This month I succeeded in achieving a personal running goal: completing a half marathon in under 2 hours. That pace isn’t anything to set the world alight. More than 1200 people finished in front of my at the Oxford Half Marathon; 40% of people who have run a marathon this year have finished in a quicker time. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I beat my fiercest and closest competitor: me!
I took a week (or so) off running to let my hard-working legs recover and allow the euphoria of beating my personal best by nearly 20 minutes sink in. It was also an opportunity to think about what next for my running career.
This year I’ve ticked the “run for charity” box by completing my 12 months running challenge for Maggie’s Centres and I’ve set new personal bests at 10k and half marathon distances. I’m sure I’ll run for charity again but I need to hold off from asking friends and family for their money for a while after raising over £2000 with their help this year. I’m also sure I’ll compete in my favourite local races next year (the Carterton 10k and the Oxford Half Marathon) in an attempt to improve my personal bests further. But there is also something else I want to do.
I love watching sport, so this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics with their extensive multimedia coverage thanks to the Beeb and C4 were a dream come true. I found myself infected by Olympic fever and with all the talk of “legacy” I promised myself that I would search for my own personal bit of Olympic legacy, and I am pleased to say that I have found it. Or at least, I’ve found the start of my London Legacy.
This month, thanks to a complicated cascade of funding (that I think started with Sport England, passed through Oxfordshire Sports Partnership, in conjunction with “Better” aka GLL, the leisure service provider for my local council) I attended a UK Athletics “Leadership in Running Fitness” course. Another organisation involved in the mix is Run England, a branch of England Athletics aimed at encouraging more people to run, and run more often.
And here lays my London Legacy.
Having completed the course, jam-packed with all the things you need to know to become a supportive, responsible Running Leader, and with my CRB check completed all I’m waiting for is for my UKA license to arrive; then I can set up my Run England running group and start working with “Better” to get West Oxfordshire feeling the benefit of running!
Hopefully my enthusiasm for running will help me encourage others who might not have been brave enough to start running on their own to get out and enjoy the benefits of running. And who knows, if things go well, perhaps the “Coach in Running Fitness” course might call out my name!
In the meantime, it’s time to get my thinking cap on – I need to get marketing a new running group in Witney, starting in the New Year, using the weight of “Christmas excesses” (excuse the pun) and “New Year resolutions” to encourage people to join in. I know they’ll soon see why we all do it! Maybe some of them will be competing against themselves in races next year.