Launch of The City of London Mile

It’s a staggering fact but a sub-4 minute mile hasn’t been run on UK roads in 28 years. But 2015 could be the year to change that says Tom Snow,  Race Director of the Amba Hotels City of London Mile.

During last night’s launch event at the recently converted and rather stunning Amba Hotels Charing Cross a select group of runners (I know, why on earth was I there?) were given a taster of the plans for the second City of London mile.

route-st-pauls-bwFor those new to the event, the City of London Mile is the only mile event actually held in the ‘City of London’. Starting outside St Paul’s cathedral it takes in a number of  London’s most iconic and historic landmarks and includes part of the 2012 London Olympic Marathon course. Organised by RunFast, the international sports management company and team behind The Running Works which recently  opened on Houndsditch, the race aims to bring back the passion and excitement of the 80s when Cram, Coe, Ovett ruled the mile distance.

While attracting a world class elite field of milers is important for the longevity and success of the event, the generosity of lead sponsor Amba Hotels and additional sponsors including Mizuno and High Five Nutrition have meant that the event is FREE for all runners.  To make things super inclusive, there are number of different categories including a youth, family and wheelchair wave and, new for 2015, a women only category.

Coming from someone who is training for 100 milers the single mile, or 1,609 metres in new money, scaramba-colm-map-web-e1424160481470es the life out of me. How fast do you start? How do you pace yourself? How do you stop yourself being sick? Fortunately, Anthony Whitman, the Mile M40 World record holder and only ever Sub 4 minute mile outdoors for M40 was on hand to calm our fears. Anthony gave a number of useful tips but perhaps most helpfully, he advised track sessions to work on pacing – 10 x (400m with 1 minute rest) being the staple miler workout, apparently.

Before we were let loose on the delicious canapés and drinks we were invited to run with Anthony and running coach Nick Anderson in a timed mile. Given that none of us had a cat’s chance of beating Mr Whiteman, the aim was to simply predict your mile time and then run as close to that time as possible. Opting for a rather leisurely eight minute mile, I changed into shorts and t-shirt and joined the others down on the Embankment. After a short jog down towards the Millennium Bridge we were off. My reserved 8 minute mile pace meant that most of the other guests had disappeared into the distance before I had got to Blackfriars Bridge. However, I resisted the temptation to ‘gun it’ and merrily made my way along the Thames. 7 minutes and 59 seconds later I crossed the line. One second ahead of target and, as it would turn out, closest to my goal. Just goes to show that sometimes, slow and steady does win the race!

Personally, I think the City of London Mile is a terrific idea. To run a sub-4 minute mile takes years of dedication and undoubtedly some natural talent but the Mile is also a distance that is accessible to everyone. Free registration opened yesterday and will undoubtedly be filling fast – Claudia and I are in already. So, sign up quick and prepared to ask yourself the question…

“How fast can you run the mile?”

Huge thanks to RunFast, Amba Hotels, Mizuno Running, High Five Nutrition and, of course, Freestak for their hospitality. 

The official launch press release can be downloaded here Launch Press Release – Final Edition


Photos courtesy of


James Poole

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