On a nice, bright and warm Sunday morning I took myself for a walk down to the park and signed up last minute for the 10km distance of the local Race for Life. After turning my bad ankle, yet again, at a training session I had wanted to wait and see how strong I was feeling before deciding on the distance. I had arranged to meet my friend and training partner Linda before the race and we decided to run together.
As they called over the runners to the start line, before the joggers and walkers, we edged our way as close to the start point as possible, before they counted us down and we set off.
Linda and I edged around the runners at the front, leaving only a few people in front of us, as we made our way on our first lap of the park. It was a route I’m now fairly familiar with after our frequent virtual runs round the park. We pushed up the hill, around the play park where people were cheering and we edged around a few more people but as we headed towards the reservoir around the back of the park we heard some people gaining on us, this turned out to be fellow RPCCer Amy Moore and her friend Kelly. They breezed past us, and Linda turned to me and said “They are going to be first, we are going to come joint second!”
As we made our way back down towards the main part of the park, we picked up a bit of speed down a hill, but my ankle was aching a bit, I might have moaned that I wished I had only signed up for one lap, but we pushed on, Linda never once looking annoyed at me slowing the pace. We ran around the end of the park back up towards the start line and took the left hand path to continue for a second lap, the Heart FM MC giving us a shout out from the stage as we ran past.
As we started our second lap and hit the worst hill the park has to offer, I felt like I was really struggling, with some cramp in my stomach and a dull ache in my ankle, but Linda wouldn’t let me stop and insisted we keep running. She was determined no one was overtaking us, and that we would be finishing together. As we got around the back of the play park for the second time we started to catch up with the people that were walking, this slowed us down as we weaved in and out of people yelling “excuse me, excuse me” as we passed.
The people we passed were really encouraging, cheering us on as we ran past them. The closer we got to the finish, the more we had to dodge other people, the main part of the park being particularly busy with both participants and spectators. As we headed towards the finish for the final time, we grabbed hands and sprinted to the end. We hadn’t been passed and so had completed in second place behind Amy and Kelly for the 10km distance.
We had managed to finish the run in 52mins which is only one minute slower than my quickest 10km, despite the weaving around people and painful ankle, Linda having really made me work as she is a much faster runner than me. This was the first time I have run Race for Life and I really enjoyed it, running with Linda is always good fun and it was a lovely day, with the added bonus that it is a run for charity, raising vital funds for cancer research, a cause very close to my heart.
There was a lovely atmosphere in the park, from the hundreds of ladies running, jogging or walking in pink, to the support from the spectators, and it’s defiantly a run I would do again and encourage others to take part in too.
Once we were finished we hung around in the park enjoying the sunshine, until hunger got the better of us and we headed off our separate ways to go home and get something eat!