It was that point in the race, first hill conquered, downhill pounded, welcome water gratefully thrown in the general direction of my mouth, some of it even going in, that the second, most significant hill loomed. I felt like crying as I saw it reach for the sky. Actually, I think I did.
Then I heard the sound of distant chanting, getting ever nearer. At first, I couldn’t make out what they said, my mind was so full of terror at the prospect of conquering the Hill of Doom on the notoriously challenging Pudsey 10km organised by the lovely Pudsey Pacers. But as I got nearer, it became clear. The two women were making great progress up the hill, encouraging each other with the mantra ‘small bum, thin legs.’
Noel, who was running with me at this point following a delay brought about by an unscheduled and unwelcome pit stop in the woods, wondered if they were commenting on his rather shapely legs and pert derriere. I think he too was in a state of delirium at the approaching hill.
Now I quite liked that as an idea, a small bum and thin legs, that is, two of the benefits of hill running. I know other runners who chant motivational messages, such as ‘You. Can. Do. It’ It made me think about my own mantra, What could it be? What would make me run faster? I didn’t have chance to mull it over, as Noel yelled in my ear, ‘Get up the hill, stop faffing around!’ It worked, I did. Everyone should have their own personal mantra chanter.