The runners around me were a little surprised when I broke free of the pack and ran ahead, arms outstretched, whooping with delight, to greet a mate who was coming the other way. Actually he was a little surprised too, it was a race after all, and you’re not really supposed to stop for that sort of thing, not if you’re a serious competitor anyway. But since when was I ever a serious competitor?!
What’s running all about if it isn’t to be in the great outdoors, feeling the ground under your feet, the wind in your hair and, this time of year, the draught around the houses? What better way to enjoy it than with mates? Even if they are not actually running in the same race?
Rolf was out walking Alfie and Daisy, our parkrun mascots at Woodhouse Moor. I was taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s Harewood Half Marathon and having rather a fun time of it. The sun was shining, the views were stunning, I’d not fallen over (yet), there was a reasonable amount of mud around and it looked like I wasn’t going to be last. It seemed rude not to stop, hug Rolf and pass the time of day. After all, everyone should have a hug, shouldn’t they?
It occurred to me, as runners went past, that I really ought to get on with the race, if for no other reason than there was a medal at the end, and I do like a medal, so I waved goodbye and was off on my way.
A little further ahead, a couple more mates, who were running the race, had stopped to take photos of Harewood House. ‘Why don’t I take a shot of you both?’ I asked (again, rude not to).
My fancy watch bipped away the kilometers and I did the mental maths, working out how many kms I had to run as I passed the mile markers and had to do a quick conversion. With just 5km left, I knew I had only a parkrun to go and fun though the race had been, my legs were telling me I really ought to have done a little more training.
Seeing Noel and our mate Frank waiting for me at the top of the last hill before the final push, I was energised, though not enough to hug them both, and headed for the finish and the glory that was a medal and a heart-shaped ginger biscuit, my own heart burst with joy, or was it complete and utter exhaustion? Either way, I’d had a very enjoyable race with my mates!