Parkrun and the blind

About a month ago, through the Guide Running UK website I met a VI runner online and we ran the Coventry Memorial Park parkun together which was my first guide running experience. This week I went to the Colwick parkrun as they had a special awareness day about guide running. I volunteered to run the course blindfolded so now I have experience from both sides.

Guide running can be different every time depending on the blind runner and the guide. Not all ‘blind runners’ are totally blind, some have peripheral, blurry or tunnel vision…this means not all of them will run tethered to their guide. Blind runners have different requirements about which side their guide is on, how long their tether is, when they want obstacles pointed out to them and what type of obstacles are most important.

Guides also have different abilities, even though someone can run a 5km course in 22 minutes, it would be difficult to maintain that pace because as a guide as you have to speak to your running partner throughout. Sometimes a guide will be slower than their running partner, and even though you must go at the blind runners pace, they will slow down if you ask them!

The main thing when you are guiding is definitely communication between the guide and the runner, both before, during and after your run.

  • Do you want to run a little faster? Tell your guide
  • Is there a child running in not a very straight line? Tell your runner
  • Does it feel like your shoelace is untied, but can’t see it? Ask your guide
  • Are they feeling up to a sprint finish? Ask your runner

These are all things that I’ve had to ask when guiding and being guided.

To some people guide running may seem really daunting, but it’s a great thing to do, and even if you just walk the course with a runner, it’s getting them out and doing something and the runners are always grateful for your time and company.

What I learnt today from being blindfolded was just how many things can affect your running and footing – running around tight bends, tree roots on the path, and especially a change of surface from gravel to grass to tarmac which is a really bizarre feeling.

How was it running blindfolded? Well at the beginning it took me a while to get my rhythm because it was a bit crowded and the noise of everybody’s feet hitting the floor made me feel like I was going to run on top of people’s feet. But when people spread out and there were wider paths I got my confidence and ran at a faster pace. I felt at the end I could have done another lap! I was surprised we overtook so many people and finished with a great time of 30:07, I’ll have to go back to Colwick to see what time I can get on that course without a blindfold, but 30 minutes is very respectable for my first effort.

Having a guide was obviously a BIG part of today, I wouldn’t have been able to even walk the course without Paul, so a bit shout out to him and all the other regular volunteer guide runners.

If you’re interested in running, guiding or even being a marshall at a parkrun, here are some useful websites

http://guiderunning.uk/
http://www.parkrun.org.uk/
http://www.ulearnathletics.com/qualification/299

 

 

 

 

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Strava Improvements

I love Strava, I’ve been using it for over a year now to track my cycling and running sessions and I can’t believe it took me so long to get into it! It records your movements by connecting with GPS and you can connect it to compete in segments (mini races on short stretches of roads) against your Facebook friends, running/cycling club and other athletes. But there are some things which I think would make Strava* even better.

‘GPS connected’ notification

When it’s sunny outside (which is often in summer), I go outside and can’t see the screen well because of the brightness, let alone the little GPS bars in the corner which you need to look at to see if you’re connected or not. If my phone could vibrate or beep to let me know when it’s connected to GPS, it would be good.

‘GPS lost’ notification

Ever been out and had a really amazing split for one of your runs (or a really bad one), then realise that mid-run, your GPS had dropped out and you didn’t notice? Just look at this map, I was doing circular laps on the running track but my GPS thought otherwise. Again, if there was a notification to say hold on a minute while we connect you to another GPS satellite, it would help a lot.

GPS dropped out
When your GPS isn’t connected and makes a really strange pattern!

Link heart rate data from Fitbits

I have a Fitbit that tracks my heart rate as well as all the other data, and you can link Strava with heart rate monitors to see your heart rate throughout your activities. But for some reason, Strava doesn’t link the data from my Fitbit.

Best effort since…

Sometimes you do a run or a segment and you know you won’t get a personal best on it because you’ve had an injury, moved country, are having a bad season or any other reason. So I think if you were able to add a significant event that affects your performance and then have a new set of times taking that into account it would be beneficial for people who can’t get those pb’s anymore. For example, with the pollution and conditions in China, I knew I wouldn’t get a pb on my 5km time very easily, so getting a ‘Best 5km time since moving to China’, that would be a great boost.

Extra voice notifications

When I ran in China, I heard other runners’ apps talking to them. While Strava says Distance 4km. Time 21 minutes, 43 seconds. Previous kilometre in 5 minutes, 12 seconds , the Chinese apps said all kinds of stuff!

