On the 12th July I did the Kilburn 7 – a 7 mile Road Race incorporated in annual Kilburn Feast. The route through historic Coxwold, Byland Abbey, Oldstead & finishes in centre of Kilburn.
It was a hot day and I was warned that it was a very hilly course.
Getting out of the car, I saw a sea of neon. Brightly dressed athletic figures paraded around doing warm-up lunges and strides.
‘Why does everyone look so pro?’ I thought to myself. Usually at these sort of races you’ll see a select few that look really keen, but the majority will look like Sunday-afternoon-fair weather-joggers, or people maybe doing it for charity.
Not here. Everyone looked the absolute bees knees.
I’ve had some great success at local races, but judging by the sort of people that were running in the Kilburn 7…’top 10 for my age category? Maybe?’
‘You know what, it’s a beautiful day – let’s just go with no pressure and enjoy the run, enjoy the scenery.’
At the start line I met a lovely man called Phil – a keen member of the Stockton Striders running club (and a brilliant runner!) He knew my Aunty and had promised her he’d ‘look after me.’
A few at the start line asked me – “why aren’t you wearing your Garmin?”
The reason for my bare wrist was that I didn’t want to be bogged down by timings and pacing. I am very grateful to own a Garmin (it was a generous Christmas present – thanks Mum and Dad!) but I also often find myself resenting it. Those annoying little beeps every few minutes – often telling you that you’re falling short of your target. It can be pretty crushing.
“I just want to enjoy the run” I told them.
Plus, with all the hills, I was bound to be running at a slower average pace. I’d rather just go with the flow and listen to my body, rather than listening to those, let’s be honest, rather interrupting, disheartening beeps.
I set off with Phil and it was a very, very fast pace. So fast that I was with the fast men at the front.
By mile 3 (still at the front) I was exhausted and could no way keep up that pace for another 4 miles, so I slowed down considerably.
Quite a few men over-took. Then, out of no where, a sudden burst of energy came to me just before mile 5. I was able to run much quicker for the last two and a half miles and over-take a few again. I felt like I had wings – it was incredible.
With a mile to go, we were offered wet sponges. Sprinting past, dripping with sweat in the July heat, I grabbed one and shoved it in my face. My mouth was open a bit and I got a mouthful of what tasted like Dettol – mmm, tasty.
I didn’t care. I felt glorious. I had no idea if a woman was very close behind me or not – even so, ‘second place would be incredible’ I thought to myself.
For the last stretch I felt even stronger, and all that was going through my head was: Run like Emelia Gorecka.
(Emelia is one of my good friends and she is also spectacularly inspirational to me).
Crossing that finish line as the first lady was amazing. My Mum couldn’t believe the result. Dad wished he could have been there but said he was very proud.
I found out during the results that the next woman to cross the finish line was 4 minutes behind me – I could’t believe it! I honestly don’t think I would have done so well if it wasn’t for Phil. Although I slowed in the middle, trying to keep up with him would have shed minutes off my overall time, I have no doubt about that. So – thank you, Phil.
Run for the moment and push yourself!
Run to get fitter, run to get faster, run to feel happier.
All the best,