I knew as I rounded the final corner and glanced at my watch that I was not only going to break my record, I was going to smash it into a zillion pieces. The encouragement of friends, strangers who saw my scary look of determination, and Noel’s big grin as he handed me the token holding my time in its barcode confirmed it. I’d done it.
Ever since we started running the 5km Saturday morning parkrun (sic) in March I have chased what seemed like an unattainable goal – getting around in less than 30 minutes. For Noel, our friends Andy, Bev and Nathan, 30 minutes is easy, a doddle even. For me, she of the flappy arms and funny feet, even running is hard, let alone putting any speed in it.
Week after week, thanks to the cleverness of the parkrun system that reads a personal barcode then, through the magic of maths and the internet, sends details of time, position and age-related ranking to my inbox. Week after week, I’ve tickled the 30 minute mark, getting within four seconds – then slipping again. It became a Mission Impossible, but one I chose to accept.
Finally, thanks to encouragement, lots of running, joining the Eccleshill Road Runners and just telling myself I could damned-well do it, I jolly well did. The email said 29 minutes, 35 seconds, my watch said that at some point, but I did the usual and forgot to stop it.
Celebrations were great and prolonged. I was going for my hair enreddening anyway, but felt I really did need to celebrate my landmark in some way. My hairdresser didn’t have any medals to give (why should she?!) but she had feathers, the latest fashion in hair ornaments. I’ll have one of those, I said. I need a feather in my cap, or in my hair at least.
Hopefully my new feather will help me fly to my next personal best… a 10k in less than an hour….