Monday, 18 November 2013

MoRunning in Manchester

With November now comes one thing - MOUSTACHES. The month where whenever you meet a young man with a bit of bum fluff on his upper lip you inwardly decide whether he is either a full time Shoreditch twat or a participant of Movember. Mostly its the latter.

Along with Movember, the last few years have also seen the rise of MoRunning - a series of 5K and 10K events around the country where men and women don a 'tache with pride and run around their local park all in the name of raising awareness and money for men's health issues, specifically Prostate Cancer and Movember. 

Whilst the previous day had seen weather of biblical proportions raining down on Manchester, last Sunday the morning was clear, crisp and sunny. Armed with my ritual race nails (see below) and some eyeliner (more on that later) we headed to Heaton Park. But my god it was cold!
Moustache Race Nails

On arrival we collected our race numbers, donned the provided Mo Running headbands, cracked open the eyeliner and drew on our mustaches. We were ready to rock this!

Fighting faces

I was so thankful for that headband, it certainly helped in keeping us warm! 

The best thing about the MoRun is the atmosphere, there is always an overwhelming sense of FUN. There are no starting corrals and although there were more runners than last year, its still a small race and I think the race benefits from this and it adds to the atmosphere. The anxiety found at the start line of other races is replaced by a party, and I didn't feel any pressure like I occasionally do at other races. Granted this is mostly self inflicted, but for some reason I always let myself off for this run and only want to enjoy it. And I certainly did! 

The 5k runners start first, then us 10k-ers are released to run two laps of the 5k route around the park. Now, Manchester is a pretty flat place, but not Heaton Park. There are hills here! The start of the race is a little congested on the narrow park pathways but a little into the run people find their own pace and seem to spread out, particularly by the second lap. The main problem today though was the ice on the paths the sun hadn't yet reached, which meant you couldn't run full pelt and were forced to run with caution at times. That said, I didn't see anyone stack it and everyone was really helping each other and warning of slippery patches, adding to the camaraderie. What with it being a small race there was little crowd support on the route, apart from the amazingly cheerful race volunteers, Sunday morning park goers, and of course the crowds at the start/finish line where the party seemed to continue whilst we ran.

After my first 5K lap I was feeling good and enjoying the run. I always thought I'd hate doing a two lap route but I find I actually quite like knowing I've already done it once and knowing what's coming up. Although I might not feel the same for a longer distance race.

At about 8K I noticed that I had plenty of space to run on the course and realised I was running with mostly men, and had been for a while. Part of the course loops back on itself and I noticed two women up ahead, and realised I'd not actually seen any other women for ages. Last year I surprised myself by coming fifth out of the women in the Manchester Mo Run and for some reason I thought if I overtook these ladies then maybe, just maybe I might do as well this year. Well Competitive Crand joined the race there and then, and off I went. I picked up my pace with the aim of overtaking my way past these two women. For some reason these were now my sole competitors. On and on I ran and I soon overtook the first girl....then powering through I continued past the ducks and geese, past the dog walkers and hurrah, past the next woman I could see. And there it was, the end was in sight. I continued with my faster pace and ran through the barriers lined with people cheering, and bounded over the finish line. Hurrah! I looked at my watch - 49.28 and the first time I'd NOT achieved a PB in any race I'd ever run. Ever. 

But was I sad with this? HELL NO. 

It turns out I came third out of all the women. THIRD! Bronze! I would be the one with the hairy chest! Me! Hurrah! I'd never placed in a race or been anywhere near the metaphorical podium before! 

I grabbed a water, picked my way around the muddy barrier and stood at the finish line, cheering on the steady stream of runners now coming through and waiting to cheer on Ellie as she dashed over the finish line herself.

So there we have it, no PB but a third place for Crand. But the best thing about the race? The atmosphere.
It was a great route, a lovely stunning sunny day and I was just having a day where I was happy to run for the FUN of just running and with no self imposed pressure. And I enjoyed it. ALOT. 
We would love to chat, but we really MOUSTACHE

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