One year ago I signed up to do Tough Mudder so I figured I really ought to start running! I started on a treadmill and managed 2 miles before giving up, exhausted. My friend, Mel suggested I joined Fareham Crusaders Running Club and I really have never looked back. Without the incredible support of this club I would never have achieved what I thought was the impossible, running a half marathon race. The people of the club have inspired me, motivated and encouraged me to do some crazy silly races and some incredible exciting races. I’m proud to be a member of the club and call its members by friends.
So the day came when I was to run my first ever half marathon race. I went to bed feeling nervous and woke up even more nervous! The winds were just ridiculous which did nothing to calm me down. Gusts from 30-50mph were going to make for an interesting race! When we all met for our club photo before the race, all talk of PB’s had gone out of the window and I think most people were just hoping to get round the course without being blown away!
I was running with Lorraine and we had already discussed our ‘game plan’ to achieve a 2.05hr PB. No slower than 9.30min/mile and to aim for 9.20m/m. We set off and although the wind was against us for the first 3 miles, we felt strong and ran well. As we turned the corner to head back for the first loop, the wind literally pushed us along! It felt great! Both Lorraine and I were really enjoying the run but didn’t want to say it out loud! We carried on, smiling, running and chatting until we reached half way. As we began the second loop and turned the corner, the wind literally slapped us in the face.
Wow, the next 3 miles were hard. We each said a few ‘sentence enhancers’ and encouraged each other to keep going. It certainly wasn’t easy in those windy conditions but hearing the cheers of the fantastic Crusader supporters and route Marshalls, as well as seeing our other team mates running kept us going. The steel band gave us a huge boost as we danced (stumbled!) past. Then we turned the last corner and that wind gave us another boost. Hurrah!
We were on the home straight and the wind was pushing us along again. At about mile 11 we realised that there was the chance that we might complete the race in 2hrs! Lorraine told me to go ahead so I gave it my all for the last 2 miles and finished the race in 2hrs and 14 seconds! I got my medal and a really great goody bag as well as a time I was happy with. As more people finished, we stayed to cheer every Crusader home and discovered that not only had we all completed the race without being blown away, but that there were some pretty incredible PB’s achieved.
Despite that wind! My feeling of elevation was heightened to see pictures of my 2 sons running in the children’s fun run and proudly holding up their medals. Crusaders of the next generation! A very well organised, brilliantly supported and marshalled event. Well done Gosport Road Runners and well done Fareham Crusaders for being awesome and unstoppable.