I recently got asked what my favourite trail running memory is and it made me think about all of my running memories. I've got a big race on the horizon and so instead of fretting about that I thought I'd focus on my 5 favourite running moments in the hope that if you don't run it might inspire you to give it a go. It really is a club that anyone can join. Also, if you're training for a half-marathon or a marathon and quite frankly you're a little sick of running now I thought it would help to remember the reasons why we love running.
So here they are, in reverse order:
5. My first ever proper race the GNR in 2010
Until I signed up for this I hadn't run further than 10k and had never run a race. I was so nervous beforehand and was scared that if I didn't make it round the course I'd have to return all of my fundraising money. I was so pleased that someone had told me to wear an old jumper to the start line. I remember being so grateful for that as I shivered nervously waiting for the race gun. The atmosphere in the GNR is like no other race and I wasn't expecting what happened when I ran through the underpass, if you know you know!!! I finished in 1:57 happy, exhausted and bitten by the racing bug.
4. Winning my first (and only) running trophy in 2010
After embarking on the GNR I signed up to a trail run in Berwick-upon-Tweed. North of Newcastle, just South of Scotland. It was a gorgeous morning and we raced out along the coast, through lots of mud and off the back of the GNR I felt great. I put in a sprint finish and nearly fainted when I found out I'd been placed second female.
3. My first ever run with Gatsby
I'd been excited about having a dog for as long as I could remember. I picked him up from the rescue in April 2013 and was desperate to go running with him. We lived in South East London at the time near Blackheath and I set off so excited with Gatsby pulling on the lead. It was very hit and miss and not the daydream I had envisaged. Gatsby cut me up every few strides. He'd dart in front of me, stop suddenly and didn't stop at the edge of the pavement. I trod on him by accident as he ran in front of me and he squealed! We didn't do a big loop but by the time we got back he was lagging behind and I was dragging him home. He'd spent 5 months in the rescue before I took him home and he was very unfit. It's a totally different story now and it's very rare that I don't have him running by my side. We both know our respective places and have stopped the treading and tripping.
2. My first marathon in 2013
9 weeks after breaking my leg skiing I set off to Paris to run my very first marathon. I met one of my best friends, Jess, who lives in Spain at the Expo and found my name on the runners wall. Stepping up to a marathon had been a massive challenge for me and again I kept thinking about all of the generous people who had sponsored me and how much of a difference my fundraising would make. I've posted a full review of the race here but in short it was incredible. My dream was to finish sub 4hrs and I snuck in at 3:54:56 with a massive tick next to add to my bucket list.
1. Crossing the finish line of the GNR with my Dad in 2012
My Dad is from Newcastle and had always said that he'd like to run the GNR. Actually I think if I'm honest I asked Dad my dad one day if he'd ever like to run the marathon (meaning London) and he said that running didn't interest him really and I had then pushed to ask if he had to run one race which race would it be to which he said the GNR. Well that was enough for me. I signed both of us up in the ballot and we both got places! Dad thought it was spam when he first got the email offering him a place but he slowly came round to the idea. He spent weeks carefully following the a running plan. He bought new trainers and started to get interested in kit. I was living up in Newcastle at the time but about a month into his training I popped home to Derbyshire for a training run. Dad had lost lots of weight and was fab. I felt so proud to be running alongside him given that a month earlier he hadn't been for a run for about 10 years. The weeks ticked by and Dad stuck to the plan. Race day approached and I was surprised to see my Dad a little bit nervous for the first time ever. Shortly into the race we spotted my sisters waving from the bridge over theflyover it was amazing. It was the first time I'd ever run with someone else properly before and I loved running for fun rather than rushing past everyone focusing on a time. The streets on the course are lined with people offering sweets, slices of fresh orange and high 5s! My dad spoke to everyone as he passed stopping to thank them for their jelly babies. The run was tough and I could tell Dad was digging deep to keep going. I kept giving him pep talks and cheering him round the course. Towards the end of the race when the rain set in I kept shouting to Dad that we were almost there and that we had to keep running over the finish line. As we got to about 800m out I could hear "Walking On Sunshine" blasting. A bit closer to the finish and Dad grabbed my hand for a sprint finish. We've now got an incredible photo on my Dad's mantlepiece of the two of us crossing the finish line hand in hand, and of course a race memory to last a lifetime.
Writing this post has made me fall in love with running all over again. I'd love to hear your favourite running moments, especially if you have any ideas for creating some new memories.