I am SO proud of us all. Me and my sister have done plenty of races, and I often write about our competitiveness, but the rest of my family are not known for their enthusiasm for athletic activity, so I was rather excited when they all decided to enter a local Race for Life.
We had a plan. We’d meet before the start and set off together. I would run with my sister (until she sprinted off at the end, of course). My mum would walk with my cousin (Emily) and my nephew Kyle (with the occasional jog for good measure). And my auntie and her friend Helen would walk together.
In the last race Kyle did, he was heard to complain ‘keep up Grandma, you’re not going fast enough!’ So this time my sister planned to walk back round the course and run with him to the end.
I wanted to finish in under 30 minutes and beat my sister. My sister wanted to beat me (of course).
Kyle wanted a shiny medal. Mum wanted to beat last year’s time of 1 hour 2 minutes. Auntie Lou and Helen, both suffering various ailments and walking with sticks, wanted to get to the end in one piece. Even now I’m not sure how Emily got roped into it.
The plan fell apart when I arrived late, and was still in the portaloo when the starting whistle went, meaning I had no idea whether everyone else was in front of me or behind.
I didn’t beat 30 minutes. It was far too hot and once I started walking I couldn’t start again.
I did beat Lorraine though (hooray!).
Sadly it wasn’t because of my athletic prowess, but rather because, finding herself still walking behind a big crowd of people after six minutes, she’d turned round to walk the whole thing with Kyle.
Emily finished not long after me, and before everyone else. My mum nearly beat her time from last year. Kyle got to run some of the race (and pulled off an impressive sprint finish to overtake Grandma). And Auntie Lou and Helen got to the end in one piece (well, one piece each I suppose) and the lady with the microphone came out on the course to talk to them like celebrities.
I am SO proud of them all. I’ve been entering daft races for years now, and recognised the signs of slight panic and excitement in everyone else. The last minute preparations of the night before (‘I must get a new ribbon for my hat!’ ‘What on earth should I write on this sign for my back??’ ‘I’ve lost my safety pins!’). On the morning I missed the communal giddiness and ‘what on earth have we signed up for??’ that I know and love (I suspect I also caused a few flutters of ‘where on earth is Jennifer and is she even going to arrive before the race starts??’)
And those smiles of relief and achievement that come with the medal at the end?
So we had a marvellous day, and between us raised about £600 for Cancer Research UK. I’m so impressed with us, and we all give sincere thanks to those who sponsored us.
I was chuffed to hear the post-race enthusiasm for doing it again next year.
Some folk will do anything for a shiny medal…