Ready to race

Taking part in a race is not only a great challenge and achievement, it’s also fun. Usually I’d target four or five races a year, but since joining a local running club, I’ve raced more than I ever have. In the early part of the summer I even raced three times in the same week, which is madness, but like I said, it’s also fun. Plus at many of the local races, there was cake to be had. I wasn’t going to say no.


So I raced. I enjoyed it. I ate cake. I enjoyed that too.


And being in a club means the race results are sent to the local paper of which my grandad is an avid reader. ‘You’ve got another write-up in the paper,’ he said happily trawling through the hundreds of names in the results. ‘There you are, column five, three inches down, E Champion.’ My 91-year-old grandad became my biggest supporter. with nan and grandad


Then at the end of July the races stopped. ‘You’re not in the paper,’ he said sounding a bit disappointed. I last raced at the beginning of July, an off-road 10k, which was my final race as a senior lady, before moving into the veteran ranks. I was pleased with my run, but felt tired. My legs were heavy and I was looking forward to a rest from racing.


The break was nice. I got stuck into training, I enjoyed time horse riding and doing other things, but I missed racing. I found myself looking at the calendar willing the time away until the next race, a 10 mile race. I couldn’t wait.


Then Hurricane Bertha came hurtling across the Atlantic reaching Yorkshire on the morning of the race. It was cold, windy and wet, as you’d expect the tail-end of a hurricane to be. Before we’d even set off, I was drenched. I didn’t think a PB was possible.


I set off cautiously, afraid that Bertha would get the better of me. After spending the first mile trying to avoid the puddles, I realised that my feet were going to get wet no matter what. So I splashed on, getting into my stride, and by mile three I could see one of my teammates in the distance. I wanted to catch him. I was strong on the main hill just before mile five and knew I was gaining on him. Then on the downhill he pulled away again. I kept working. I finally caught him on the hill at mile seven. ‘Well done,’ he shouted. ‘It looks like the sun’s coming out now.’ After working so hard to catch him, I found it hard to keep going. I fixed on a few female runners, and passed three in the final stages. I felt strong and even managed a sprint finish.


Drying out in the bar afterwards, I realised I’d got a PB by about 20 seconds. Not a huge PB, but a PB nonetheless. I was delighted. Then the presentation started. I hadn’t realised but it was also the South Yorkshire Championships. The winners of the senior ladies race collected their medals. I sipped my cup of tea and applauded. ‘Next year,’ I said to one of my teammates. ‘I’ll try to win a prize.’ I was joking of course, thinking that would be impossible, but just as the words were out, my name was called. In my first race as a veteran, I’d won a silver medal. I couldn’t believe it. Being old definitely has its advantages.

 grandad and his hat

On the way home, I stopped off at my grandparents’ house to show them my medal, because even at 35 I still wanted to make them proud. ‘Well done girlie,’ my grandad said. ‘Will you be in the paper this week?’




  1. 18th August 2014 / 12:51 pm

    Is 35 really considered old? I guess that means I’m going to be old in a couple months.

    It was just recently that I started running and haven’t done any races at all. After reading your love for it I may just sign up for a local 10K that happens shortly before I turn 35.

    • 18th August 2014 / 2:32 pm

      Hi Sandy, thanks for your comment. I’m delighted that you’re thinking of signing up for a 10k. Let me know how you get on! I’m loving racing more than ever at the moment. Personally, I don’t think 35 is old at all, but according to the rules women are veterans at 35 and men at 40. So you’re ok. Happy running, and good luck with the race 🙂

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