When I grow up, I want to be fit and healthy and be able to run for miles and miles…
Well, at the start of 2012 I realised that it probably wasn’t going to happen automatically, so I took up running. Only short distances at first, and slowly, but gradually improving, so by April I was running about 5km a couple of times a week. Then one of the Pink Singers, who’s also a member of London Frontrunners, publicised the Pride Run – a 10km run in Victoria Park in September, in aid of the Albert Kennedy Trust. September seemed a long enough time away to make 10km feasible, so I signed up as part of the 20-strong Team Pink Singers.
Fast forward to the morning of September 15th, and I arrived in Victoria Park with running kit, my race number (721!) and a whole heap of trepidation – how could this have been a good idea?! But the other Pinkies started arriving, and we donned our specially-made bright pink shirts, pinned on our numbers and warmed up, and my nerves settled down and excitement took over. We were a team – strength in numbers!
We made our way down to the start line, which was marked out with sections relating to expected finishing time – the lean and fit club runners jostled for position around the 40 minute mark; my fellow novices and I went back to behind the 1 hour line. Then after a short pause the sound of a starting pistol had everyone surging forward. It took a minute or so for us to cross the start line, where we were waved on by Sir Ian McKellen – LGBT royalty! Then we were off – I’d been warned about setting off too quickly in all the excitement, so I established a steady (ok, slow) pace. Several non-running Pinkies had come to cheer us on, and their encouragement was brilliant motivation as we jogged round the 3 lap course. Even the other supporters and enthusiastic volunteer marshals were vocally supportive, shouting “come on Pink Singers!” – proving that our distinctive shirts were a worthwhile investment!
The first two laps passed steadily; we enjoyed the percussion band positioned at the bottom of the loop, and the water station near the top (it turns out that drinking from a cup while running is a skill I need to work on), and we started to overtake a few people, whilst being lapped by the super-speedy leaders. By the time we started the final lap, I was feeling good – 7km down and nearly there! My enthusiasm for reaching the finish unintentionally manifested itself into me speeding up, which my running buddy Frances pointed out meant that she ran out of breath for chatting! We counted down the kilometres, until the finish line was in sight. With the Pinkies who’d already finished cheering me home, I even managed a sprint finish to celebrate my first 10km achievement in 1 hour and 5 minutes!
After cheering on the remaining members of the team and collecting our well-earned post-run snacks, we all made our way (slowly) to a nearby pub for lunch, feeling tired, but happy, and immensely proud of Team Pink Singers.
Now….how long is it ok for me to keep wearing my medal…?