The tortoise and the hare



*makes W winner sign with fingers*

Yes, yes I know, 40,000 other people did it aswell, but yesterday I took to the streets with my running buddy and we conquered the Manchester 10k.

I have a love hate relationship with ‘running events’. I want to be part of it, I love the atmosphere but then there is the fear that I just could be last, that last person over the line with a chain of cars behind me waiting for the roads to re-open.

I run for my sanity – as I think many people do. If it were a weight loss thing, I would be so disappointed. I run because it gives me time to escape, to find me again and as I pound the pavement having a natter, the worries of my world slip away for 40 whole long blissful minutes. 

And judging by the increasing number of illuminuous running jackets in the playground, consumer research would suggest I am not alone.

Mel Gibson was so right in Want Women Want. You don’t stand in front of a mirror when you run and wonder what the road will think of your outfit.

I have entered a number of 10ks over the years, mainly through being coerced into it by friends and I’ve have different success rates. 

Undoubtedly the worst one was the Abersoch 10k which has haunted me for years. Having run for over 12 years, I figured I could plod round any fun run, so I wasn’t too concerned when a group of us girls signed up for it. We mooched on over to Abersoch the night before, had a lovely dinner and somewhat confidently I even enjoyed a glass or two of wine.

In the morning, we sauntered down to the beach when it was casually pointed out to me that we would be running along the beach for a mile, jumping over beach groynes before running uphill for approximately 5 of the 10k. Oh and it was raining. And it was windy. And for the uninitiated Abersoch is blinkin hilly.

I laughed – a little nervously – and looked round for the other fun runners; desperately searching for Spongebob Squarepants or Mr Bump. I was greeted with the view of 250 elite athletes.

I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. Elite Athletes. Tight. Toned. Muscular. In tight pants and everything. Ready to smash their 10k personal best.

It was then it hit me. I stood no chance. 

I did it. I paced myself with a 60 year old athlete. I got round. And I wasn’t last. I used every single last breath to beat the 60 year old over the finish line.

So yesterday I was a little nervous that I would once again be pacing myself with a 60 year old runner. Luckily it wasn’t the case, Spongebob was there as was Yoda and Darth Vadar. I was once again confident I wouldn’t be last.

And then there she was…my running nemesis. The stop-starter. Coming in many different guises, the style is always the same. She runs FAST and then WALKS slow to catch her breath. I over-take as I plod along – and then I hear her behind me, catching me, running past me, before she has to walk again. 

It bugs me. Everytime I over-take her I feel a small surge of contentment and then whens she zooms past me, I sigh (well I don’t actually sigh as that would expel breath I don’t actually have).

The good news is that by about 7k, she can over-take no more, and I plod past her towards the finish line mentally flicking a little winner sign at her.

The tortoise does it again.

Sarah Knight

Trainer and coach in communications. Plate spinner.

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