Disclaimer:  in this blog post I blow my own trumpet.  I can’t help it.  I’m really chuffed to bits.  Don’t read on if you don’t want to participate in my self indulgence. 

The other day I read a blog by a guy who did a long walk.  Much longer than mine.  He wrote:

My epic trip was the E4, 5,000km from Tarifa in Spain to Budapest.  A 6 month tramp across Europe changed everything, including my body shape, and I now spend my time either walking somewhere in the world or planning my next trip.

The words “[the walk] changed everything, including my body shape“, really struck home with me.  I don’t want to bang on about it but my long walk has changed everything for me too.  I am physically fit; something I’ve always wanted to me.  And work comes in healthy doses, rather than a toxic overload. It may not last but right now I feel lucky. Life of course has all kinds of peaks, troughs, twists and turns.  But today is a peak.  A good day.  A very good day.

Last year I took up running.  I had run a bit, not seriously at all, about 10 or 12 years ago.  I was distinctly average.  Since I restarted last year, after my walk, I’ve fallen more and more in love with running.  Its an awful lot easier when not carrying extra layers of body insulation.  My dear friend Alison Chisnell got me roped into a marathon, which was last April, and since then I’ve decided I like the feeling of [relative] speed, so my focus has been on the 10k distance.

Today, I finally went and ran my first 10k race since last November.  Actually it ended up as a 7.5m race.  A HardMoors series 10k.  HardMoors is a wonderful series of trail races held in the hills of the North York Moors.  Mud, steps, rocky river bank paths, hills, bog, steep inclines.  You get the picture.

Anyhow.  I WAS THE VERY FIRST LADY TO FINISH.  1st lady!  Can I say that again?  First lady.  Not first veteran 40.  But the first of all the ladies of all ages.  And the 6th person overall.  

My happy face

My happy face

I am amazed.  Thrilled.  Very happy.  All that hard work training.  It was worth it.  It might not have been hundreds of runners taking part.  But I won a race.  I never saw myself as a person who could win running races.  I may never win another.  But always I’ll remember today.

I was aware from about 3 miles onwards that there were no women in front of me.  And I couldn’t quite believe it, but it was a huge motivation to push on and reach that finish before any other female could overtake me.  In the end I think I was a couple of minutes clear.

Ok, since I am giving myself a self indulgence free pass for the evening, I’m going to do a few thank yous.

Alison Chisnell – thank you so much for persuading me to join you in your mad plan to run a marathon.  And for all the support and shared learning and nerdiness as we have bled Amazon dry of all the running and nutrition books in print.

Anthony Allinson – thank you for cheering me on.

Suzanne Szenher and June Heron – amazing ladies on bicycles and on two feet.  Thank you for inspiring me and showing me how good us 40++ers can be.  And for the laughs.

Graham JanesHMGOATH 1_0316 – thank you for keeping my muscles in some kind of working order, and for the motivation.  My wings helped me take off today.

Emma Barraclough – for teaching me about nutrition, and how to train.

Ann Holmes and Yvonne Wyke for encouraging me to think I am ok at running.

Ian Christie – my husband and no.1 supporter.  The best thing about today was the smile on your face when I got home.




31 thoughts on “I WON A RACE!

  1. Well done Flora, that’s a great achievement – well chuffed for you.
    Was terrified when I did my first marathon a few weeks ago. And pleased as punch to finish
    Hope that you go on to take part and win many more races.

  2. If you can’t have a bit of self indulgence over such a wonderful achievement – then I don’t know when you can!
    As ever Flora – you are a breath of fresh air.
    Bask away indeed!

  3. The best thing about this whole post is your total almost disbelief that you could have won such a race at all. It sums you up perfectly! Theres a lot to take from your victory methinks. Well done Flora, it was never in doubt 🙂

    • Thanks Pete. Watch out. Long waljs do funny things to you. I would have said exactly your words 18 months ago.

      Anyway, onto more meaningful things – you are doing great. Finishing line in sight. Amazing. I slowed up and did teeny tiny days near the end of my walk as I didnt want it to end. The last week or so is quite an emotional rollercoaster. But one to be savoured.

      • Thanks Flora – Meeting you was a real highlight and a great inspiration. I really really really won’t take up marathon running though…honest!!!

        I am still trying to focus on the next day or so rather than 4 weeks away, but it does lurk in my head and I suspect the next few weeks might be tough as I am just looking forward to getting home to my family, my dogs, a big bed, a proper sofa and deep enamelled bath. Bliss!!!! Then it’s time to try to earn some money to pay those bills. Might need some ideas there. Please keep in touch. Pete x

      • I will do. If there’s one thing I learnt, it was to focus on the here and now. Sounds like its the same for you. Hugely valuable. And in all kinds of context.

  4. Flora you continue to inspire me – you are awesome girl! Really proud of you – well done!!!! You doing the wensleydale wedge next Sunday? David doing it and loads of Ripon Runners…

    • Thank you Katie. You inspire me too. No, im not doing Wensledale. To be honest I only did this one because I have an op coming up and I wanted to give it a go just to see. Really, my goal is to do a decent 10k time in March.

  5. Flora, “distinctly average” is a description that I would never use when referring to you! Competitive, focused, driven, bright, funny and a lovely friend – that’s what you are. On reading your post I was right behind you up those jagged hills and down those sloppy slopes – wonderfully descriptive and very well done.

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