On Wednesday night I should have been racing. It was the Askern 10k, and after last year’s disastrous run, I wanted revenge. But no matter how much I wanted to run, things conspired against me.
The first mistake was not filling the entry form in on time. There had been several Facebook notices along these lines: ‘It’s the last running of Askern. Get your entry forms in early,’ and ‘Askern sold out last year. Enter now.’
Upon seeing these notices, I made a mental note that I must enter as soon as possible, and then no sooner had the mental-note been made, I forgot all about it. A few weeks later, I mentioned to Chris that we’d have to get organised and get our forms in. ‘People are talking about it selling out and all sorts!’ I said.
I turned on the laptop, went to the Askern entry page, and what did I find. ‘It’s full,’ I said. ‘Look,’ I pointed at the screen. ‘FULL.’ I couldn’t believe it. ‘I mean, who wants to run round Askern on a Wednesday night anyway?
‘About 800 people,’ Chris said.
‘I can’t believe it’s so popular. It always rains.’ Last year, I’d had a terrible mascara moment, finishing the race looking like Alice Cooper. This year, I wanted to run because it was the last running of the race. After this year, the Askern 10k will be no more. They are building houses on the site of the finish line or something, which is a real shame. I wanted to be there for that final race.
Not to be defeated, I put myself on a waiting list with the race organisers. I also started asking around. Surely someone, somewhere would want to give me their race number. After a few weeks, I’d had no luck. But then one Tuesday evening at the track, talk turned to Askern.
‘I’ve had a senior moment,’ one of the ladies said. ‘I’ve only gone and entered the race twice by accident.’
‘Twice?’ That meant she had a spare number. ‘I’ll have it,’ I said.
I was sorted. All I had to do was contact the race organisers, transfer the details, and pay my friend for the number. It was all looking good to make my Askern finale.
But then, I had a wedding dress fitting. My dress was too big, on account of recent weight loss. ‘You’ll have to come back for another fitting,’ the wedding dress woman told me.
I nodded. That didn’t sound a problem. Another chance to try on my lovely dress.
‘We only do fittings on a Wednesday evening,’ she said.
That didn’t sound too good. Wednesday is my busy day. My Wednesday evenings between then and the wedding were looking rather booked up. I looked at my diary. ‘Which Wednesday?’
She looked at her diary. ‘You’ll have to come back on Wednesday 17th.’
The evening of the Askern 10k. ‘No,’ I said. ‘I can’t do that.’
‘You really need to,’ she said. ‘Otherwise, we’re running out of weeks.’
‘I’ve got a race,’ I showed her my diary, tapping the date. ‘Wednesday 17th. Askern.’
‘We could do later or early so you can do the race?’
The wedding dress shop is 27 miles away, on the other side of Sheffield. It takes hours to get there. I would not have enough time to finish work in Leeds, get to Sheffield, try on a dress, drive to Askern, and run a 10k.
My Askern dreams were shattered. I contacted my friend, told her I wouldn’t be needing the number.
Wednesday the 17th arrived, and I had a wonderful time at my wedding dress fitting, but I missed being part of the final race. It was raining, and this year I’d even got waterproof mascara at the ready.
Normally, when I miss a race, or don’t do well, I console myself with the fact that there’s always next year. Sadly, with the Askern 10k, I can’t say that any more.