It's Chriiiiistmaaaaaaaaas!!!!!!!

It was grey and wintry, but it didn't stop Forest Fitness Runners bringing their best back to the Olympic Park for the Christmas 5k & 10k.

Construction work around the park meant that the course was different to last year. 2 compact and flat loops for the 5 and four for the 10.

We had two groups running this year. Walker 2 Runner and Runner 2 Racer. It meant there was a fantastic group of 20 of us racing.

Everyone brings something different to a race.

If it's your first time then it's a mixture of nerves about the unknown and the excitement of a mass race.

You might be looking to beat your personal best, thinking about your positioning at the start and your pacing through the laps. When to sit, when to push.

You may be using the race as rehab. Testing the body to see if your recovery is on track.

Whatever it is, at the start there's a stillness and a concentration then you're off. The crowd mill around you as you work to find your place in the field, find your own race. Pacing is important. The excitement of a mass start pulls you along then you settle into your rhythm and the race begins.

The lapped course makes pacing easier and it was flat (no towpath section this year) which meant you could comfortably open the stride and not have to change gears too often.