Well what a weekend it has been !!
Sunday morning I got up bright and early at 5.30 am – when I say I got up bright and early I mean it was early and I was awake. Luckily I had made the decision to stay at my parents which meant a breakfast of hot tea and toast – yummy. I then wandered down to Witton at 6.15 am as instructed to catch the bus with 90 odd others from Blackburn Road Runners to go on a day trip to Chester. Why go to Chester – well to run of course !!
I had been privileged enough to have been given a place on the metric marathon – like a miles marathon but in kilometers so 26.2 Km which equates to about 16.4 miles – still a distance to be respected.
As the start and finish were on the racecourse and I had a pony costume I felt that is was only fitting that I should wear it and Sally suggested I name my pony Chester x I rode Chester on the bus and whilst walking around the race course all the time I was doing this I noticed one thing. When people saw me and Chester they smiled ! what an amazing thing to be able to do – to be able to give other people the gift of a smile !!!
I also had a lot people wanting to come over and stroke Chester – he was a very popular pony! I know a lot of people showed concern that riding Chester all the way round may be considered cheating or that it may be quite hot – I also was asked a number of times if I was actually going to run the whole course with this adorable pony – I found this a very strange question as I think you would be kind of crazy to dress up to go for a run then take the costume off at the start line !!
As myself and several others made our way towards the start line I began to think about how I wanted to stratagise the race – did I want to run hard and see what Chester and I could do or did I want to enjoy the run and embrace the atmosphere ??? Talking to others at the start a few were beginning to say they felt nervous and did not know if they were up for the distance.
That was the moment it hit me – I had been given this number for a reason – and that reason was to help other round, and I had found my victims – sorry I mean the people I would run with. I told Kate and Linda that I wanted to run with them. I did warn them that the way I would get them around was to talk all the way, something I think they thought I may not of been capable of – but don’t worry I managed it.
So the race itself – what can I say it was just beautiful ! starting through the City with Kate educating us on why the houses were built upwards rather then out (ground rent wasn’t cheap back then). We then moved out into the beautiful countryside. We chatted happily along the way and got to the amazing point where we could see the elite marathon runners on their home stretch. Prior to the race I had asked Bertie a fellow BRR member how he would do and he thought he would struggle to get in the top 20. As the first runners came past we cheered them on and we counted how many had gone past – then we saw him running towards us out own Bertie – he was in 11th place I screamed loudly to let him know his position. We continued to shout the names of the runners from their numbers as they flew past which was fabulous when they wished us luck back and thanked us. That is other the the embarrassing moment when I called good luck Paul and the large pack of runners we were in corrected me – his name was Phil – oopsie.
We had gathered quite a group of us together and we were all encouraging each other we went into ‘Mum mode’ when ever we saw a runner stop we asked if they were OK. We talked about many things on the route including the fact that I was dressing up in preparation for London 2017 as I have a charity place (the significance of which I will divulge later).
The great thing about this particular course is that the Metric and full are timed to join up and run together for the last portion of the run. It was so uplifting and rewarding to be able to cheer on the marathon runners whilst running along side them it really was an eye opening way to view a marathon.
By mile 12 I pretty much think I was the only one talking and I remember saying lots of times it is just putting one foot in front of other and as the distance towards the finish got closer how you would not dream of putting your trainers on for such a short distance. Kate and Linda continued to run strong and we also picked up a lovely lady named Rach from Penny lane along the way that we kept a check on and a couple of other runners.
It was now getting tough running conditions in the heat and a distance that many had never run before.
Linda started to develop a stitch – she had eaten porridge for breakfast that she would not normally do – I did give her a little telling off that you should not do anything different on a race day ! I talked her through her breathing but I know it was tough. As we reached ‘race angel hill’ there was a clear difference in strength from Kate and Linda – I ran up the hill and saw some of our own BRR – what a fabulous sight for sore eyes I wanted to hug them all. I told them to look after Linda as I ran up the hill. I said to Kate I would look after Linda so Kate ran off alone ahead which I know was a difficult thing to do but she had to keep moving forward and I did a little run back for Linda.
I cannot express how amazing it was to see her run with such clear determination, knowing that she had a stitch and how painful it can be she kept going – kept that one foot in front of the other until we were there – we were back on the racecourse – the cheers of the crowd pulling us along to the finish – the finish that was a sea of blue and white and a sound wave of familiar voices.
Once we had collected our medals goody bags and t-shirts it was time to join the rest of BRR for a BBQ and Prosecco. I let Chester have a rest while I chatted to other runners about their race. I also had a lovely chat with our neighbouring club in club corner – Warrington. They were a lovely club and much like BRR. They were very impressed by our number and how supportive we were to not only our runners but to other clubs too – I think we may see more club BBQ’s next year.
I also was approached by a runner from Pennylane – it was Rach the young lady who ran with us. She wanted to thank me for helping her round – which I thought was a lovely thing to do. She also went on to tell me she had just received her first new £5 note. Whilst on the run she had heard me talk about my plans for London and the charity I was running for. I was not aware but there is currently an internet campaign encouraging people to give their first new £5 to charity. Well Rach had received her first new £5 and wanted to donate it to my London Charity fund ! I was so touched by this wonderful gesture, I had only heard of people doing these things I had never actually witnessed it.
After a long day we headed home on the coach where I played see if I can get drivers to wave at a mad woman on a coach waving a pony ! and let me tell you quite a few did ! I then went home for a much needed hot bath and a large glass of wine.
Why have written such a long post – well I wanted to share the amazing experience I had on a fabulous run with the most fabulous people. I want to encourage others to have belief in themselves I hope Kate and Linda don’t mind me saying but at the start line they both doubted themselves – but they did – they ran the distance and crossed the line. I just privileged to have been part of their journey.
Due to my own issues I am not ‘racing’ at the moment as the pressure for times is too great so after a run please don’t let your first question be did you get a good time – but it should be – did you have a good time.
I loved seeing the smiles on faces of people when they saw me in my pony outfit and I quite liked the number of compliments I received about my bottom (am blushing a little).
I am sure in the lead up to London I will bore you all with these long posts – just remember you don’t have press continue reading 🙂 but I hope at least a few of you do Xx #brrproud #djrow #puttingthefuninfundraising