Saturday, 7 July 2012

Human Racing

There are no 'for best' trainers in our house...
Today I took part in a race across 9k of rain-soaked farmland.  It's part of our annual Village Fete and attracts a range of people from casual runners to athletes in training for big events.

At the start I saw a neighbour who is one of those athletes; super fit and frequently first in the races she takes part in. We had a chat during the warm up and she said that regardless of her placing, her main focus was to enjoy it.  It was exactly the pep-talk I needed to get into the mindset of finding fun in every sodden, boggy stride.

With the amount of club vests on display you could tell there were many people here trying to ace their Personal Best or secure a top 3 placing, but twice during the run, I saw people stop to check-up on fellow club members who had slowed or looked like they were in trouble.  Friendship had taken priority over finish time.

8k down with a hill climbed and a field of maize crossed in my waterlogged trainers (it was like being in a low budget horror film - running through waist-high crops with the sound of someone else's footsteps and heavy breathing behind you) a lady began to keep pace with me.  We ran together for most of the last 1k, keeping each other going, as by that point we were both bright red in the face and the 'tired legs' feeling had well and truly kicked in.  At the last 200m she put her hand on my shoulder and said "go on, off you go" - she knew I'd seen my children which had given me the extra boost required to sprint for the finish.

I spoke to her afterwards to say thank you, and to my surprised she thanked me for giving her a pace to aim for - she had been following me from the start.  It was great to think that in a race I had entered on my own, someone had been running 'with' me the whole way. 

During the time that it had taken me to complete the run (time tbc - but let's just say I won't be in the top 15%), I had seen in this competition kindness, compassion, friendship and acknowledgement of your fellow man.  It was truly a Human Race :)

Postscript: If you're wondering about my neighbour who took time out of her warm-up to motivate me - she did (of course) finish first! 

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