She slowly persuades her body that it does want to accept breakfast at 6:30am on a Sunday then goes and gets dressed. The clothes she puts on look a little like this
Once dressed she packs all the things that she will need for the morning
she follows similarly dressed people until she gets to the building here she is given a piece of paper with a number on which she need to pin to her top like this;
Waits for the horn to signal go and moves one foot in front of another. Realising a little to late that in talking to her friend (who is speedy) she has started way to close to the start line! She moves to the side to let more accomplished runners pass. One foot in front of another up and down lots of beautiful country lanes. Very refreshing scenery to pass and enjoy. People pass at a regular pace. That's ok it's early on we are only at mile 4. Steadily she keeps going chatting to others as she passes, some she recognises but many new faces. Eventually she passes the 10 mile mark. This is where she suddenly feels weary and a little downhearted. What on Earth possessed her to do this? Why would she thinks it's a good idea? Her feet hurt- one of her toes is rubbing against the other, her knee is sore, her hips ache. Maybe she should just give up. Oh look an aid station ahead
Would you like water or coke? asks a cheery lady. Never having had coke on a race before decides to give it a go, accepting a fun sized mars bar with the coke. Quick drink and slowly one foot moves in front of the other. feeling a little refreshed, just maybe this is possible after all. Still she thinks that she is going so slow that she must have taken 2 hours 20 minutes already. So much for beating her previous record of 2hrs 28 mins. Oh well just to finish will do. A quick glance behind she realises that she can see no other runners. Those in front are disappearing rapidly into the distance. MOG am I last? Resigned to the fact that she is last- well someone has to. I will make sure I smile when I get there and pretend like its cool.
Whilst thinking all of this one foot moves in front of the other autonomously. Suddenly a cheery voice from behind says hello. I'm not last! there are even people behind me I can hear them laughing now!A little light chatter about how the 12 mile marker must be somewhere soon- this mile has been the longest so far. The lady next to me has a watch that beeps at 12 miles. I ask her the time. "Oh we've been going about 1:57 now. I saw you a while back and decided you were going to be my target" Comes the reply. I knew what she meant by that. I often pick out someone to be my target, once I pass them I set a new target, And 1:57- I hadn't been running as long as I thought. My target of 2:15 is till in my sights. I speed up, come on then I'm going for it- I might still make my PB I challenge. I speed up- I hear the ladies feet moving faster behind me I keep pushing myself. Then as I approach the end of a road a man says to the right and its just at the end, you are in the home straight now. By now there is the first lady with me, and another has joined in the effort (we passed her a while back). "come on girls lets sprint finish, we can do this!" After you comes the reply from the other two. I start sprinting. suddenly, a voice calls "come on Sarah you're nearly there!" It's my speedy friend wiaitng at the side of the road for me. I move my legs faster still and cross the finish line- 1 second before the lady who decided I was her target. "Thank you," she pants "that was great, and I got a new pb. we are at 1:08 is that the PB you wanted?" We are greeted by other members of our running club. All ecstatic about our times. A quick photo finish and then we realise we still have 3 team members out there- we head up the road to cheer them on as they finish. One arrives, a few minutes later another. A quick phone call is received to say the last team member has had a problem- her knee has popped out apparently this is something she suffers with. "I'll go find her" says one of the gentleman who has finished. Worried we all wait, cheering on other competitors as they finish. Soon they arrive back. She manages to cross the finish line- smiling as she winces with each step.
We all finish. We are all pleased for each other for our times, whether it was 1:27 (our speedy gent) or our injured friend at 2:40. We all are pleased with our times. See for the runners which I have met we are not about beating each other, it's about beating ourselves. It's keeping going even when our bodies want us to quit. That feeling at the end of a run, that's why we do it. That's why we become runners!