You’ve just ran 5km, waheyyyy! You’ve ran 5km in 23 minutes and 24 seconds. You ran the last kilometre in 5 minutes 12 seconds. That’s faster than the last kilometre, keep going, you’re great!!

It was a much more personal notification and a lot more upbeat than the computerised Strava woman. There could be options as to whether you get the standard simple notifications, and then extra notifications which could be positive and motivating like the Chinese one, or even slightly negative to get you running faster. Imagine if your running app told you to pick your feet up, run faster or even told you that you’re slower than a turtle!

*I use Strava on a Samsung phone, Android operating system and have a free account

Running into Danger

Running can be a dangerous sport, just take this year’s Guangzhou marathon where 12,000 out of the 20,000 runners were injured. For me, one of the biggest dangers when I go running is what is also called ‘man’s best friend’…that’s right, dogs.

In the UK, it’s better, dogs are usually kept on leads and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any stray dogs, also see Ben’s post about the running and the seven stages of dog . But here in China, dogs aren’t always kept on leads and there are lots of stray dogs.

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When I see a dog out on a run, first, I look around and see if there’s an owner nearby who would be able to call it over, or keep it nearby, which they sometimes do automatically. If there’s not an owner, I assess the situation and try to figure out if it’s safer to run past it or turn around and run back. Most of the time, dogs don’t see me coming (I must run light-footed) so I have about 30 seconds to make my decision. I look at what the dog’s doing (can I run past it without it noticing me?), how fast I think it can run (would I be able to outrun it) and if it’s clean or dirty (I don’t want to get rabies). I also look for trees that I could jump up to get out of the way, ridiculous I know, but that’s fear for you.

There was a time when I ran through a small village at the back of the university, the paths were small and interesting, there were fat chickens waddling around, old people sitting on doorsteps etc, but there were also guard dogs. The guard dogs were locked inside front gardens, with leads and big metal fences, but when I ran past they barked really loudly and aggressively. I was so scared I’ve never ran that route again, despite it being really beautiful and natural.

I know that dogs actually don’t want to bite people, I’m not sure where my fear comes from and what I’m actually scared of. I thought I’d gotten over it a few years ago, but the fear is still there, especially when I’m running, which is when I feel most vulnerable as I’m often on my own, running in quiet places and without a mobile phone.

 

 

Who put the 松 in 马拉松?

Chinese is a pretty ancient language, with some characters* still resembling the original drawings that people made thousands of years ago. But often, new inventions or words are invented, that weren’t in any previous Chinese dictionaries. Some of these words are Anglicisms – words that sound like the English words, but have been spelt out in Chinese characters. Here are a few to get you warmed up, let’s see if you can guess them (answers at the bottom)

  • 沙发 shafa
  • 可口可乐 kekoukele
  • 比萨 bisa
  • 伦敦 lundun

Another one is 马拉松, the Chinese word for marathon. As you can see, there are three characters, and each one has it’s own meaning:

  1. 马 ma
  2. 拉 la  and
  3. 松 song

So when you put them together, they sound like marathon – malasong. Do you hear it? So let’s look closer at the characters and their meanings:

  1. 马 means horse, which I think is fair, considering the distance in a marathon
  2. 拉 means pull, tug, transport, moving, play (string instruments) etc, which is also ok, considering you have to move yourself a long way to the finish line and it involves energy
  3. 松 however, is different. it means pine tree (which is fair if there are pine trees on the route), but it also means loose, relaxed, slack, untied which are not words I would associate with a marathon.

I just completed my first half marathon yesterday, it was in China, so I thought about this during the race. Who put the 松 in 马拉松? because there were points (especially after my dreaded 17km stage) were my muscles were definitely not loose and relaxed, I wasn’t relaxed, and I didn’t want my shoelaces to be untied either!

Do you have any idea where this came from? Do you think it’s funny?

Here’s a video to the Running Man tv show, the lyrics to the chorus are: brothers, let’s run together GO GO GO GO, run, run, run. People played it aloud on their phones during the race, it definitely got in my head and is kinda catchy.

*by characters, I mean the Chinese symbols they use as letters

Answers to the test: 沙发 shafa (sofa),可口可乐 kekoukele (coke), 比萨 bisa (pizza), 伦敦 lundun (London)

Running around the world

Doing a sport in a different country will always be a little different from doing it at home, with different facilities, weather and people, you probably won’t get the same experience. Running is no different.

