Dawn Gay /
Dawn Gay / My blog

A runner’s world

November 8, 2011

On Sunday, Nick ran his first big 10k race after months of achilles injuries and I was honoured to step behind the scenes into a ‘runner’s world’ for a change.

I have dragged my long suffering husband out of bed on many a weekend morning to support me at dressage shows with Eve and Rokke. He has spent hours in the freezing cold, wrapped in smelly horse rugs at the side of the collecting ring and endured the disappointment and euphoria that comes with the results. Someone I know once summed dressage up as ‘five hours for five minutes’ when talking about the preparation to actually test riding ratio. They were spot on.

And I’ve always had great respect for people that use their own legs in a competition; I can just about run 4kms and will invariably get a terrible stitch (how do you stop that?) and red, throbbing earlobes. It’s not unusual for Nick to nip out for a sly half marathon run at the weekend only to seem fairly bright and breezy on his return and then whiz around Sainsbury’s or mow the lawn.

On Sunday morning there we were in the local community centre in a sea of Lycra (some smaller coverings than others) signing in for the annual Billericay 10k, breathing in the intoxicating, heady stench of Deep Heat muscle rub.

What struck me more than anything, is how running has caught on in recent years and people are embracing the cardio and health benefits as well as the fact that pounds drop off. Nick is never alone on the Embankment when he hops out for a lunchtime jog. We are not just talking about a walk in the park – this is 10 undulating kilometres of course around flat Essex’s hillier town.

There’s something ‘feel good’ about being a spectator too. As I hung around along the final stretch, I couldn’t help feeling that Chariots of Fire urge to blub as runners surge towards the finish line and the digital clock, desperate to knock off a second from a personal best. Or the smug ‘girl power’ as the first female runner strides across the post beating most of the men.

Then there’s the mixed bag of ages, from whippersnapper to grey whiskers. On that chilly Sunday morning in the middle of suburbia, there was a real sense of community and equality. I like the runners’ world.

So, I take off my beagler hat to runners, especially my speedy husband who has burst back from injury to beat his personal best and get into the sub-43-minute league. The amazing thing is that we were back at home in the warm drinking tea for elevenses. No lorries to unpack, muck to shovel or horses to unplait.

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