Over 1,000 runners will swarm the streets surrounding Guildhall this evening as the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay celebrates its 10th anniversary in the City.
Bloomberg's 10-legged relay race has been exported to financial hubs in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Sydney and New York but returns to the site of its inception in 2007 on Thursday evening when more than 100 teams representing some of the biggest City's players — from magic circle law firms to international investment banks — race through the original Square Mile for business bragging rights and a £5,000 cheque to donate to charity.
Last year's winners Barclays beat runners up JP Morgan by to the title by just under a minute last season and managing director of race organiser Square Mile Sport Nick Keller foresees similar drama between the established powerhouses of the race.
"It is competitive, there's absolutely no doubt," Nick Keller, managing director of race organiser Square Mile Sport, told City A.M. "You always see Barclays, Macquarie, Legal and General and J.P. Morgan are always vying for the top spots.
"Barclays have had a strong few years but I remember in the early days it was Legal and General who put in some phenomenal performances. It is a dramatic race."
"I remember the 2008 race in particular because after nine miles there were just 11 seconds separating the top three teams L&G, Barclays and Deutsche Bank," he added.
"Going into the last mile, you had absolutely no idea what was going to happen, it was a superb race. There's been some dramatic moments down the year."
With teams made up of high-performing workers from some of the world's most successful companies operating in one of the world's fastest-moving financial districts, competitiveness on the course is to be expected.
But Keller — who founded the event in 2007 — stresses that the race is just as much a team-building exercise for many entrants.
"The great thing about the relay aspect of it is you can have someone who is hugely active, or someone who is not so active, and they’re not up against each other but part of one team that comes together very nicely," he explains. "The joy of the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay is that it’s there for everyone."
For those 1,150 lining up outside Guildhall tomorrow, where thousands of spectators are also expected to gather, who don't have the experience of a JP Morgan or a Barclays currently plotting their approach, Keller has some advice; stop worrying, get your head down and go for it.
"Don't pace yourself," he says. "It's a sprint. Head out at a strong, strong half pace for the first mile and then it's a sprint. Actually, a mile goes really quickly when you're all out.
"I get the impression people up their pace a little more in this race because it's just got that excitement level, that adrenaline level."
|What you need to know about the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay|