What a way to start 2015 – I finally beat the 60 minute mark for a 10km! I did the Regent’s Park 10km race, a course I’d done a few times before, but I was really struck today by just how lovely the other runners were and felt compelled to blog!
I got talking to the first fellow runner getting off the tube (spot the fellow runner in lycra when it’s still dark outside – how many others are that mad on the first Sunday of the year!) and another before we’d even found the park. Fast forward to getting lost in the fog in the rose gardens, and we picked up two more – there were seven of us by the time we found race HQ! By this time we’d exchanged Christmas anecdotes and our goals for the morning. One of the guys even offered to pace me to get my time, as he said the ice would stop him going much faster – how lovely!
By the halfway mark I knew I was on track with 30 secs to spare for my target time, and I bumped into one of the others I’d met earlier. We stayed more or less neck and neck, and every time we passed a km marker, exchanged ‘well done us, still on track’ remarks – with smiles and cheers from others running at a similar pace! As the finish approach he started ahead of me, then turned and beckoned me to join him in the sprint finish so we could cross the line together. A shared moment – made all the more amazing by one of the others who had finished earlier and was at the finish line cheering for us!
Four of us who’d met at the start ended up going to the Hub for a cuppa (warmth! needed) – and we were later joined by the amazing character of the lead race marshall – 73 yrs old, and this was his third 10km of 2015! It was so lovely to exchange stories, and chat wandered from running to personal experiences, dancing, the 50s, London and more! I’d never met these guys before, yet bonded over an icy run and a cup of tea, and we parted ways with a promise to look out for each other at future events.
I joined the Clapham Runners 12 months ago almost to the day, looking for motivation in winter marathon training and to push me to run faster. It’s definitely done that – but perhaps the best thing and biggest surprise has been making new friends – people I can bounce ideas off about training or routes, other like-minded runners no matter how different our personal goals are – and even people to hang out with not just in lycra! You also get ideas for keeping running interesting. I don’t know anyone in the club who is just about one foot in front of the other. Hannah kept weekend running varied last year by walking then running the Capital Ring (click here to read her blog) and Rob’s planning to do alternate weekends trail walking and running by exploring countryside outside of the M25 (in preparation for the Inca Trail marathon – just wow!)
Twitter is something of a recent discovery for me. I was amazed to win my London Marathon 2015 place in a competition just before Christmas, and I’ve been picking up race ideas, training plans, and suggested articles on Runner’s World which have informed my own training plans. I was in touch with a few others who were running today via #UKRunChat (and had originally made plans to meet them after – oops!). I keep reading about #Jantastic – an online ‘team’ with other runners to set goals and motivate each other to meet them. There is a real sense of a community.
Running is something I do for me, at my own pace, to beat my own goals. Yet far from feeling alone, I feel part of something so much bigger – I ♥ the running community.