When I started running, back in the Canary Islands in 2013, the conditions were just perfect for me. The club I ran with organised running routes to the next village and back, as well as some core strength exercises before we set off. The weather was quite humid and warm most of the time, even though we ran in the evening. The run to the next village was along the coast, and there was also a part with about 400 steps if I remember correctly, and we ran up and down those steps at least once each training session, which was essential as most of the races were mountainous.

When I went back to the UK and joined the triathlon team, to be honest, I didn’t really get into the running part of it until quite late. Sure, I did some interval sessions and a couple of runs around campus, but I didn’t join Strava until about June, so I wasn’t really invested in my running.

Strava definitely changed that, I loved finding segments when I went out running and was surprised to break a few course records. What was even better, was going to a different city or country and topping the leader board in another place. I currently own CRs in three countries!

In the UK, I would go running on a route around my house, near a lake, near the canal, through housing estates, but always quite close to greenery and along a nature footpath. The mornings would be cold, so I often ran in the evenings before dinner time and the running community in the UK is so friendly. When runners come across each other, we smile and wave (before going home later and seeing the flyby and checking out their run!*)

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Before my 800m race

Anyway, running in China is definitely the most difficult of all the places I’ve ran. Firstly, the air quality. When I first arrived, after every run, I had a sore throat and a bad cough and I knew it was because of the air pollution. My friends told me that after two weeks, my body would adjust and it kind of did, but of course there are days that are more polluted than others, and if I exert myself too much, I might get a cough.

Some Chinese cities are great to run in, there are parks, hills, lakes and rivers. But often, that’s not the case and I find myself running on the road. Chinese cities love big leafy avenues, but sometimes the tree takes up the whole of the pavement, so I have to run on the road instead. China is always constructing and reconstructing, so you have to watch out for open manholes, tools left on the ground and construction vehicles. This is probably why most people run on the athletics track on campus.

But the good thing about all the construction is how much my run has changed. I used to run until the pavement stopped, but then they added more pavement, so I run further now. They also added tactile slabs on the ground and have filled in some of the big holes that were in the floor. Running in China is always an experience, especially in the morning when you come across people doing tai chi or other strange exercises.

*Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this

Racing for toiletries

Last month, there was a ‘long distance’ running race at our university. A friend of mine helped me to sign up and I asked her how long the race would be, what the route would be etc. Because my regular training route is a 10km lap around campus. But she didn’t know and couldn’t find out any concrete information about the details of the race.

SAM_0015
Me before the race

Race day came and it was only then that I found out that the men’s race would be a 4km lap around some of the university buildings, yet the women’s race was only 2km. I wasn’t very happy and asked why the girls should run half the distance of the men, they told me that it’s fairer like that because most girls don’t like running…well this girl does! I asked if I could join the longer race with the boys and was told ‘no’.

I was also told there would be prizes, which were separated into ten 1st class prizes, ten 2nd class prizes and ten 3rd class prizes for the top 30 finishers, and all participants would get something, even if they weren’t in the top 30. My goal was top 10. What would my prize be, cash? food? running kit? vouchers?

I did a bit of a warm up and got ready, there were about 120 girls racing. After the whistle went, I dodged in and out of people wearing all sorts of strange clothes – Toms shoes, some wearing rucksacks, most in jeans and hoodies – and quickly got to the front of the race where I planned to stay. There was one other girl in front of me (the one who won the 1500m in the athletics meet) who ended up winning the race.

I came second! I crossed the line and took my voucher for a 1st class prize to the desk, where I got given a big bag of stuff. I sat on a bench, eager to open my bag of goodies and see what I had won:

  • a 2l bottle of laundry detergent
  • 8 big multipacks of tissues
  • a bottle of shampoo
  • an animal keyring (a dalmation in my case)

It was by far the strangest prize I’ve ever won at a race but actually quite useful as I had recently ran out of washing powder and tissues always come in handy. Actually, when I won 3rd for the 1500m, I also got a tube of Korean toothpaste alongside my medal, so this school promotes staying clean and exercising.

What strange prizes have you won at races? What do you think about the men’s and women’s races being different lengths?

Getting out and running

 

The cold, dark mornings arrived in China which really disrupted my running habit. I used to set my first alarm at 6.13am to get up and run at 6.30am when my dormitory’s door was unlocked and go for a morning run in one of the three stadiums on campus. But now, even if I set that 6.13am alarm, it’s really hard to get out of bed and go running. I don’t usually mind running in the rain, and it’s been raining a lot lately, but more and more people have told me that the rain in China has lots of chemicals that can damage my skin and hair, which puts me off. And I don’t have a base layer, amongst all my other excuses.

