I have always enjoyed running. I would go for a run in the park, or by the beach, when I felt like it, maybe once a week or so. I would probably run for 10-15 minutes, until my pulse was high and I was sweating, and then I would stop, having a big smile on my face: an endorphin rush, or “emotion created by motion”.
It was only recently, a few months ago, when I started running on a more consistent basis. And I did that as a self-discipline practice, more that anything else. So after a while of going for runs 2-3 times a week (sometimes at crazy hours, like 6am in the winter darkness), I had the thought of pushing forward and participating in a race – just for the experience of it.
I don’t know if you can relate, but for me, once I decide I want to do something, then the Universe starts bringing people, events, emails etc into my life. And that’s exactly what happened: First I heard about a race in Colchester, and the next day I went online and booked my participation. While doing this, the thought of raising money for charity came to mind. I had never fundraised for a charity before, and I wasn’t sure of how to do it or which charity to support; but again, the answers came to me clearly and quickly.
I decided to support “Bridge2Aid”, a charity that provide emergency dental treatment in Africa; I believe it is a very worthwhile cause. Before you know it, I set up a justgiving.com page, I started talking to people about the race and the charity, I was posting on social media about it (usually by doing some videos after I had done my practice run!), and gradually the fundraising was increasing.
As I said, I had never ran in a race before, and I had certainly never ran 10k – the most I had done was half of that. So I started training – I had a couple of months ahead before the race. The training was going well, and when one day I ran 9k, I knew that I could do it! I had set an initial target of completing the race in under one hour; then, in order to push myself a bit more, I set my target to 55 minutes instead – to keep me more motivated.
The day of the race was a beautiful Sunday morning – the forecast was predicting rain, but instead the weather decided to be kind to us! There were about 800 runners participating, people of all ages. It was a great atmosphere, and when the starting pistol gave the signal, I started running, progressively increasing my pace. There were spectators and marshals all along the route, encouraging us and cheering at us; I had never experienced this before. I was smiling all along, feeling super and having a great, positive mentality.
When I reached the last 200 meters, I gave it everything I had, by doing a sprint that belonged more to a 400m run than a 10k! I felt a great sense of achievement, fulfilment and success. Not only I smashed my target, by doing 53:42, and got my 1st ever medal in a race, but also fundraised over £300 for charity, from the very generous supporters.
Epilogue & Lessons I’ve learned
Colchester 10k run was an amazing experience – a great sense of achievement, and the feeling of having helped raising money for a worthwhile cause too.
Before I started, I didn’t know whether I could run 10k, and I didn’t know how to raise money for charity. But the moment you decide to do something, the answers come to you.
My next step? A half marathon!! Watch this space 🙂
(Update 30/9/2018 – Half marathon completed!!)