New blog. First sentence. No pressure. A certain familiarity is conjured up through writing these opening lines. This sounds similar to the kind of thought pattern that I experience before the start of every race. Somewhere during said race, a less optimistic phrase such as ‘what am I doing?’ will also make an appearance. Yet this negativity seems powerless in its abilities to stop me running. Years of experiencing this contradiction has resulted in the realisation that I must actually like running or perhaps more revealing: I am a runner.
My running life began in a muddy field. I can’t remember if it was raining, but it seems likely as the field in question was situated in the North of England. I had been bundled into a mini bus, wearing a ghastly yellow vest, and forced (maybe forced is too strong of a word) to eat a Mars Bar. I finished the race, no thrills. Nothing great, nothing awful and I got another Mars Bar. However, the team had managed to finished 3rd and I received a little bronze medal, with the picture of a girl running in the middle of it. Some of my friends had large extravagant trophies for gymnastics or excelled at maypole dancing, but I had this, which I thought was miles better…
Through the encouragement of Mrs Tempest, who incidentally encouraged me to play football with less favourable results, I joined the school’s cross country club and my running improved, as things tend to do with perseverance. I overtook, both literally and metaphorically, the school’s running legend ‘Danielle Radcliffe’ (no relation to Harry Potter) and represented my county. I also won some trophies to rival the glamorous gymnastic ribbons and my Grandparents took me to Birkenhead market to buy me the best every knock off tracksuit that side of the Mersey. I meant business, I had a tracksuit, maybe even providing the early inspiration for Roger Federer’s infamous white blazer. However, due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’, I had to move schools and thus running came to a temporary halt.
Until 2001, when my Grandad practically frogmarched me to The Oval running track in Bebington. It was at this track that some of the filming for the running cult classic ‘Chariots of Fire,’ took place and thus provided the perfect setting for my return to running. Apart from it didn’t. It wasn’t a disaster, I was just a typical teenager who enjoyed moaning. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, my Grandad took me to The Oval 3 nights a week, for 5 years. I think I made my running coach Norman’s (an extra in Chariots of Fire) life both a misery and a joy. Subconsciously running became something I did and had to keep doing.
2016 and here I am, living in Manchester and a member of Manchester Harriers AC. To date, I’ve run 3 marathons, even managing to lug myself round London in 3h 17, and enjoyed doing so. In 2015, I represented Greater Manchester at the Cross Country Inter Counties Championships and earlier this year, my boyfriend Jason and I finished 3rd in the mixed pairs category at the Thunder Run, a 24hr race. At the time of writing I’m going through a bit of lull but running is something I do and will continue to do even when I’m hating it because some run, don’t they?