When I was asked to run the Hotelympia 10k for Springboard I originally declined but I’m so glad the guys managed to convince me!
Although I’m a very sporty person and used to play football twice a week, I just couldn’t imagine myself running that sort of distance – it seemed too daunting. As I thought about it though, I decided that it would be something to help focus my training, and a great aim for a great cause. I loved the fact that we were running as a group – the Runner Beans – and this was what pushed me into committing to the run.
So that’s when the training began! I say training, Nick and I basically ran two 10k to Box Hill and back (great run, although pretty hilly), but I think that actually really help prepare me for the run. The first time absolutely killed me – I couldn’t walk the next day and maybe in hindsight I should have started out with a 5k and worked my way up but I don’t like to do things by halves.
The second training session seemed so much easier, maybe because there it was still light outside and I could see where I was running, or maybe my legs just got used to it, but we seemed to fly round. I think it’s definitely as much a mental challenge as it is physical and knowing what to expect and how your body will feel actually gets you through.
So then the big day arrived, Sunday 28th February. Up at 7.30am, banana in hand, we headed to the ExCel in London. It was a very bitter day with a chilly wind, so we had to wrap up warm. As we were picking up our race numbers (and our free running t-shirts – thanks guys!) we were checking out the other runners, some of which looked pretty pro to me, like they do this on a weekly basis. I’m normally a very competitive person but looking at the calibre around me I didn’t think I could come any where near the front of the pack. “But it’s the taking part that counts” I chanted to myself.
11am was nearing and we were all huddled up outside, eager to get going as it was freezing outside by the Docklands. As it hit 11 we began, walking at first as there were too many people to start running straight away, but once past the official start line we were off! We started out at quite a fast pace, with all of us following fellow Jellybean Nick. You couldn’t ask for a nicer route, running around the Docklands and ExCel – lovely and flat!
The first two laps were the easiest; I was just trying to keep a steady pace and used people around me as markers. It was really nice to see everyone around the track cheering us all on, it really kept me going and push through the pain so thank you to everyone that was there standing in the cold for us! The third and fourth lap is where the pain really started to kick in. You could see the front runners starting to lap you which just seemed insane. I lost Nick as he pushed on, with Clare and Laura also pushing past me but I was determined to keep a good pace until the last kilometre. As soon as I got to that point I sprinted like I was chasing down a through ball on the football pitch. I wasn’t going to give it up, I wanted to make sure I pushed myself as much as I could.
When you’re running that distance you think to yourself why did I agree to this, but I’m so happy we all ended up doing the race together. It’s such a big sense of achievement and I would definitely do another one in the future to beat my time (which was 53 mins and 35 secs)! The medal will definitely hang with pride in my house.
It was a pleasure to run for such a great cause and if you would like to find out more, visit them at www.springboard.uk.net. Not only that it was a great start to Hotelympia 2016, you can go visit the show at the ExCel now or online at www.hotelympia.com.