I have won a few medals and trophies in my life but my only golds were during my childhood when I competed in judo. But my childhood is a very long time ago and I have come to the conclusion that judo must have been the one thing I was actually talented at. It’s a shame I gave it up aged 16 but I’ve no real regrets. It was simply something I was good at as a child – and it kept me focused for much of my teenage years.
As an adult I have never expected to be good enough at any of my sports to win any prizes. I just don’t have the time to train, nor the talent, but I do still enjoy what I do. I have been surprised a few times to win third prizes, twice for an off-road 10k and once in the Mighty Deerstalker. And I am usually in the top 5-10% for many of the races I enter but I had never actually won a first place.
That was until last night! Reluctantly I agreed to take part in the Garscube Harriers annual parents and kids 3k race. I was reluctant because I would normally avoid a race that I had no experience of running. 3k is definitely not a distance I’d choose to run at speed as I prefer longer distance events. And I’m not that keen on races anyway. But since Little Miss Outdoors was expected to run the race I felt it was only right that I should too.
To start with there didn’t appear to be that many parents taking part, and especially not mums. So I thought I’d be safe simply jogging the course. But then the entry list filled up and there appeared to be some quite serious looking athletes. A large number of the parents were actually part of the adults section of the Garscube Harriers. Oh well, I thought, I could just get in the car and go home for fear of being truly hammered by the competition or I could just smile, run as fast as I could and enjoy the experience. Certainly Little Miss was delighted to see me lining up at the start of the race.
And so we set off. I had no game plan as 3k is not a distance I’ve ever ran in a race before. I simply ran. There was another woman in front of me – a fit-looking woman – and I just kept running behind her. I thought she’d speed off into the distance at some point but she didn’t. A little way into the race a group of women overtook me but then I overtook them again a little further on. Some halfway round the course another lady came between the front runner and me. Really, I thought I’d never hang on and so I decided that a third place in the female section might actually be quite good. Much better than I’d ever imagined, in any case.
And then, with only about 20 metres to go to the finish line I suddenly realised I could overtake the two ladies in front if only I had a sprint in me. And I did! I passed the third place woman quite quickly and then pipped the second place lady with only about a metre to go. Okay, so I know it was only a small local club event but I felt really rather proud of myself for giving the race a proper go. I’m not sure what my time was but I did win a box of choccies!
I never actually got the chance to pick up the prize as I had to dash off to a swim session at the tri club. Instead Little Miss Outdoors proudly collected it for me. She had also enjoyed her race and although she was as reluctant as I was to run it she came home smiling and clearly pleased with herself.
The race had the best ever attendance of parents and everyone seemed to enjoy the occasion. It was great to see some really awesome junior runners, too. While I might have been first lady, there were a fair number of youngsters ahead of me. (Loads of men, too!) It’s encouraging to see so many kids and parents out running when we’re forever being warned about the poor health of Scots. Not all of us are couch potatoes it seems!