Running For Others

My last post was so surprisingly successful, mainly thanks to a celebrity endorsement, it’s taken a while to find my inspiration for the follow-up!  However, I actually didn’t need to look very far.  Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I recently qualified as a Leader in Running Fitness – the new entry-level coaching qualification from UKA.  Last week saw the end of my my first course of running sessions as a leader and I’m enjoying my running more than ever!

In March 2011 I started a 12 month running mission to raise funds for Maggie’s Centres at the Carterton 10k – my local race.  Twelve months later I successfully completed my challenge at the Carterton 10k – raising over £4,000 (thanks to my employer’s offer to double the sponsorship), covering 1,100 km and smashing my 10k PB in the process.

During this challenge I started blogging and was asked to guest blog for the Running Bug.  They asked me for a snappy 3 word title for my blog spot and I opted for “Running For Others“, reflecting the charity fundraising element of my running.  Little did I know that the title would still hold true a year after I completed my fundraising challenge.  This year, the Carterton 10k took on another significant role in my running career and this time it wasn’t for charity; it was the focus for my first group of runners to aim for.

In cold, snowy January (if you can’t remember what that felt like, just step outside – it was just like how this March is feeling!) I started an 8 week course for to help people who’d done a bit of running, do a bit more.  Essentially, helping people progress from a 5k ParkRun or Race For Life to a 10k race.

My group was small but keen and friendly.  The dark nights and cold weather won’t have helped but group members remarked at how it was much easier to run as a group at a scheduled time – it forced them to come out when they might have just stayed on the sofa otherwise.  Most of the group were interested in just getting running more often but a couple of them set their sights on the Carterton 10k.  Through the sessions I managed to put them through their paces and keep them interested by using the different techniques I’d learnt on my course.  Their confidence grew as the distance they covered in the sessions, and the speed at which they covered it, increased.

The morning of the race arrived, along with more snow!  Luckily it wasn’t snowing hard enough to cancel the race but it did add an extra element to it.  Bizarrely, for the first time I can remember, I didn’t feel nervous waiting for the race to start.  I’m sure it was because this race wasn’t for me – it was for Ben & Danny.  I wasn’t running for my personal best, I was running to support them reach their targets: I’d act as a pace maker for a 50-55 minute 10k for them to judge against.  To be honest, as I’d only been running once or twice a week, that sort of time was going to suit me just fine!

Danny started quickly and was soon out of sight.  He’d shown signs of pace in the sessions, I just hoped he hadn’t got carried away with start line adrenalin.  Meanwhile Ben was just shy of 50 minute pace and feeling good, which was more than can be said for me especially at the 8km mark.  My legs were feeling heavy and I knew that I was in danger of slowing Ben down so at the 9km mark I told him to start ramping his pace up and pick off as many people in front of him as he could.

Just a few minutes later I was very pleased to cross the finish line, and not because I managed to squeeze a sub-52 minute time (although I was happy with that considering my training and the weather).  I was so proud when I found out that Danny hadn’t gone off too quick and maintained a great pace in his debut race to finish with a 47:02 result to his name and that Ben had stretched ahead of me to secure a 50:24 result!  Both had bettered their expectations.

At this point I knew that my Running Bug blog name was going to hold true for a while longer.  A year ago I knew I’d been bitten by the running bug.  It’s clear now that the running bug I got bitten by also had a dormant strain of coaching in its saliva which, after 12 months of incubation, is well and truly showing it’s symptoms!  I’m not saying that I won’t be running for myself (I’ve already got my eyes on some races and target times) but it won’t just be about me.  I’ll also be running for others.

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