Ch. 6 – My first league race

For the sixth chapter in my blog “Fatman to Ironman” I will describe my first ever League race.

Trowbridge 5k Colourific 7th May 2017

Recalling my experiences with my C25k graduation day at Salisbury, has not only reminded me of what a huge success my journey there was, but also just how determined I was to achieve that particular goal. Goals as epic as that, are only achieved with the support of those around you. Ultimately those close to you suffer as you go through the highs and lows of training. It is important to remember that it is your wives, husbands or partners that are there for you as you stumble over the line. We do the fun bit!

My 2nd ever “Pain face”

Trowbridge – The build up to race day

Having completed my C25k Course I was overwhelmed by a need to give something back to the club. I was also heading fast toward injury, but I didn’t know this at the time.

The feeling of elation was fresh in my mind, I wanted more. I had decided that I was going to enter a league race for my club as my next challenge. I would be earning points, and I would be wearing the club “Colours” in anger. Bring it on!

I wasn’t ready to step up into the 10k arena, and was fortunate to find the next event in the WRRL (Wiltshire Road Race League) was a 5k event. The club had already earned a good few points in their first year, I was proud to be making a contribution. We fell just short of promotion in that first year as a club. The following year (2018) we would nail it!

The “Colourific” title had put me off at first. I had heard all about these fun runs, bubble runs or runs where you are covered in paint. Whilst all that sounds fun, I wasn’t doing it for fun. I seriously wanted to stay on my journey, I was serious about getting fit.

The website would assure me that it wasn’t that kind of event. The title was merely to encourage people to come in all kinds of bright colours. I already had that sorted, my infamous bright orange shorts would be going on an outing. Perfect.

I quickly paid the £5.00 fee and eagerly awaited the day. I had become an affiliated member of England Athletics just days before and used the discount immediately.

With the exception of Parkrun I had never ran in amongst a large group of people, I had never ran competitively. I had ran away from neighbours and the police as a cheeky teenager, now I would be doing it for the club. I had no idea how I would feel.

I offered to take some of my fellow club members up to Trowbridge as a car share. That day, Roxanne “Roxy” Foster and Helen Sanderson would have to suffer boys talk all the way to Trowbridge. Andy Hartfield and I certainly do like a chin wag. On the way back we were buzzing and talked about nothing other than the race.

In the build up to this race I had asked Sue if she wanted to come and support me. She wasn’t keen, as her Parkrun experience had made her feel like a “Running widow”. After some considerable persuading, I had convinced her I needed her to be there to support me.

The weekend of the race we had invited our old neighbour down from Guildford. We are very fond of Dawn Murrell, and since moving down to Wiltshire, have remained good friends. I had double booked. I had gotten so carried away with what I was doing, that I had forgotten Dawn would be staying overnight on the Saturday. The race was on the Sunday at 1100 hrs and we would have to be driving up there.

Fortunately Dawn was over the moon that she was asked to share the experience with me, and form part of my support team. Sue was not so amused.

We headed off to Trowbridge, Wiltshire after having a lovely Saturday evening with our old neighbour. She was so pleased to see us both and very impressed with how much weight we had both lost.

We found a “suitable” car park, which turned out to be a fair walk from the start line. This was Ok for me and my fellow running buddies, But the other part of my support crew were less than impressed.

My running buddies were keen to get to the venue, register and put on their race numbers. I needed to stay with Sue and Dawn.

We got to the race venue, and it turns out race HQ, just like Shrewton Running Club was also in the pub. Weatherspoon’s had been taken over by a sea of my competitors.

In the pub – Sue and Dawn are having a pot of tea

This was perfect for me, I had managed to wind my wife up with my bad admin. Then taken her on a walk she was not expecting, or enjoying. On top of that Dawn had been struggling with a return from ill health. Now I could relax knowing they had a nice pot of tea and a comfy seat.

My first “Tour” with Shrewton running club would turn out to be a fabulous day. Despite my bad organisation in the build up to race day.

Another focus I had that day was Nigel Brown, he had promised to be there. A work colleague, who I had a lot of respect for, someone who would form a crucial role in my swim development. More about that later.

Nigel and I had formed a close working relationship over the years. He had been off sick for some time, recovering from a recent hip replacement operation. I had only seen him once since this. He had promised to be there and hurl abuse at me. He wasn’t at the pub, so I wandered down to the start area with my running buddies, Sue and Dawn.

Even though I knew Nigel had promised to be there, I was still amazed when I saw him. He was walking with the support of a stick and also his wife Petra. This moment had a huge impact on me then, and has stayed with me to this day. Despite being very uncomfortable, clearly still in pain, Nigel made the effort to get off the couch.

A support team is crucial to success, you really do need to appreciate the people who are there at the start, and wait for you to stumble over the line – We just do the fun bit.

Trowbridge – The race

For this part of my blog I will refer you to my first ever race review. I was so pleased to be asked by to jot down my experiences for the day. The club is very good at promoting run fitness, and I was only too glad to share my views as a beginner. In hindsight, I would have written a better review, this is a skill I have now developed.

I absolutely love the process of writing down my experiences of events I have been in. Just like my blog. It is important to reflect.

Please take a look at my “First ever” race review….

Trowbridge 5k

L-R Roxy, Andy, Helen, Me, Jerry Abel, Jane Baxter

For the next chapter in my next blog, I will describe my first running based injury and how I did all the wrong things!

I hope in reading this blog you are empowered to believe you can achieve.

There is no such thing as failure – Just giving up.


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