In December 2016, I was looking at ways to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Trust – something close to my heart as my God Daughter Mia has CF. My auntie suggested I sign up for the Great North Run.
With things like this, it’s a case of act now and think later so when the email came through that I had secured a place I can’t lie and say I was jumping for joy. I instantly regretted it and was a little terrified. I’m not a runner, even at school I would do almost anything to get out of PE, but here I was with a place for a half marathon and I couldn’t even run to the end of the street.
I didn’t really start running until the end of February this year and it probably couldn’t have come at a better time. I wasn’t having the best time personally and with that I finally understood why people do this. Before, I’d wonder why people would run down the street in all kinds of weather when you could be cosy at home, but it helps boost your spirits if they are low. The sense of achievement when you do something you never thought you could is something you can’t explain and the camaraderie between people is amazing which I have learnt first-hand.
From not being able to run to the end of the street not that long ago, I managed to complete three 10K races in May! I never in my life thought I’d do one. I had issues with the last one in Northallerton, where I struggled from 2k with a leg injury. In hindsight, I probably should have thrown the towel in on that one, but if I did I wouldn’t have been helped to the finish by the brilliant Darlington Harriers that realised I was struggling, and that’s something I’ll never forget. I lost my running confidence after that, but I’m slowly getting back out again and working towards my goals.
As a beginner, nobody really tells you about the expense of running. There’s always a race to sign up to or new kit to buy and of course the social aspect but I personally have gained so much more. It can be difficult to start with because there are always people who are so much quicker or can run further. At times, it can feel like you’re getting nowhere but as everyone always says, getting your trainers on is the hardest part and if you get out, you’re achieving something for yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I still hate running and probably won’t ever enjoy the process of it, but the feeling afterwards makes it worthwhile and I also have a new found love of medals!
The only goal to start with was to complete the Great North Run, which I’m determined to do. I had no intentions of carrying on after that, but I didn’t go through vile blisters and a month-long limp to give up on running after my goal is complete. I have some races booked in post GNR and can’t wait to see where I am this time next year on the running scale… Probably still slow but plodding on!