Sunday, 9 June 2013

Running race

Out of nowhere, Olivia said to me, "I want to do a Race for Life this summer".  

I was so surprised; she loves dancing and she likes swimming, but she is eloquent about her disdain for any other sporting activity.  Something about Race for Life had connected with her though.  Friends at school have done a Race for Life, there are posters all over the tube network for the ones in Central London this summer, there are TV adverts about Cancer Research and Race for Life, and I think it is something that many young women do these days almost as a rite of passage. "Oh, everyone knows about them," said Olivia breezily, when I asked her how she'd heard of Race for Life.  I knew that if Olivia was going to do it, I was going to have to do it with her.  How could I not?  I hate any sporting activity other than cycling or hiking as much as she does, but I couldn't see her Race for Life and not join in myself.

The races are usually 5K, and I had heard so many good things about the NHS Couch to 5K programme for novice runners, that I thought we should use that as a way of training for the race.  Olivia pointed out to me that she had assumed she would walk the 5K, which is completely allowed but which earned her a little lecture entitled "If something's worth doing, it's worth doing properly" (a favourite topic of mine that she has heard many times before).  At this point I think she slightly regretted telling me that she wanted to do a Race for Life.

I also wanted to finally get round to doing a Parkrun, which Graham has been doing for several years, and which Cam has also done intermittently.  Parkrun is a free, timed, 5K race against the clock which happens in parks around the world at 9am every Saturday.  Everyone is welcome, from professionals to super fast club runners to people trying to get fit (or stay fit).  Anybody, of any age, can run, and it is completely free and organised and manned by volunteers.  We decided that we would replace one of our three NHS Couch to 5K runs each week with a Parkrun.

Our first park run!  Whoop!
Having just completed our first Parkrun - wobbly jelly legs but a huge sense of achievement

We've been training for four weeks now, and I can honestly say that both of us are enjoying it tremendously.  The running gets easier every time we do it, and the NHS Couch to 5K programme is so well designed - pushing us to run more, but never so much that we want to give up.  The people at our local Parkrun have been incredibly welcoming and friendly, and have given us so much support.  The regulars may be mostly fast club runners, but they remember what it's like to be a new runner, coming up to the finish line on tired, achey, slow legs.  They cheer us home!

And now we have entered our race, and have our race numbers ready to wear.  We are doing the event in Cambridge on Sunday 21st July, and are hoping to raise at least £200 for Cancer Research.  If you would like to contribute towards this very worthy cause and show your support for two ex-non-runners who are now loving the running, you can donate to our fundraising here
Race for Life number
My first ever race number
Olivia and Nancy after a run
Back home after a training run


  1. God I am so idle. I did go for a walk today though. Charlie and George do Parkrun here in Worcester. George is getting quite fast, mind you he is young and fit.

    All power to your legs the two of you!

  2. Good for you girls. After my heart attack I'm slowly building up my walking distance. You've inspired me to do this with Amy next year xx

  3. well done to both of you, it is such a great event, and a fantastic achievement when your training starts to show an improvement. Go pink ladies!

  4. I am very impressed! I watched my little people run round and round their school field a couple of weeks ago for Race for Life. The oldest one worked out he did 5k. Even the littlest one trotted round a fair few times. It's a great idea for a great cause, well done both of you.

  5. We need to talk! I have had a, ahem, discussion with No2 about getting Mummy fit ...


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