Race 1: Mayhill Massacre
Terrain: hilly, muddy, off-road
It’s normal for me to feel a little bit nervous before a big race, and I think many runners would also experience it – if you’re not nervous maybe you’re not taking it seriously enough?!
This race though, I was particularly anxious about. I probably wouldn’t have entered it, thinking it above my ability. The furthest I’ve raced is a half marathon (only twice!) and although this was shorter, I knew the terrain would make it much more challenging, and I was definitely underprepared.
There was a great atmosphere at the start: the Trimax team sure know how to throw a party, with amps blaring out high energy rock tunes to get us pumped and ready. The race started with a tough climb up the Mayhill, and I found myself thinking, what the hell have I got myself into?! When we broke through the trees on the top of the hills, the stunning views from the top made me forget the efforts of the climb, and just breathe in the surroundings. I settled into my groove, and as we went through forest tracks and had to almost swim through some patches of mud, I had the biggest grin on my face and was loving every minute. Uphill running is my nemesis, and every time the race climbed again, I found myself getting weaker and weaker and feeling almost at the point of collapse a few times. But I played to my strengths and tried to zip past people on the downhill.
At moments through the run, I found myself thinking about the challenge I’d set myself, fearing I’d taken on too much, wondering if I’d be disciplined enough – not with the running or races, because I’ve established a good training pattern, but more with the race write ups, picking and planning races in advance, fitting it all into my busy schedule, and being brave enough to tell people what I was doing. But I reminded myself why I was doing this: because there are people, mainly young women and children, who are under the oppression of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, and it’s not right, and I have to do anything I can to help combat it (for those of you who don’t know, this is also my research specialism at university). So as I put every ounce of energy into slogging through the cold, sticky mud, I thought of the girls I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard, the people who ultimately I want to help, by raising awareness and supporting the work of A21. And it’s so worth it.
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