I take part in the Cancer Research UK Race for Life event every year because it’s local, my friends and colleagues join in, it’s a fun run for charity, and because historically it has a guaranteed great atmosphere with hoards of supporters. The event caters for runners, joggers and walkers and encourages everyone of every age and ability to participate.
Instead of taking part in the standard 5K run last year, I completed the ‘Pretty Muddy’ version with my cousin Harriet, which was an anti-climax and super disappointing: there was little atmosphere and no mud until the very end. I reverted back to the usual 5K event this year, which took place on Sunday 4th June.
I picked mum up and parked with ease near Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells, with just a short walk to the grounds. We were early so decided to explore. There was a First Aid tent, Information tent, burger stand, two ice-cram vans and a face-painting tent. We decided to get our faces painted for a very reasonable £2 – the ladies were lovely, chatty and did a fabulous job in a short time-frame – no longer than 5minutes. After that, we were stumped. There was nothing else to do – no photo area, no Heart FM tent like usual, no photographers (that we saw), and nothing to see. We sat down and waited 45mins for the warm-up to start. The exercise was good fun and again lasted no more than 5mins.
I was wearing a pink Primark sports bra, black & pink Nike cropped running pants, pink ‘cancer’ vest from eBay and Sketchers Flex Appeal Serengeti trainers. The weather was hot and muggy – which meant that my face-paint was smudged and running down my face by the end! – so the outfit was perfect and comfortable.
I set off at the front of the Runner’s wave and pressed Start on my iPhone Running playlist. That’s when problems started. I ran the London 10,000 on Monday and mentioned that I’d forgotten to take along a headphone jack adaptor for my new iPhone 7, which completely threw me. Since then, I’ve purchased a spare adaptor and had made sure to bring it with me (the original Apple headphone adaptor sits in my handbag with my ‘day-to-day’ headphones; I have different headphones for running!). STUPIDLY, I hadn’t tested the new adaptor, but then again, why would I have done? Genuine Apple products are rarely faulty (in my experience). I must have been hit with an unlucky stick because the new adaptor didn’t work, and I had music blaring out of the phone speakers instead of the headphones, so everyone around me could hear my embarrassing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ tune. I had to stop after about two meters to play around with my phone/headphones/adaptor and try to rectify. It was no good, but throughout the whole 5K I kept fiddling with my phone and adaptor, praying and hoping that music would get though somehow. It sounds dramatic but I can’t run without music in my ears, and I explained the reasons why in my last blog. It affected my finish time A LOT (no chip timing but there was a large digital clock at the finish line) and I can’t believe that I’ve now run two events in a row with such bad preparation; it means that I didn’t relax or enjoy either event. So annoyed with myself!!
Alongside this, Race for Life had a noticeably smaller amount of participants and supporters this year – it was the quietest I’ve ever seen it. Usually you can see crowds of people from across the park, but it was looking sparse this year and the atmosphere, much like last year, wasn’t as motivating. There were also no Heart FM Angels at the top of the monstrous hill towards the end of the route – usually they’d be there cheering and high-fiving participants, but it was eerily quiet!
However, I only paid about £15 and received a cute medal with a packaged brioche bun and bottle of water. Cancer Research workers were walking around selling fake flowers which many supporters purchased for participants crossing the finish line, which was cute. The signage was obvious, the marshals were encouraging, and the start and finish lines were well managed.
Mum walked and jogged alone at her own pace and was really pleased with her 44mins time, which made me happy and it was all worthwhile to see her finish.
I’m just seriously considering switching to Samsung now!!
NEXT UP: Virgin Sport British 10K on 9th July 2017.