I love running. It's an escape when I've had a bad day, an adventure when I run somewhere new and a challenge when I run for a cause.
The GMR is a massive event, it's the biggest 10k race in the uk attracting over 40,000 participants. Some people use this race to attempt a new personal best, others walk in fancy dress costume for the fun of it, each person takes part for their own specific reason. My reason was to support The Christie, an amazing charity who provide hope and care for those dealing with cancer. You can read more about why I chose to run for The Chrsitie here.
Above all this race is a fun day out for everyone, thousands of people line the streets to cheer on those taking part, there are band stands, DJs, water stations, people giving out sweets and even run through cold showers! It's a great atmosphere, a fantastic way to raise awareness for your chosen charity, and it's a great way to show off Manchester in a good light!! The Great Manchester Run attracts celebrity & elite runners like Bekele too and if you are fast enough you can even set off alongside them!
I've taken part in this race twice before, 9 and 10 years ago. I think my best time then was around 1:22ish... And despite my body being that bit older, this year I ran in 1:12:35. Although it wasn't a PB, I was pretty pleased given the 25 degree heat!
I have to take my hat off though to 2 ladies I ran alongside on Sunday. My best mate J and my cousin K.
K was new to running before Christmas. She had signed up for this race and took the training like a bit between her teeth and powered through the winter season running on the streets despite having work and family commitments to juggle too. She has lost weight and due to careful training has avoided injury and managed to complete Sunday's race in 1:19.. Her first for many years.
Then there's J, after battling her long standing knee injuries she took up running only 9 weeks ago as a complete novice. She signed up for her first 5k race in July this year to give herself ample time for training but became so structured and determined that she decided to jump in the deep end and give the 10k a crack! She completed it in 1:28 with only a few steps of walk along the way.... After only 9 weeks of running!!
These two lovely ladies are proof that all you need is determination and motivation to be able to achieve your goals. Whether it's weight loss, improved fitness or beating your own time record, anything is possible if you want it enough. So if you have been thinking about dusting off your trainers and showing the local park what you are made of... I hope they have given you the inspiration to do just that!!