Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Courage to be last

It's just over a week until the London Marathon, my last race before I start training for the Run Wales Challenge in earnest. To be honest I just want to complete London in one piece and without any lasting damage, so that I can get running for real. I entered London 2 years ago and then deferred my ballot place til this year, my running goals have changed quite a lot since I entered. I am not looking forward to negotiating the tube or the crowds. The support is going to be a lot more than I am used to, the last marathon I completed, the time keeper had to be "got" from the cafe to come and record my time, it was very laid back!

I was race director for the annual Women's Running Network All Fool's Fun Run held in Swansea this morning, and it is always inspiring to watch the runners cross, what for some of them, is their first finish line. There were trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd but also for the last runner of each race. I think it takes an enormous amount of courage to cross the finish line last, and they deserve just as much encouragement if not more than the faster runners. I am not a skinny whippet (or at least I don't feel like one), and I will never be very fast, so if I can give a little extra confidence to those back of the packers then I have made a contribution to my sport.

What each of us want to gain by being a runner is very different. I would love to be able to run a really fast time, but I'm just don't want it enough to endure the pain the speed would demand. I relish the challenge of running, but time goals just don't seem to challenge me. What really gets me going is not knowing whether I'm actually going to make it! As I get fitter my goals have to get bigger. So from starting in the Race 4 Life, an event not dissimilar to today's WRN race, to running the length of Wales, is as far as I can see just a natural progression (at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

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