1. Occasionally I surprise
2. There are many to choose from – racing David Smyth to the finish of the Two Castles (I’m not sure he was as aware of the race as me), or any time I’ve run the Summer 6 race – but here goes.. In 2019 I joined the Vets track and field team. My first evening was a bit mixed.
We did well as a team. It was my first 400m and high jump competition in about 35 years. I finished 3rd in the 400m, with a mixture of relief and pride, followed by a failure to jump the high jump on legs that had turned to jelly moments earlier on the finish straight of the 400m.
Our next meeting was at Redditch, where I ran a guest leg in the 200m (and learned I’m not really a sprinter). I then ran the anchor leg of the 4×400 mixed over 50s relay.
I was handed the baton in first place, just, by Elaine Ledden, who had run a brilliant leg. I just had to stay in front! I could hear the Worcester athlete just behind me on the first bend. Coach Minton had taught me at the previous meeting that 400m running is about being able to run each 100m slightly quicker than the previous one. I tried not to panic but ran my own race. On the back straight I was being caught. At 200m I pushed harder and at 300m I gave everything I had to the finish.
The roar of about 30 fellow SAC team members as I crossed the finish line in first place was amazing. The sense of accomplishment was immense. The team spirit intoxicating.
3. Be patient – strength and fitness take time to build up. Remember it’s about you and how you are performing relative to you. Mostly, we do it for fun!
4. My gloves in the winter. Like a number of fellow runners, I seem to suffer with Raynaud’s when it’s cold
5. I love athletics because it puts a smile on my face