Running has become a part of my life. Before I describe my experience of running the Royal Parks Half Marathon I would like to share how my passion for running has originated.
Before I started running I used to keep fit by doing other forms of exercise such as Aerobics and Pilates. It was when my friend Audrey suggested that I start running with her that I began to take an interest. She introduced me to the Ladies Running Club and I became a member. Still, I did not join the Ladies on the weekend long runs as I had the misconception that I would not be able to keep up with them but would lag behind, which later I realised how wrong I was.
I signed up for the Malta Half Marathon in February and I tried to train for it on my own. Despite having the determination and self-discipline I found this hard to do especially when it came to increasing the long runs. I managed to complete my first half-marathon in 2hrs and 31 mins. My aim had been to complete it, so I was pleased. Now, I felt confident to run with the Ladies.
Running with the Ladies got me even more hooked! I was given such a warm welcome that I immediately felt at ease. I have realised that for me running in a group is better than running alone in a number of ways. It’s motivating, more enjoyable and you can choose to run with someone who has your same pace or run with someone who challenges you enough to push a little more.
A month in after I started running with the Ladies, I was invited to join the group who were going to run the Royal Parks in October. They gave me all the information thus enticing me to join them. I trained all summer with them. As it was summer it was harder to run not only because of the heat and having to wake up even earlier, but also because it was harder to co-ordinate when to meet up. Despite all this there was such encouragement within the group that we managed to train really hard and I really looked forward to each run.
The day finally arrived! Running the Royal Parks half marathon was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my life. When we got to Hyde Park and lined up in our coloured funnel, my excitement could not be contained that when we started running I felt such elation I got all choked up with emotion. Running on a high? Yes I think so, running in that fresh crisp air through the luscious green parks, stunning views along the Embankment, famous landmarks such as the Big Ben, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace was ‘surreal’. I just couldn’t believe I was doing this! The crowd cheering at us was such an adrenaline rush that no sports gel could top that. It was magnificent, all went as planned and I was lucky to find such a ‘big family’ with my running buddies.
Final result – I did it in 2 hrs and 8 mins. That is a 23 minute-improvement in nearly 8 months. I feel truly blessed to have been given this opportunity to do this. I highly recommend this experience, something that should be on the ‘must-do’ list’.