On Sunday, I wasn’t planning on going for a run, I had a tough HIIT taekwondo class on Saturday [lots of jumping] and had another one on Sunday afternoon, but when I woke up at 10.30am and saw the sun shining, I just couldn’t resist going for a run. Especially as the day before I deleted a lot of slow songs off my mp3 player, so it was full of uplifting, upbeat songs.

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A rare sunny morning in Jinhua

My legs were a bit stuff, but it was so bright and clear outside, I didn’t mind. I knew taekwondo class would be hard that afternoon, especially if the instructor made us do all that jumping again, but I told myself I’m training for a marathon, I need to keep running.

After my 8.7km run, I treated myself to lunch in the canteen. I’d seen the deep fried chicken wings several times, but never tried them until Sunday. They were a little spicy, and I am really glad I tried them, 35p for two is a bargain too.

I didn’t bother to get changed out of my favourite running top, as I have to wear something underneath my itchy taekwondo clothes. In taekwondo that afternoon, after 3 weeks of practice, I finally managed to master a kick that the instructor had been teaching us. After class I went back to the canteen in my gym clothes, (the second time in one day!) and was pleased with all the sport I’d done that weekend. It was tiring, and I think I almost cried in taekwondo on Saturday because it was too difficult, but I made it through and am now stronger for it.

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My favourite running top
Sometimes, you just need that little push to get you out running, then all is good. On Sunday it was the sunshine, I wonder what it will be today, or tomorrow.

First Athletics Meet [1500m]

Ok, so technically this wasn’t my first athletics competition I’ve taken part in. In year 7, I was in the Coventry schools athletics tournament, I raced in the 110m hurdles and came last. I came last because we’d been using training hurdles at school, but when we got to the competition, they were raised a few cms higher. I cleared the first one, but fell over at the second, and the third and ended the race crying, with bloody knees. I still have a scar from that day. It was one of those days where wasn’t about taking part, it was more about finishing the race and not giving up at the first hurdle [pun intended].

Anyway, Zhejiang Normal uni, like most Chinese universities, holds an annual athletics meet or 运动会, it’s like a sports day that Chinese people do throughout their school life, so actually by the time they get to university, most students are a bit bored of it all and choose not to watch or take part – which isn’t the spirit!!

As I love sports and am preparing for the upcoming Jinhua marathon in April, I decided to enter the longest distance races available – 800m and 1500m. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t a 5km* race, but I couldn’t complain/didn’t know who to complain to.

I was the only girl from my department to enter the 1500m, but there would be other girls competing from other departments (engineering, nursery, maths, literature etc). There were 42 female competitors in the end, and I was quite nervous about all of us running at the same time, but then my 负责人 Evelyn (another Chinese student from my department who was appointed to be almost like a PA – taking me to get my race number, telling me the rules, etc) told me how we’d be split into 3 heats. There wouldn’t be a final, so I’d have to run faster than the girls in the other heats to get up on the leaderboard.

I lined up on the starting line and looked at my competitors, some were in sports clothes, one was wearing denim shorts, not all of them had proper trainers. But I dressed the part, even if I lost my race, I wanted to look like a professional athlete from overseas, so wore my matching purple Puma top and shorts, along with my trademark blue headband, blue sunglasses and worn out trainers which probably need replacing.

Before the race
Before the race

The race started and although my coach told me to stay in the middle, with 5 girls ahead of me, I decided to stick with the first three girls. The four of us broke away at the beginning and we dropped down to three after the first 200m as the girl in grey got tired. I was running alongside the girl in black for a while, keeping a steady pace for a lap. Then her coach shouted at her and she overtook me for a little while, but I could tell that she wouldn’t be able to keep that pace for a long time, so I just stayed with her, stamping my feet so she knew I was coming for her. We’d lost the girl in yellow by this time. I wasn’t really thinking about the other heats, I just wanted to win this race as I had a whole stand full of fans shouting for me. My friends from Sudan, Cameroon, South Korea, China, Ghana and Ethiopia all turned out for me and whistled, shouted and went crazy each time I passed them.

