Last weekend I did my first race, and it was awesome. After almost a year of getting into running, getting to grips with asthma, getting up to 10k and, eventually, getting totally addicted, I can only say there’s nothing better than crossing an official finish line – especially when there are 10,000 other women crossing it with you.
On Sunday 10,000 runners descended on Victoria Park, which had been transformed by Nike into a proper little sports festival. It felt absolutely amazing being part of this event – from spotting the first runner on the way to my local station at 8am, to being on a Tube train full of women in their orange race shirts grinning excitedly at each other, to the cheers from supporters all along the trackside (including a brass band and a classical string quartet) to earning our “wings” in the shape of a beautiful silver finisher’s necklace.
My first post-run selfie. Expect many more.
Nike is brilliant at supporting women’s sports – I’ve already gone on about that at length. But they really are; they offer free training classes for everything from HIIT to yoga and running, they’ve got a ton of brilliant material in their free app, and oh boy do they know how to put on a race!
As a first-time runner who had never been to a race, I felt really well looked after. They provided all the information, a race pack including a shiny running top, and on the day everything was perfectly organised and signposted. I’d been quite nervous about how exactly stuff would work, but once I got there I could just chill, focus and get on with my race.
I did it in 50:04 minutes, which I’m ever so slightly gutted about because I was aiming for a sub-50. But, according to my GPS watch, I also ran 10.2k rather than a precise 10, so I guess I’m there or thereabouts. And instead of being so bloody ambitious all the time, I’m just going to be happy with that result. AND TRAIN HARDER FOR THE NEXT ONE. (Which is in about a month’s time, in case you’re wondering.)
Post-race, somewhat ruffled and knackered.
Another thing that has absolutely inspired me was the level of fitness on display at the race – I have never seen so many fit, strong, kick-ass women in one place. And although I’ve always been a bit of a loner when it comes to training, avoiding running groups and keeping well away from gyms and classes, I’ve decided that it might just be more fun doing some of my workouts in company. So while I’m still high on that post-race buzz, I’ve signed myself up to my first NTC class and a yoga class.
And then I think I need a running club, and a crew and most of all more races!