Today, I ran my first half marathon with 15,000 runners, the Bupa Great Birmingham Run, UK – 13 miles or 21km as some would prefer.
I have a thousand blogs zipping around my head.
I’ll run with this one.
We got up super early having been out for ‘Phil’s birthday carb up’ the night before. Arriving in Birmingham we walked for around 15 miles after parking, dropping off our bag, queuing for the portaloo and finding our running zone. We were fortunate to spot a couple of good friends who joined us in our zone.
An exercise warm up to this, classical singers and local radio saw us through 20 minutes of fairy steps to the starting point.
It was our time to go. Nessun Dorma playing. Adrenaline racing. We began running.
Phil skipped for the first 30 seconds creating cheers and whoops from the crowds.
Obviously, I’m not going to take you through minute by minute, but to summarise, my training which I now consider minimal, created a run which I honestly found tough – hills especially, oh those hills, one after the other. I had 2 coaches, my husband and our friend Jason who has a unique physiological make up where he can run an Ultra with very little training, don’t you just love him!
They ensured that I ran and didn’t walk. Ever….
I am thankful. No, really.
Besides the obvious – ‘running the race, not quitting, enduring the pain, internal coaching’ and one I like – ‘you might not have completed it, but that’s OK too’
I’m going to share a line of thought which ensured I ran with purpose.
We all had our names on our running bib which was great when I heard ‘Keep going Michelle’ just at the right time – as I offered a look of fatigue to the supporters.
On our back bib was a blank space where we wrote what/who we were running for. I confess I was not fundraising but simply achieving a personal goal.
As I ran, I started to read lives and stories – people running for loved ones, lost ones, charities, themselves.
Cancer, Macmillan, Cystic Fibrosis, Mary Stevens Hospice, Help for Heroes – I saw photographs and faces. Dates and times.
I ran 13 miles consuming these stories, carried by the runner, held close – sometimes written in one word.
The runner – his wife, her son, his daughter, her mother, their friend.
I realised they were my story, my life, my experiences. I cheered them on.
That is what it is about, life – cheering, joining another’s story and running together in this exhilarating, painful, beautiful and often uphill road.
I couldn’t have run it alone.
I can’t run it alone.
Stay connected, don’t run alone, more importantly allow others into your story and if necessary hold someone’s hand and allow them to carry you along for a while.
Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! ….Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever….When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Thank You Father