One Foot Forward Equals Progress!
Author: Christina Pennock
The best results are when you expect them the least! After starting the year well, my training suddenly ground to a halt in late January as I was one of the unlucky Belles that fell down with injury during the cross-country season. Injury taught me that I am not very patient ( like most runners), but after taking a couple of months out of proper training and forfeiting the big show in London, I have been slowly building the sessions back up.
I only entered the Chislehurst Trail Half Marathon as it looked like a nice route around the woods and hills of south London and was convenient for my lunch plans that day. I had no expectations of time or a place, the plan was just to enjoy the buzz of being back in a race and burn off enough to tuck into a decent pub roast afterwards!
After a downhill start, I spent the first 5 miles of the race sitting behind a group of guys who nicely blocked the breeze for me and just keeping the first two ladies in sight. We dived in and out of fields, forests and even forded a river, skipped over styles, fallen trees and through the nettles; the route could not have been more picturesque in the sunshine. A navigation error at the front of the race around mile 7 meant almost all of the top 30 runners went astray in some shape or form and when we all re-found the route the order of the pack had shifted about a little. I wasn’t that badly affected by the missed turn and still had a couple of ladies in front of me. I continued to keep up an even effort level, reeling them in until I was able to sit on their shoulders for the next few miles. Having taken on water with 4km to go, I felt like I had another gear in me for the final stretch so made a move past the Victoria Park Harrier and Beckenham vest. As soon as the crowds started shouting ‘first lady’ at me (something I am not used to) I grinned back and was filled with motivation. I continued my new found pace home to the final field finishing in a time of 1hrs 39.23 in overall 25th.
Not familiar with the etiquette involved with winning a race, as the finish line neared I wasn’t sure how to celebrate so I threw my hands above my head as I crossed the line like they do on the TV (only to be wrongly identified as the 25th male competitor over the tannoy?!) – clearly meant overall.
As a come-back race it couldn’t have gone better but progress forward!