Yes. I can’t quite believe it. Me. Pacing. Race. The Virgin Sport British 10k. I have just been so excited from the moment Leeanne said I am in! (Leeanne is Queen of the mighty Backpackers). Running in general makes me insanely happy and to spread a little happy vibe makes me even happier (I shall blog this. To be honest, I could write a novel!).
Backpackers (…could be my second novel!) pace the walk/jog, joggy and joggier paces at the Virgin Sport and Asics events. And we literally lead from the back. No one gets left behind. Ayca and I were up for the joggier pacing, aiming for a 1 hr 15 time. Our other dream team members were – Rich, Sim, Celeste and Jarnail. And of course cheer dem crew!
Race day morning comes. And it was HOT. Short shorts are on. Set off at 7:30am to meet the other pacers and collect out pacer packs. Now those flags… so light! Who knew. Of course, Rich had is on inside out. Always one huh!
We were armed with all the essentials – sweets, hairbands and Vaseline. I don’t mean to be so so easily pleased but this Vaseline… OMFG! I screamed.
Megs (Our vice captain. Also my London Marathon partner in crime. Forever bonded!) gave us the pre race game chat. We had this. We had our support. And all the encouragement in the world. What a team!
Next we headed for photos. And hang out pre race. At this point, whilst standing in the sun I realised this was really hotter than I initially thought. And I really did think that for some lovelies this was their first race, first 10k or first run in this kind of weather and that could be pretty scary. I knew, but it really dawned on me that actually my job here was to reassure and stick on that happy face and make those that need it feel that they have got this and we are there to reassure and be a happy kind smile to help them through.
And then we were off! I love this course. I really do have a new love for courses that loop back. You know why? You see your buddies. You can hi-five strangers. You smile at some one having a really rough time. This stuff gives you a boost more than any gel going. Fact. Ish. Probably not scientifically correct…
For someone with a slightly nervous disposition on things health – can I tell you how nice it was to now have the old heart beat panic inducing count down at the start of a race! Generally the heart beating thing is the one moment in a race the fear creeps. I don’t like thinking it may happen. I don’t like it happening. That noise and enter spiral of what if running is really bad for my heart, it is a strain and maybe I shouldn’t do this and you know the score. For not doing this, Virgin Sport, I thank you! (I must email Vitality 10000 bunch… would I look odd for requesting they don’t play it?! Maybe Mo Farah rates it?)
That loop round regents street was in blazing sun and honestly… brave old bunch. But on that note, the water and energy drinks were so well spaced. Never did I think one was too far. And Nuun is wonderful. Not sticky. You know how Lucozade kinda leaves you sticky… this stuff throw it all over like water if that’s your vibe. Which now we are on that note, on a hot day, throw that water all over for a cool down!
By the time we got down to the river I was in such need for some breeze. And we did get a little. But 8km and you are really feeling the heat. It was rough! Time to get those Haribos out and dig deep. Also time for “this is me”. Classic.
This race is so worth it just for Westminster Bridge. The views are stunning. And yes maybe you and I have seen them a million times. But it feels special. Especially when you have your crew waiting at the other side. And look at our girl, Orla, looking strong AF!
I love this lot. Like full on cringe worthy love them. Navski is always first spot (King of the Chasing Light family). He’s a total hero. This cheer dem crew have it… the noise, the signs, cowbells, sirens, huge lungs and all the positive vibes. These guys are selfless – they get up to get you round that race. They wait hours to see you for 10 seconds. And just knowing that friendly face and support is there is wonderful. And this bunch are like this for life, they are always there. All the feels.
Home straight time. And after the cheer dem vibes you know you have this! Line crossed. I paced a race. Hopefully helped some runners cross that line. Hopefully did what other pacers have done for me. Hopefully reassured even one person that running races is for everyone and a fun PB is what it’s about. Take the pressure off. Yesterday made me the HAPPIEST. I am so so proud of my Backpackers. In general. But for just being yourselves yesterday ❤️.
Huge thank you to Leeanne, Megs, Backpackers, Theo and Virgin Sport for this total dream.
High: A zillion. Pacing. With my Backpackers. Meeting so many new faces.
Low point: NONE. Cloud nine!