I went down to Kent this weekend, the county of my birth, to run in the Maidstone 10km Cancer Research UK Race for Life. My mum *was* going to do the 5km version, but she didn’t do any training so didn’t sign up…! Never mind, she still came to watch me 🙂
Now, I can be quite cynical about “Things for Women”, so apologies for the following rant… While I am absolutely supportive of any initiative that empowers women, encourages healthy activity and gets them participating in sports, I don’t respond very well to these “Come on girls! You can do it!” sort of things. In fact, I find them quite patronising. I know, I know, a lot of women respond really positively to things like Race for Life, and the This Girl Can campaign, and that is good and I should be positive about them myself, but I just can’t help but let things like that grate on me…
For starters, I hate that “Things for Women” (or rather “Girls” as we are known in lady-land) are usually pink. I’m especially annoyed at my Garmin watch, which is apparently a ‘women’s’ version of the Forerunner 110. It is in NO WAY any different from the ‘men’s’ version of the Forerunner 110 – it’s the same size, same weight, has the same strap length, does exactly the same things as the black/red or grey/red ‘men’s’ version!!! But, it has a pink stripe on it so it’s ‘For Women’. I really wanted the grey/red one, but for some reason the pink/grey one cheaper. Probably because women don’t earn as much money as men. Ugh.
Anyway…Race for Life did not get off to a good start with me. They sent me some hideous transfer tattoos in the post that I was supposed to wear during the race, with awful things like pink hearts and “PINK ARMY” written all over them. (I didn’t put them on.) Then on the day of the race I arrived at the ‘warm up’ – an embarrassingly cringeworthy, half-arsed aerobics-off-of-the-80s routine set to the tune of embarrassingly cringeworthy songs like “I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men” (the GERI HALLIWELL version, ffs!). There I was surrounded by women covered head to toe in pink, while Heart FM tried to get everyone yelling “Hell hath no fury like a woman in pink!” Jesus wept.
However. However. With all my smirking and cynicism, I wasn’t expecting to find myself in tears at the start of the race. Despite all the pink tutus and cowboy hats and squealing girly girls, I’d forgotten the reason the Race for Life exists – to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK – a charity very close to my heart, and which I already regularly support. Before the Race got going, a couple of women were invited onto the stage to share their stories. One had run in the Race for Life several times before, but was unable to participate this year because she’d recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and had just had surgery. I blubbed, and felt very humbled all of a sudden.
Anyway, the race itself was hard! I haven’t run much lately as you know, because of my dodgy knee, and it did start hurting about a third of the way round which didn’t help – neither did the evil hills or the off-road sections! Ouch! I don’t mind admitting I did a bit of walking…even so, I finished in 1 hour 39 seconds so that’s not too bad at all really.
So, I’m finally over the 500 mile mark in my 1000 mile challenge!! I will donate another £10 to the other charity that’s close to my heart, CALM, and if you’d like to too, here’s the all-important link: https://www.justgiving.com/LisarunningforCALM