Leg Day | Great South Run 2016

At the weekend I ran my second Great South Run- a ten mile route that takes you through Portsmouth and past its landmarks alongside thousands of other runners, joggers and walkers. Event days are the days I become pretty dramatic: tears everywhere. Alongside feeling a smidge proud, I have no problem with tearing up while I watch strangers run awesomely, achieving their personal bests or completing something they never thought they could. So on top of getting a personal best and watching my mum complete 10 miles with the biggest grin on her face, Lewis, my friend who suffered from a brain haemorrhage earlier this year came to watch.

ALL THE TEARS.

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I turned up with Aaron and his sister, Hannah, dressed in my bright pink St. George’s Hospital Charity t-shirt, feeling only excited to get across the start line. I was pretending to be miserable about the hyper warm up they get the runners to do beforehand but I was secretly so excited to squat with a thousand or so other people. As soon as we stepped foot into Portsmouth the atmosphere was so easy to get caught up in. And I turned up more confident than ever and so excited to run 10 miles for St. George’s Hospital Charity, the hospital who have looked after my friend super well- and continue to do so.

The weather, like last year, was perfect. Last year it was too perfect for my liking: too sunny; too warm; too “not my kind of running weather.” This year, with a slight breeze that was my absolute best pal throughout the race, I just felt excited. My water bottle was most certainly half full on Sunday. And I continued to be excited for the whole 10 miles- so relaxed and excited I was actually worried I needed to panic a little more.

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I finished the run in 01:25:18 and was so delighted, albeit shocked. Throughout the race I did feel as though I had more to give (but worried I’d use up too much energy if I did run a little faster) and I think I did have two or three minutes faster in me… Yet I couldn’t have been happier when I crossed the line, very aware I smashed my PB. After a further year of running under my belt than last year, I felt way more focused during the run, super comfortable and as though I was slightly indestructible.

Oh, how I was wrong.

As strong as I might have felt for the whole run, at mile six, I felt the blisters. Do. Their. Thang. And they did their thang well. Although getting better now, for two days afterwards, my left foot essentially gave up on me. I didn’t have the excruciating pain in my legs that followed Great South Run 2015 for about two weeks, but I experienced The Killer Blister, which made every aspect of walking pretty unbearable. It’s all bandaged now and I’ve stopped complaining… a little bit.

After being greeted at the finish line by a grinning Aaron and Hannah, handmade poster in hand, we found Lewis, his mum and his brother. Yes, I look like a grinning tomato because of running ten miles and yet (of course) it’s nothing in comparison to Lewis’s 7 months of terrible… And despite all of the bad luck that has been thrown his way, he looks ACE, while still recovering from the nasty stroke. So far I have raised £374 plus gift aid and there is still plenty of time to donate if you can spare anything at all! I am super thankful for the amazing donations I’ve got so far- Lewis and the hospital deserve it!

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We found a spot at about 100m away from the finish line, now with a poster for my mum in my hands, and soon enough there was my mumma kicking butt. For my mum’s 50th birthday I wrote her a book of 50 challenges (HER BLOG explains it more) and a few weeks before Sunday I’d started to feel really bad that a challenge included running the Great South Run. By the time Sunday rolled about I got a text from my mum as she was arriving saying she was “very excited.”

Just before my mum crossed the line to get an incredible time of 02:02:55, she spotted us as I screamed (super proud daughter) and she gave us the biggest grin and a wave, looking like she’d run half a mile- not 9.5 more! Of course I felt my voice break as I shouted all of my pride out at once and burst into all of the happy tears. Just a year before, when I finished the Great South, she said “I’ll stick to my 5k runs, thank you!” A year later, at 50 years old, my mum ran 10 miles- and she ran the whole way!

Brilliant weather was felt by even better company on Sunday. I was handed a smashing goodybag – why else do I turn up to go for a run at ten o’clock on a Sunday morning? – and Lewis, his mum and I had sandwiches and a cream tea afterwards. It was as close to Christmas Day as you could get in October. It’s safe to say I was very worn out by the time evening came about, but all in all, a jolly day was had by all!

~ Kat ~

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