Setting the pace
Before the race

I soon overtook her and she kept behind for a while, until when I got to the final 250m I accelerated, and made my move to see if she would respond. A few seconds later, I couldn’t hear her footsteps, only the whistles from the crowd and people shouting my name. I glanced back at the end of the final corner and saw she hadn’t upped the pace like me. That was it, I’d won! Glory was mine as I crossed the finish line.

The crowd went wild and I was suddenly surrounded by people, my 负责人 Evelyn, gave me some water, and the other people were school journalists, all wanting to interview me. I felt like a pro sportswoman as I told them how this was the first time I’d ran a 1500m race and my usual race is triathlon.

When the results came out later, I saw I’d ran in it 5.59:42mins, so my pace was just under 4mins/km, which was what I was aiming for. But what surprised me more was my standing! I came third overall, which meant I’d go on the podium to receive a medal and some flowers from one of the school’s deputies. It was the first time I’d been on a podium like this, with flower girls, my name being read out on a microphone and a group of paparazzi standing below.

Very happy to be on the podium
Before the race

*it turns out there was a 5km race, but it was only open to students in the sports department, meaning there were only 4 girls competing, I should have been able to race in that!

They Try To Stop Me Running

As the lyrics to Rise and Shine say, today I set my alarm for 6am, got my sports clothes on and went to go and run. But something tried to stop me before I even started. The door was locked and I couldn’t get out. There wasn’t even anybody at the desk or hanging around who I could go get to open it for me.

Locked door
Locked door
I decided to run at this (clearly) unsociable hour as it’s really hot in the south of China right now, it’s much cooler in the morning and there are less people about. It’s also cool in the evening, but after sundown, running becomes more dangerous as the campus isn’t well lit and there are all sorts of potholes and obstacles on the floor – broken glass, rubbish, empty pipes, you never know what you could trip over.
I didn’t know what to do. In Chinese dormitories, curfews are normal and in Qingdao, the doors were locked between 11pm and 5am, I guessed here would be the same but it was already 6.10am by this point and there were no signs of anyone opening the door. So I decided to do some stair running in the meantime. We used to do it in land training at swimming, but on a larger scale with maybe over 300 stairs and 10 floors to climb. There are 7 floors in my building and 148 steps from the bottom to the top. I ran this three times, doing 10 press-ups when I reached the top and after 8 minutes of this, the door was open and I was set free. It felt so good to be out running on campus. It was a lot cooler than it has been and I ran towards the running track, which is where most Chinese students go running. I was definitely the only one running through campus, despite the three lakes and wide avenues to run on. On my way, lots of people were already on campus (unlike UK campuses where nobody would be around before 7am), looking at me as I ran past.  I’m not sure if I should ignore, acknowledge or greet them.
I got to the running track and realised that I hadn’t activated my GPS, so the 11 minutes I just spent running there weren’t tracked, I think it was about 2km though. I ran 3km on the running track, overtaking a topless middle aged man, who’s mouth dropped wide open when he saw me, a basketball team who had been staring at me from the bunkers each time I ran past, an old lady in patchwork shorts with amazing calves and a couple of other Chinese students. It was a bit boring running in circles, so after that I went around the campus for a quick loop of the lake, but as mentioned above, there were lots of obstacles so I had to concentrate. There were stepping stones, broken steps, piles of rubbish and pedestrians to be aware of. It wasn’t as good at this time (closer to 7am) as the people practicing Tai Chi and strange Chinese exercises had all finished.
When I finished, I wanted to have breakfast from the canteen. But I haven’t got my canteen card yet, so I semi-forcefully told a Chinese student I’d be using his card to buy my tea-eggs and thrust a 1 kuai coin in his hand. He was a bit taken aback, a sweaty foreigner in a bright green BUCS triathlon t-shirt telling him to buy two eggs, but he didn’t say no. I also bought a carton of coconut water, which was nice and refreshing as it was starting to get warmer.
After breakfast, I synced my run to Strava and it didn’t work! It said it had uploaded, but I couldn’t see my route or splits. I stressed out and thought that the whole world was against me running this morning, what with the locked door, no GPS and now Strava not uploading my run, but an hour or so later, my run appeared and all was good. I’m going to ask what time our dorm opens, as if it is 6.30am, maybe I’ll spend an extra 10 minutes in bed, rather than running up and down the stairs!

