Well, I have to say, I really enjoyed that.
Going into the Kells 5 Mile race I only really had one sole aim in mind – don’t come last – which I didn’t but the fact that I had a lot of fun into the bargain was an added and very much unexpected bonus.
I’d heard that it was a friendly and relaxed event, and it really was. It was small, which undoubtedly helped, there were absolutely loads of people from my club there – spectating and competing – and the whole morning had a sort of village fete feel about it.
Staggered over four events, the 5-mile race was the third to set off which meant we’d be finishing in amongst the half-marathon entrants and that suited me down to the ground, even if I did come last no-one would know until they checked the results later and by then I’d be long gone!
Chatting to a number of others 5-milers it was good to see everyone else had the same worries about the course – was it hilly, did the downs compensate for the ups etc. etc.
It was also good to meet a number of people I only ever see at races, and someone from a Facebook running group who, despite living down the road from me and competing in a lot of the same events, I’ve never actually bumped into in real life. What was even nicer was at the end she came back after she had finished to wait for me and run the last few hundred yards with me. There truly is such a thing as the running family.
Anyway, what about the actual race?
Everyone went off very fast and almost from the beginning I was right at the back – the very back, last in fact.
However, that didn’t worry me too much. I knew from looking at the speed and from previous races that there were a few in front of me that I could catch so I made that my focus.
Sure enough, pretty soon I had caught the first person. I stayed with her for a little while out of courtesy and then moved on, opening up a gap on her whilst still mindful that she might put a bit of a sprint on and go past me again. That wasn’t going to be allowed to happen. If I kept her behind me then I wouldn’t finish last, and that would be my objective for the day achieved.
That clearly helped my mental state because I began to enjoy the run, despite the undulating course.
I could see a few others in front of me so I made that my next target. One of them was a girl from my club so I gradually closed in on her, perhaps catching her at around the halfway point.
By that stage I was perfectly happy to stay with her for the rest of the run so that we could encourage each other, have a chat and so on. In fact, we perhaps chatted a little too much at one point, dropping back into a walk during a steeper part of the course and then forgetting to run when it levelled out! Oops.
That had a bit of an impact on my time, so going into the last couple of kilometres I upped the pace, going almost two minutes quicker than what I had done previously.
Turning for the home strait it was lovely to see the aforementioned girl waiting for me, and offering to run the final stretch. The same happened the girl from the club who I’d spent half the race with, she also had a running partner for the last few hundred metres.
The encouragement at the end from those who had already finished was great too, so I made a point of returning there once I had collected my medal and burger (!) to cheer the half marathon finishers home.
So, despite my reservations about this event, I have to say I bloody loved it and will definitely be signing up again next year!
Relive my run