It’s a week since the Rutland Spring half marathon, the aches have gone and it’s time to reflect.
Completing my first half marathon is something I’m pretty proud of. It was a physical challenge with a very real possibility of failure. I knew other things in my life had taken priority in terms of time (namely the final stages of initial teacher training) making training more haphazard than I would like. Despite the lack of an actual plan I had built the distance up steadily and hoped will-power/stubbornness was enough to see me over the final mile or so. That and the knowledge we had raised around £400 for a great cause.
This was the first Rutland Spring Half Marathon and as such I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Registration was pretty straight forward, we joked with the volunteers about this being a birthday present and got ready to pin our numbers on and Velcro the timing chip to our ankle. As the run began there was a lovely couple of downhills to get us going (the fact downhill at the start means uphill at the finish did not escape me!). The course was undulating with some particularly cheeky hills at around mile 4. The run around the peninsular was long and winding with cute lambs and lake views to keep us company. The road back to the finish was tough mentally as the views vanished and were replaced with constant road. Turning back onto the trail was a godsend and with it the mile markers let me know I was entering I chartered territory. The final stages involved a water point, looking up seeing a hill, swearing at myself, putting one foot in front of the other, seeing another hill, a little more swearing, seeing the ever supportive Becky, trying not to swear at her “encouragement”, before the final push to the finish line. As I crossed the line I stopped my watch and that was it, my first half marathon done! Or was it? Having uploaded my run onto Strava (if it’s not on Strava has it actually happened?) I look at the distance and there it is, 120m short – Gutted! Having looked at other people’s data from the same event they’ve all registered above 13.1 miles. So do I count it as a successful half marathon or was it short?
Prior to this experience I always looked at people that ran “longer” distances (I.e. anything farther than 5-10km) as a bit odd. I mean have you seen those guys smiling away as they run for a few hours making it look easy. Having ran 13(ish) miles I think I may be one of those odd people. I enjoyed it, kind of anyway. Ok I didn’t exactly smile my way through it, or make it look easy, but I can see the attraction to running for an extended period. I finished within my target time yet with a nagging feeling I could go faster and a want, almost a need, to do another half marathon (at least).
The thing that attracts me to these challenges is that in today’s society we focus so much on making things easier and quicker. Think about it, you can order a meal at the touch of a button, cycle to work with the aid of an electrical bike, and if you need to travel say 13.1 miles you drive. These challenges though bypass that, you enter the challenge and it is your physical time and effort that gets you to the finish line. It’s also amazing the variety of people you see running these events, tall/small, little/large, old/young. You see people running because they actually enjoy it, running for charity, and those who look like they’ve stumbled across the event and got dragged along with the fun. Yet everyone has an appreciation for each other’s effort and a shared goal to complete their aim.
This half marathon was just the start of our fundraising journey for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, we’ve got Rat Race Dirty Weekend in 4 weeks. Scotty’s is an amazing charity that supports children who have lost parents in the forces, aiming to put a smile on the children who form a group none of them wanted to enter. We chose this charity because my dad served 22 years, completing a number of active tours. Thankfully he always returned, a fact I am forever grateful for and one I will never take for granted. Others were less fortunate and this charity does a great job in ensuring those children are never forgotten.
If you would like to support our fundraising efforts please follow this link.