In our last post we introduced you to one of our volunteers, Jafarr, who was running the half marathon in aid of FoodCycle – and we’re delighted to say he’s back again to let you know how he got on (proud faces). Over to you again, Jaf…
Training – the final push!
On the 26th I decided to run the race circuit, just to make sure I was actually capable of running the distance.
I met up with my colleague Sasha, who was also planning to run the half, on Midsummer Common. The weather was perfect – slightly chilly and dry. We started running from Midsummer Common toward Chesterton and, about a mile in, a fellow runner asks if we are running a full marathon! Trying to disguise our looks of horror, we explained that no, we were *just* running a half in preparation for a race the following weekend.
His name was Michael and he was from Croydon. Apparently there was a group running a full marathon that day and he didn’t manage to get to Cambridge early enough for the start – so he decided to run with us! His conversation helped to pass the distance, and before we knew it we had run past King’s, through Trumpington and were already in Grantchester.
Around this point my feet began to hurt, which I had anticipated. Running is much more of a mental challenge than it is a physical one, so I pushed on. Weirdly, my feet were going slightly numb, which at least relieved the pain from my blisters. I made a mental note to make sure to tie my shoes tight on race day.
Running the final leg through Chesterton, I pictured the finish, dug deep and ran hard. We all finished it in roughly 2 hours 10 minutes! Michael noted that I hadn’t run to my full potential, as I wasn’t overly exhausted, and reinforced his belief that I could run it under 2 hours. I wasn’t so confident, but I guess we will see.
After I high fived the crew, I hobbled home, happy knowing I was well capable of running the distance, showered and had a well deserved nap.
Race day dawns…
The day of the race finally arrived and what terrible weather – wet, windy and cold! Still, I guess that’s what you get for signing up for a race in March.
The first hour was spent waiting for the start. Standing idle, with only a thin t-shirt on, I was soon soaked through and shivering. Very soon, we runners were huddling together for warmth, just like penguins!
Remember that practice run I did? Well, it turns out we had not followed the route exactly and in fact the actual route was a little longer! After chatting with other runners I was happy that my pace was good though.
Five or so kilometres from the finish, I spotted an old flatmate, Ruben, in the crowd. We high fived, and that started a wave of people wanting to high five me! 20 or so high fives in I had to stop – it was slowing me down!
The last few kilometres were tough. My legs were slowing, no matter how much my brain was screaming at them not to, and admittedly, at times, I had shamefully thought about walking!
I finished with a time of 1:50:13 – sub 2 hours and importantly also faster than what my work colleague Sasha ran!
Next, a full marathon? Probably not, but I’d still be up for running another half – maybe in autumn, when the weather is likely to be drier.
Much love to those who supported me and donated on my fundraising page. There’s still time to donate here until June – all three charities are such worthy causes, and every penny is going to make a real difference to lots of people both here in Cambridge and across the world.