Sunday, 17 July 2016

Finishing first and returning to my running roots

This morning, five years after running my first ever race, I came first in the Race for Life 10k in Cardiff!

I'd entered that first race (also a Race for Life) to raise money for cancer research when my mum was ill, so it felt nice running well on her birthday today. I wouldn't usually enter the RfL but I wanted to run while I was home for the weekend, and do a run with my sister who is in training for her second half marathon in Oct. So we ran while her husband and kids were our supporters.

Sisters doing it for themselves
In a sea of pink I made my way towards the front and set off. These runs are non chipped and the emphasis is on taking part and raising money - as it should be. There are plenty of other races to get your competitive spirit on! That's not to say I wasn't running hard though.

As we set off, two girls were ahead of me and totally pegging it. As I was admiring their strength and running clobber (a distraction tactic I often employ) I thought they must also be doing the 10k option and looked forward to running the rest of the race with them. But just as I was about to take the 10k turn off, they sped on straight through, leaving me with no company other than the bike leader who was waiting for some 10k runners, but was greeted by just little old me. He mounted his bike and off we went, him thankfully guiding my way through a very twisty turny and confusing route, whilst I pretended I was Paula Radcliffe leading the marathon.

I usually hate a 10k, it's too long a distance to go hell for leather but it's too short to run more comfortably. But I enjoyed today, despite the long sections of running on grass and running the whole course alone.

As I hit an out and back section I kept my eyes peeled for my sister - not easy when everyone is dressed the same. But I saw her! We did a high five and both kept going. Then I was soon running towards the finish as the bike in front radioed in to say the first 10ker was coming through. I couldn't believe it - I laughed as I saw my time (42.20!) and then collected my medal before meeting up with our support crew.

Katie had told me to run without her but I said I'd run back and find her after I was done, so we could finish together. I met her at about 8k, and as we ran towards the finish we laughed about me finishing first and celebrated Katie achieving her goal of not stopping. Just before the finish line, my little nephew joined us to run the rest, while Gav ran alongside us with my little niece in the buggy. It was a right old family affair and a good laugh.

It was the longest Katie has run since before having her first baby, and the only time I've ever crossed a finish line first - so it was only right that we celebrated with some prosecco at Mum's for lunch.