Viv’s Race for Life 2018

The day after the evening before…

Last evening, dear reader, my friend Maureen and I took ourselves, suitably attired, down to the Festival Headland opposite Blackpool Tower, to join several hundred other women on the Race For Life 2018 5k run/walk/jog. There were women of every age and shape there, some in prams being pushed by mothers, sisters, or nans as they were not out of nappies; some skipping around with the energy of youth, young teenage girls in shorts which were very short, up to the oldies like me who were there on a hope and a prayer, with loved ones in mind rather than the 5k walk in the summer heat. Not all were lucky enough to have a good friend walking with them, something which I recommend you to have should you decide in the future to take on this fun challenge. A mate helps you out when you are flagging, offers you her little battery operated fan to cool you down, and makes the journey one of laughter and fun. And takes the selfies, or persuades nice young army cadets to take joint photos to put onto Facebook.

The atmosphere is amazing at Race For Life. You stand before the race begins, and read the I Am Running For notices written with love and pinned to the back of every entrant. Some very young people were running For My Brave Mum, people of an age where they should be carefree teenagers, doing teenager things, rather than having the dreadful cancer hanging over their family lives. One young woman, very thin, wearing a turban to keep the sun off her bald head, was accompanied by 4 other young women of around the same age, had had chemotherapy on Tuesday, and was walking For Oscars Mum (Me). She crossed the line a minute or two ahead of us and was still laughing and joking with her mates as she took her medal. It is sobering to read those pages. It focused my mind on how lucky I am to have been able to sign up and get to the start line of the race. So many were there in memory.

The joggers were gathered and set off in the first wave, followed by the runners and then the mass walkers, chattering and laughing as we edged our way under the Start banner and up onto the promenade by the North Pier. From there we were guided down onto the lower level of the prom, walking up towards Fleetwood, a line of pink streaming along the walkway in a seemingly never ending wavy line. There was a lovely breeze coming in off the sea, but I did have my floppy, all purpose, hat with me, and had put on factor 50 or something ‘just in case’. I didn’t want my memory of the evening to be a dose of sunstroke or sun burn thank you very much.

There were quite a lot of dogs there, too, young dogs so fit enough to do the 5k without distress, and owners carrying extra water for their pals. It was lovely to have such a variety of walkers.

In the photo above you will see in the distance the upward slope – and up the slope we had to climb. After 2.5k it was hard. In cycling parlee it was an unclassified climb. What is that? I hear you chorus, not being ‘Au fait’ with cycling terms. When they grade climbs in cycling – remember this as it will help you during the forthcoming 3 glorious weeks of the Tour de France – they grade 1 – 4, this being the gear you would need your car in if you were driving up it. So grade 4 is quite a gentle hill, and you could be in 4th gear, and grade 1 means you would have to drive in 1st gear to get up it, so it’s a bit of a bugger. Hills too steep to drive up are unclassified – and this was our hill. I suffered up that hill. My knees objected, my hips objected and my back was none too happy either. After 2 stops, and much encouragement from Maureen who I think had my prophecy of ‘I will possibly die on the prom on July 4th’ ringing uncomfortably in her ears, we were up and over the top. Only 2.5k to go and the North Pier and tower clearly in sight. Everyone slowed down after the climb. I mean we were all into our rhythm, pacing along, chatting to one another, sharing a joke or two, and then we had the Hill. THE HILL. It was no joke. It slowed us all down and I reckon we would all have finished 15 or so minutes earlier if we had been all on the flatish. Anyway, enough of my moaning – I shall have to stop listening to my back!
The last 1k I felt. My knees had gone numb and wanted to quit but luckily the rest of me, and Maureen, held strong and we saw the finishing line with its digital time clock ahead of us as we passed North Pier for the second time. The clock said 1.18.45. but (wait for the mitigation!!) we didn’t stop the warm up exercises until gone 5 past 7, and then we had to shuffle to the start line, so it was possibly quarter past 7 before we started. So maybe we did it in less than 1.18.45, but it matters not a jot. We did it. That is what matters.

As we were going along on the lower walkway of the prom, we could see above us, on the upper walkway of the prom, the joggers who had already completed most of the course, including the hill, and were almost home. We cheered them and they waved at us. Some odd but enthusiastic people had signed up to do 10k, and before we had reached halfway, one of these mad fools actually overtook us all!!! Phew. Rather her than me.

So there we are. Race For Life 2018 successfully completed and this morning I don’t feel too bad. No honestly. I don’t feel bad at all. Yes, my back is a bit on the niggly side, but the rest of me is good.

Thanks to Viv Critchley, Secretary of Molyneux Drive Friends and Neighbours Association


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