It’s late July and it seems summer has finally joined us (cue random torrential downpour while the sun is still shining). I’m actually a bit gutted…I much prefer running in the colder winter weather, so it’s going to be hard work for the next couple of months to keep active. I know from my day job (at Women in Sport) that this actually bucks the trend as research shows that there is a drop off of female runners in the autumn and winter months – I always try to be different.
So as I said we are now 7 months into the year, this year isn’t an ordinary one for me, this year I get married. It’s a very exciting and busy time…wedmin is my life. When I got engaged (September 2015) and once the date had been set (December 2016) I decided to add to the chaos and set myself a challenge. Upon awkwardly purchasing my first bridal magazine, I realised that in addition to endless advice on overpriced cakes, photo booths and colour schemes, most offered a plan of how to get fit and healthy for your wedding. Some of the plans looked complex and crazy and really did reflect an uphill run at Greenwich Park! So I thought that rather than panicking 3 months out that my dress might not fit, I would commit to some sort of activity across the year – a slow and steady way to tone up and most importantly feel good for the big day. So…I invented the Wedding 10k Series…it has a nice ring to it don’t you think? In essence I committed myself, oh yes and my future husband, to run one 10k a month for 12 months in the lead up to our wedding. So a total of 12 10ks, 120k total.
I do love a challenge. I have completed so many over the past 10 years – Yorkshire 3 peaks, Run to the Beat Half Marathon, Thames Bridges Bike ride to name a few, but these have all been one off events, this would be different.
Oh and before I explain our journey so far it’s imperative to mention that I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘runner’. I’m a Netballer by trade, team sport enthusiast. Yes, I have dabbled in running, probably more that I care to admit, but I am not particularly fast or elegant (in fact definitely not the latter). My mind-set has shifted slightly, but I’m pretty sure when December rolls around I will still refer to myself as a Netballer.
So why 10k? 5k is easy right? Well, not quite, but for me it’s not too unpleasant, it’s kind of over just as you get into it and it’s less of an event. So 10k seemed a bit more of a challenge, not anything like a half (never doing one of those again by the way) but just the right mix of pushing yourself and getting knackered! Interestingly, for two very competitive people, it’s not been about the times for us – we have improved our PBs massively, but we are pleased to just get round some of the courses.
So in December last year I officially entered the world of running – trawling websites to sign up to local runs. We have always had two events booked in advance and found it relatively easy to find runs nearby. The Wedding 10k Series started in Windsor, around Dorney Lake. It wasn’t quite how I pictured our first event to go – picture the scene, two weary runners set off having just returned from a 3-week trip in Asia, it was a struggle and 8k was not our friend, but we managed it and were pretty chuffed at the end. Since then we have done Richmond, Maidstone, Battersea Park, Windsor Trails, Greenwich Park and Clapham Common. We are officially half way – for August we are running at the Olympic Park and September we are taking part in Run Reigate!
September was a tricky one, but when we stumbled across Run Reigate we booked it straight away. We live in South West London and have probably exhausted all of the key ones in our area so are pleased to be going a bit further afield. The website was great and although slightly more expensive than other runs we have done, I like the vibe and it seems worth it. The process to book was probably one of the easiest we have gone – as let me tell you some are hard work as you have to book separately for each individual.
I already like the feel of Run Reigate – I have been following them on Twitter and saw last week that they have made some improvements from their inaugural event last year, I like that approach. All of the feedback from last year seems really positive too and this morning it was announced that Olympic legend Dame Kelly Holmes is starting the race. I have to say I am impressed…fingers crossed she will present us with our 9th medal (hint, hint)!
As I mentioned before I work for Women in Sport, we are the UK’s leading charity aiming to transform sport for the benefit of every woman and girl. Wo do lots of research and lobbying for more women and girls to be involved in sport, whether it be playing, working or watching. As a result, it means I look at running events differently – I look from a personal perspective as an active woman, but I also look with a deep understanding of women’s perceptions and values that drive their decisions to start and continue running. Run Reigate has done well on both fronts, the communications denote a friendly run with a community atmosphere, while still offering a good challenge. The website is also great too, showing ‘real women’ and not just sporting runners in lycra taking part!
We have been roping in friends to run with us throughout the journey and hope to have a few with us as Reigate. So if you are taking part in Run Reigate, look out for us and give us a cheer, we will definitely need the encouragement!
Run Reigate would like to wish Jennie and her husband-to-be, good luck in their Wedding 10K series and all the best for the big day!