Letchworth’s Greenway Challenge: The race is run

Well. We did it. A little over two weeks ago now, but it’s taken that long to sink in fully. We’ve now competed in a half-marathon and haven’t been put off running for life by so doing.

Greenway Challenge 2011: The start
Greenway Challenge 2011: The start

We can’t say it went exactly as we would have liked. We were intending to use a mixture of running and walking and to complete the course in two and a half hours. On the day we were caught out by the conditions (how did it manage to be hot and sultry and to produce a driving headwind?) and the amount of pollen coming off the newly-flowering rapeseed fields. Also huge doses of nerves and race-day inexperience played their part. This meant that, to our consternation, our carefully-prepared plans went out of the window.

But we pressed on and finished. This we are proud of, although the results are not something we particularly want to dwell on, since we were well and truly at the back of the field. Not exactly last – but so close as makes no difference. We got round the course in 3 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds, which represented a personal best (since walking round the Greenway took us about four and a half hours) and probably means we did more running than we seemed to at the time.

Greenway Challenge finishers' mugs
We may have been slow – but we still earned our mugs

But, the point is, we finished rather than giving up when things got tough. It’s a fact that, if you want to do things, sometimes you have to be prepared to do them badly. Although this is not an argument for avoiding doing your best, which in turn means that now we’ve got a stronger than ever urge to do it ‘properly’.

In the two weeks since, which is really the minimum recovery period after a long-distance run, we’ve been eliminating the walking intervals and now we’re running 30, 40, even 50 minutes continuously.

A warm thank you to the organisers, North Herts Road Runners, for their patience with us back markers and for the warm reception we got coming over the line – ensuring we’d have the confidence to sign up for their events (and indeed to keep on running competitively) in the future. The competitors’ souvenir mugs have already had a lot of use.

So, on to the next one. Which is going to be the Fairlands Valley Challenge in July. One of us is running 12 miles, the other walking 26.2 miles. Bring it on!