Friday, 23 July 2021

I was euphoric crossing finish line but kiss from Calum was best

NOT being a sporty person I have in the past never been involved in any sport, writes Mayor Lorraine Hillier.

NOT being a sporty person I have in the past never been involved in any sport, writes Mayor Lorraine Hillier.

So when I arrived at Henley Rugby Club just after 8.30am on Sunday ready for the Standard 10km I did not know what to expect.

I was wearing my 20-year-old trainers (worn twice back then) and hoped they did not look too out of place! More than that I hoped they would be comfortable.

Jo Lock — a friend and cross-country coach arrives. She is a God-send and has offered to run with me. I certainly need her. My sister is also there to offer support — not taking part but hoping to next year. Fran from the coffee shop turns up to register to do the run too.

It was great to see so many familiar faces around me — perfect weather and everyone around us in good spirits. All too soon the countdown and we’re off! Everyone starts running at a pace and I’m thinking â??have I to keep this up for 10km?’ Not sure I will make it the few yards down the Marlow Road.

Fran was amazing and soon disappeared into the distance, but Jo was there telling me how to breathe. When we turned to go up Icehouse Lane I was wishing I had done training. It felt like the road was being continually pulled out from under me — it was never-ending. Jo encouraged me to walk a bit then run, then back to a walk.

Somehow I made it to the top and from then on blissfully downhill. Now this I could run down — once I’d sorted out my posture and breathing!

Back on the level and the first water station was in sight. I was determined to run to this and grateful for the noises of encouragement from the volunteers manning it. Then I was overtaken by a male runner who apparently started off in the wrong direction — I said: â??I wish you hadn’t said that, I was starting to look good!’ I soon realised I was at the tail-end of the runners!

I enjoyed running through Assendon — lots of onlookers shouting support and children offering sweets which I was grateful to accept. When we reached the 5k marker I felt that was my finish! But no, Jo was there encouraging me on - â??look half way now — well done!’ Half way? It felt like it had been an eternity, the thought of another 5km filled me with dread.

When we finally turned on to the Fair Mile — I alternated running and walking using the trees as markers. Then I was suddenly overtaken by the first half marathon runner. Amazing — made me feel quite inadequate but encouraged me to just keep going!

At the end of the Fair Mile — more sweets and the end is in sight! Lots more crowds here cheering everyone on. When I ran through the rugby field to the finish line I felt euphoric! Exhaustion forgotten — I had made it! Angie Best was there with a medal for taking part — Fran was there, who assured me not much earlier, and Will Hamilton. The kiss from Calum Best proffering a goodie bag suddenly made it all worthwhile.

So huge thanks to Jo Lock for all her support and now I am proudly showing off my medal which I never thought I would have and better still, raising money for charity. Would I do it again? Well maybe! But not without training first. Looks like Jo has a challenge on her hands with both my sister Susan and me!

I now have huge respect for all the runners and the half marathon runners - how do you do it?

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