Our team of lovely Mind runners took part in the Running4Women 10k on 26th September. The organisers say they’re passionate about women’s participation in running and are keen to stress that the event, although exclusive to women, is open and accessible to every type of woman. We put them to the test and sent a crack team to take part and report back. Here’s what they said:
Running4Women 10k, Windsor
“We arrived with half an hour to spare. Being Northern and trying to find your way to Windsor was quite a mean feat. Eventually the sat nav decided to behave itself and found its way to the park. The signpost allowed us to find easy access to the run however we discovered we were on a no entry, one way system, so for particularly directionally challenged people like me the signposting could of been slightly better marked or the locals informed of the impact of the run (we got a stern word from someone who was exiting the park).
My average ten k is around one hour and fifteen minutes, being no Paula Radcliffe it is important to consider the toilets, the friendliness, the scenery and how lonely or not it is at the back.
I know I can hear you all question why the toilets are so important. Well for us back pack runners nervous wees are our forte, last minute hydration a lovely cuppa before we set off and as mentioned nerves.
The Toilets: The queues (oh my days) the queues, I did look at the bushes to see if this were a better alternative but surprisingly the que went down very quickly with less than a five minute wait and as you seasoned ten k runners know a five minute wait is nothing short of a luxury. Speaking of luxury they weren’t your average green portaloo…… anyway i must move on from my obsession with the loos at a ten k run.
The Friendliness: you know those days when your in a hurry and you forget your music and you think why an earth did i sign up for this (im guessing thats what we all feel before and during the run), yep so i forgot my music. I was quickly consoled by two lovely ladies (strangers who explained they only have their music so they cant hear there breathing so they wont be going to fast.
Why do we do that use music to block out our breathing.
The truth was i felt incredibly comfortable which for your one hour and fifteen minute runner this is important. There were all shapes and sizes there and not once did i feel out of place. There was a gentleman there who was encouraging his runners and then he started to encourage us. Not only was it the gentleman that encouraged us it was the sub one hour twenty pacer that did also. In fact she became a running coach to all around her. What a star. If you have never done a ten k because you have a fear of being left behind don’t be. On this run you are never the last and never left behind.
The Course: Wow just wow. Oop North we are always blessed with good scenery. Vast amounts of green mountains and fields. Never have I started a run looking at a regal statue of queen Elizabeth on a horse. The course got better. Enchanted trees and a quite village which took your mind off the the ups and downs of the course. Running in to see the castle and a better view of the statue really does take your mind off what you are doing. The last two K is on a complete down bank and if you are looking for a P.B or a good GR (get round) then this is your ten k to enter.
Goody Bag: Come on folks lets not deny it we all enter these races for the good bag . This could have been made better I loved the mars bar. Hey i am not going to complain about getting some saturated fat into my system though that was it. I k now the race was for charity but at £20.00 pounds I would still have expected more.
To summarize would I do this run again. In a heartbeat though I may raise my own expectations, be brave and enter the half marathon next year.”
“On a sunny Sunday, at 0826, my biggest fan (my dad!) and I hopped into my chariot (Citroen C1) and left Bexhill on Sea behind to go on an adventure to Windsor.“But why do you want to go all the way to Windsor to run 10k?” asked my father
“Dad, I don’t want to… I NEED to!” I replied
Back in July 2013, I discovered running, or rather running discovered me! It enticed me in with its shiny medals, colourful trainers and promises of glory and I never looked back. Now, over 2 years on, I NEED to run. It’s a part of me. It’s what makes me who I am. It’s my healthy unhealthy obsession!
So there I was… on my way to Windsor to run. I have a thing about running in new places. I recently spent a night in St Albans visiting friends and of course, my trainers came with me for an early morning jog! So now Windsor was going to be ticked off ‘the list’.
I arrived at Windsor Great Park with 30 minutes to spare to the smiles of a sea of marshals, directing cars to a field for parking. The buzz around the event hit me instantly. Tents and marquees… Voices over loudspeakers… Music… and a massive queue for the toilets!
There are never quite enough toilets at races to accommodate all of the nervous runners’ bladders! I used the time queuing to do some dynamic stretches and chat to another runner who had completed the course before, “It’s a hilly one you know…” Now, hills and I… we have a love/hate relationship. I LOVE to stride up a hill, revelling in the accomplishment BUT hills in races?- well, they just throw a spanner in the works and I HATE them! How could I ever run a PB with hills?!
The start of the race was separated into timing pens – I joined the sub 55 with 10 minutes to spare. My dad called me over from the side of the pen “Anna… come here… Nell McAndrew’s over there!” I glanced over and saw her join the sub 45 pen. Needless to say, she ran fantastically, winning the race, minutes ahead of the second place runner.
I love the countdown at the start of the race “5…4…3…2…1…go!” I was off. Legs moving, music playing, heart racing… The course was undulating, as often races are! I have discovered now that undulating is running code for ‘this race could be anywhere between subtle inclines you don’t need to know about and giant mountains that we don’t want you to know about’ There were, as promised, some challenging hills, but these were made a little more bearable by the scenery of the park. The sun shined down on me and my fellow runners as we made our way through 6.2 miles.
Personally, the heat was my downfall in that beautiful race. It slowed me down, it forced me to stop and walk when I should have been running and it told me I didn’t have the energy to finish. Often running takes us to the deepest and darkness depths of our soul, pushing us mentally. I have learnt that running a race is 80% psychological (19% training and 1% luck). Once you allow yourself a moment of weakness, you spend the rest of your race fighting to regain your strength.
I battled for 10k and crossed the finish line in 54:34 – over 3 and a half minutes slower than my PB. Was I disappointed with myself? A little. Was I proud of myself? Of course. I believe that you should be most proud of those runs or races you do when you have struggled. Achievement cannot be measured in performance but in effort. I worked hard to get to the finish line that day and I raced not for others, but for myself.
I want to say a massive thank you to Honest Fitness for inviting to take part in the Windsor 10k on their behalf. I can categorically say that I will return to conquer this race next year, not just for myself but for every women runner who told themselves they couldn’t but did. Because, #thisgirlcan”
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