My first race. I was living and working in the States. My agency helped paid for my entry fee and for completion. (I write this looking back as this blog was not started back then)
TRAINING – I had already packed my sneaks when I was packing in London for my departure. I loved it. I ran the streets of NY, and the best times were always early weekends, when streets were quiet. On Sunday mornings, I would spot the dog walkers. So many of them!
I had ran in Central Park, but not the course we were to run itself. I tend to like new scenery, else it would draw on boredom and make my run feel longer and harder.
Even though this was my first race, I felt no pressure as I was not doing it for a time, but for teh enjoyment of being part of something worth while and being away from home.
RACE DAY –
I had not taken a walkman or a player at the time of packing. My whole time in NY, I chose not to plug my ears with music when I could be listening to the sounds and the pace of NY life. So the race day I was buzzing from excitement and certainly didn’t require music.
Everyone was loud with banter and everywhere you looked was filled female laughter. As my first race as such, it was so extraordinary how strangers come together for great causes and there’s a sense of unity for what we were all about to achieve.
There was a motivational speech at the beginning and everyone felt they all wanted to do well. Ages and people from all backgrounds were present. I had brought my rucksack with me with spare clothes and camera. Don’t ask! It didn’t occur to me that I would be running with it, but in a way it was comfy and it made me determined to cross that finishing line. It wasn’t heavy as such, just bulky and big! Plus should I add, it was August and very hot! Good job I always run in my running shorts.
As the gun shot set us all off, crowds cheered and it gave a sense of fulfilment that what we were doing was much fun and it was great. Every bit along the way was marked with a personalised cone of the race (which someone gave me one at the end as a souvenir!) But we didn’t need the cones – there were hundreds of supporters who had come early to support us runners! It could have been overwhelming.
As I focused on the route and admiring around the scenery of the famous Central Park, I decided to start cheering on some runners who had begun slowing down and walking. I joked and made them laugh and it felt good as i soon became motivating people along to keep going and it didn’t matter how you did it, but as long as you made it to the end. It was such great fun Everyone was in such high spirits.
I was astounded how the finish line could be seen ahead. I wasn’t out of breath and I had made a friend along the way, that in the spur of the moment, we glanced at each other, grabbed hands and ran as fast as we could across that line into the screaming crowds. It felt amazing!! we were laughing and patting each other on the back as we congratulated those around us.
It is something I will always remember in my mind. I had to ask someone to capture this moment and I didn’t care how I looked after a race. I think this is how it became something, that I always took a photo on completion.
Back then I never knew my times. I was a Thai Boxer. I trained 5 times a week, 3 hours each session. That was then, when I ran for the joy of it. When I ran for fun and only just that… people may not understand why? or laugh at how strange that concept may be, but I’ve always loved running. Its not the air around me, but when i run, I am in my little zone, in a bubble that noone can interrupt or interfere. When I run I can burn away my days pressures or my million thoughts, and when I come to that halt.. I’m left with a feeling on high.. that I can’t explain, but every runner knows.