisher’s bag contained tea (it’s England after all), cereal and a few vouchers and samples.

I ended up doing the 10km in 58:07mins, which placed me in the 70th percentile! Obviously, I am not into competitive running, but this was still quite surprising. Of course I am not saying that the British are faster than Singaporeans, and I don’t have enough data to support any argument, but my theory is that people who are not seriously into running do not bother to join races here(John, what’s your take on this?). Running has become more of a trend in Singapore than most of the other parts of the world – which is not necessarily bad!

On the other hand, this was a rather low-key race, so I will try to join more events for as long as I am here and let you know.

After hanging around for a while, I changed and made my way home walking through the park. It was a nice Saturday morning!

I hope you enjoy the photos and looking forward to hearing your thoughts and overseas racing experiences 😉

Posted by TheRunningAngmoh
October 28, 2014 19:55
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  1. hahaha my fave bit of the review : searching for the bandstand !!!!

    wow envy … u got to take part in a race in Hyde Park !
    and i like the medal !
    i dun have many medals … but i’ve already grown bored of them (so many are shiny metal pieces)

    The Brits are faster . This was just a run around the park literally lol … i think u need compare London Marathon for a more accurate comparison!

    Nice Review … enjoyed reading it … brought back memories of the place thou it was only 4 mths back

    wished u had more pics !

    btw, another place to run which i could not is Greenwich !

    • hehe, yeah as said cannot conclude that brits are faster… my main point is that less individuals join, so the average race-goer is faster 😉

      I haven’t got more pics from this race, but will sure post more!

      thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Nice review, and you have summed up the differences well. In the UK, my experience is that most races are more about the race than the race pack! Coming from the UK, I found it surprising here how important the race pack is to Singaporeans. In the UK, you normally just get a number, and sometimes a t-shirt and that’s it. Obviously for big races like the London Marathon you would get more, but not for most regular races. There is definitely less mass participation like there is in the UK, although running is popular with the masses, but many would not enter a race such as this so you probably found yourself mostly up against club runners or keen amateurs. Also, being on the weekend many people live outside of central London and would not want to come into the city again on a Saturday when they spend all week commuting. There are so many ‘low key’ races on in the UK every weekend that people would rather run in a smaller town/village than in the middle of London.

    As for the lack of hydration stations, this is probably explained by the weather. I am back in the UK this week and have barely broken sweat when running. In Singapore I would be dripping and so hydration is much more important. I ran 14k here this morning and did not take any water nor did I feel like I wanted any. 1 hydration station would be pretty standard for a 10k in the UK.

    Hope you enjoy your stay. You should try a parkrun on a Saturday morning or look for a race outside the centre of the city to get some different experiences. Good luck!

    • Great discussion topic! Before moving here I had only ever run in the UK and once at the Chicago marathon. You are pretty much noticing all the same things I did in reverse.
      Agree with Ben;
      1) on general pace – this is a small event which seems quite niche. Most towns and cities have similar events so personally I would never travel all the way to central London for a 10k from where I lived.hence this attracts a more ‘serious’ runner. Plus I do think there is a bit of an attitude of ‘do it properly or dont do it at all’ which definitely doesnt exist in SG!
      Try to find a parkrun 5k somewhere while you’re there for a broader representation of runner/fun runners.
      2) race packs! Wow they were a revelation to me here in sg. I only ever had a pack before at the London marathon. Usually the bib is posted to you. Personally I am not a fan of race packs and I’d rather have nothing and not have to travel to a mall and queue up for a third I will never wear!
      3) hydration. I don’t think I have ever stopped for a drink at 10k or less, as Ben says because apart from about 5 days a year you just don’t need it.
      My observation here is that the vast majority of runners in races are not even slightly competitive (meaning they don’t seem to race against other runners) wheras in the UK even the slower runners are competitive and will chase eachother down.
      Great post and shows how differently the same sport is adopted into society!

      • interesting topic indeed!

        yeah it seems everything is much more oldschool and hardcore here.. apart from the no-race-pack, I also found it hard to find a proper running website.

        At the end of the race we were given a hardcopy running calendar of UK which listed the personal emails and handphone numbers of race directors! hah

      • Interesting comparison. I’ve only got the SG experience and you’re right about the race packs. My t-shirt/singlet cupboard has doubled and I don’t wear any of them because they don’t fit well.

        Would love to experience a run in a cooler climate like the UK or Oz (my home country). It’d be nice not to be dripping from head to toe every time I run or cycle or even just standing still.

        Great post overall. Look forward to hearing more.

    • Cheers for commenting –

      Parkrun is in my list, it sounds fun and it’s free 😉 I would love to join more outside London but I don’t drive and live very central… so it’s not that easy. Hopefully when the weather gets better (does it ever in the UK? hehe) I can make a day out of it and join some at cities around.

      As for hydration, no issues with that too. Could have done the 10k without it 😉

  3. BTW I am pretty confident the ‘pace/standard’ point applies across Europe. US I think is somewhat more like SG in that there are lots and lots of FUN runners. Perhaps Because it’s so bloody cold in northern europe you only do it if you’re a bit obsessional!!

  4. Oh yeah, another thing: I noticed here the raise money for a charity of your choice is kinda big. I didn’t quite understand how it works… Are they requirements (timing etc)? Do you have to join any groups? It seems that many events have special allocated slots for fundraisers? Has any of you ever done it? If so plz shed some light.

    • this really only applies to the biggest runs, like London Marathon and Great North Run, because they are always hugely oversubscribed, a lot of charities will offer ‘golden bond’ places for runners who guarantee to raise a cetain amount of money for them. Usually this is at least 1500GBP, so it’s not a trivial thing! I did it once and just managed to raise the amount, but only because my company at the time had a ‘charity double up’ scheme so I actually only had to raise 750.
      Its the only way to get a place if you dont get in through the ballot or have a good for age time, so they are very popular.


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