City of Birmingham Triathlon – Race Report

After a long time without racing, today was finally my day to don the green and gold University of Nottingham trisuit as I competed in the UK Triathlon Series City of Birmingham triathlon. It was a long day, comprising of Olympic, Sprint, Super Sprint and Fun distance triathlons, for all abilities. Some competitors set off at 7.30am, but my race wasn’t until 9.45am so I got a bit of a lie in. Travelling from Coventry also meant that I didn’t have to leave my house at 5am and have a three hour coach drive to the event. It was held in Sutton Park and I was competing in the Olympic distance – 1500m (open water) swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

I arrived, registered and got my race pack, with plenty of goodies from the race sponsors Mornflake. I had to stick my numbers to my front and back (unlike in other events) and had a bit of a pickle attaching them to my race belt. I could only safety pin my front number when I closed my race belt, which proved slightly problematic as you’ll see later.

I got to transition and stood speechless for a few seconds, looking desperately for my race number and where to rack my bike. I asked another triathlete and she said it’s a free for all system, so I could choose where I wanted to go. I chose a place close to the ‘bike out’ so I’d have less to run with my bike and managed to find an empty rack so I spread my stuff out nicely.

Transition all set up and knowing where to bike and run out of, I got into my wetsuit and went to the race briefing, where 60 ladies in pink hats listened to a marshal explain the course and tell us that the water was 19°C. I got in the water, after not having swam in over a month and waited for the klaxon. Most of the weaker swimmers stayed at the back so the start was quite calm – no kicks in the face, elbow nudges or ducking. We quickly split into two packs and I was leading the second pack until the second buoy, which hit me in the head as I tried to pass it. I lost a few places but carried on. It was a difficult swim because the water was so murky, I couldn’t see past my elbow.

Out of the water and into transition, I found my bike and started to take off my wetsuit, it’s a new wetsuit which is really tight at the ankles. A guy who was setting up his transition for a later race next to me helped me take it off with a few strong tugs. I stepped into my race belt – and only realised on the bike that my numbers were upside down, threw on all my other kit and ran over to the mount line.

The bike course was 8 x 5km laps on a stretch of Sutton Park. It was nice to be racing with some of the Olympic males at the beginning and have the Sprint males join us at the end, but it was kind of frustrating because I couldn’t pick out who I was racing against. Male and female trisuits are pretty similar and if women have their hair tied up it’s hard to see their gender. The course was hilly and winding with no flat straights at all. The tarmac was a smooth relief after the sections where tree roots had made cracks in the path and the ironed out gravel surface which slowed us all down.

Post Race Photo
Post Race Photo

I also had a close encounter when one of the sprint princes* shouted “coming past princess” and got in front of me. He’d just finished his swim and was trying to put his feet into his shoes, but they weren’t going in and he was losing his balance. He was wobbling a bit and I didn’t know where he was going so didn’t want to move. Our wheels clipped but luckily we both stayed up, he got clipped into his shoe and off he went.

Coming back into transition, I re-racked my bike, took off my helmet and set off running. I don’t have special cleat shoes for the bike so didn’t need to faff around changing shoes. I felt so heavy after the bike and the 10km ahead of me seemed really long over the country paths of grass, dirt and stones. It was 4 x 2.5km laps and the third one was definitely the hardest. I ran past some of the male Olympic competitors who by this stage were walking, although some were still running. Then some of the Sprint competitors who started after us, came through so it was quite a busy run. There was also a herd of black cows to pass on two occasions, but luckily they didn’t move whilst I was running past them.

I ran back into the finish line and had my name read out. I was relieved, hot and exhausted, yet I was still buzzing from the race and was eager to see my times. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a receipt-like service to print out your individual results, they were published on a TV screen and it was crowded so I couldn’t see at first.

After my massage, which was great on my legs, I went back to see my time and saw that I came 9th overall, out of 60 female Olympic entrants, and 1st in my category. My time was 2 hrs 53 but the results haven’t been published yet, so I still don’t know my splits.

Female Olympic Age Group Winners
Female Olympic Age Group Winners

I had fun on the course and picking up an age group win feels great, seeing as I haven’t been in the sport that long. My winning goody bag contained a new green and black silicone swim cap and plenty of High Five energy supplements that will keep me going in future training sessions and races.

A big shout out to the event organisers, sponsors, marshals and spectators. Although I enjoyed it, I probably wouldn’t do this particular triathlon again, as the 8 cycle laps became a bit mundane after the third but I would like to tri some other races in the UK Triathlon Series, like the Warwickshire or Stratford 220.

*Not all male triathletes are princes, I’m only calling him one because he called me princess. Some competitors can be grumpy and angry when in race mode.