Sunday 5th July 2015, Halesowen
Since I joined the Birmingham Swifts in January of this year my life has changed completely. I never once thought I would have been able to run 5k, let alone 10k. In fact, I never believed I would become addicted to running. I’m officially one of those “crazy” people who actually pay to do something others consider torture.
The Black Country 10K Road race was the hardest 10K I have completed as of yet. When I signed up in March I wasn’t expecting the amount of obstacles I would be faced with on the day. I thought it would be a breeze. The day started as a normal race day, 6am start with a cup of coffee and a bowl of porridge oats followed by a sing along, and a few squats to some classic 80’s hits. Once I felt pumped, it was time to set off.
When I arrived, I was greeted by my fellow swifts. Once everyone was accounted for, we posed for a few pre-race pictures then we headed off to the start line. Once I was at the start line the pre-race nerves started to kick in. My palms became clammy and I could feel my heart pounding against my chest. Then all of a sudden it was ready-set-go!
The first mile wasn’t too difficult. I believed this was going to be a new personal best for me. However, the feeling didn’t last too long. I came across my first obstacle, steps. I’ve never practiced running up steps before so this was new to me. I decided to take them head on and I sprinted to the top. I felt the muscles in my thighs starting to burn as I reached the top of the stairs. I told myself I could rest by slowing my pace on a flat surface, but to my disappointment, when I turned around the corner, I was faced with a steep hill. Upon reaching the top I felt my trainers become loose and my feet beginning to slip out; somehow my laces became untied.
I forced myself to carry on running, though I had no choice but to stop. I felt like quitting at this point as I wasn’t on target for a personal best, but after tying my laces, I told myself “Chez, you are not a quitter”, and so I darted off. In the distance I could see my fellow swifts running towards me with huge smiles and words of wisdom. I felt determined to not let the course defeat me; I began to pick up pace to make up for lost time. I was able to complete the first half of the course in 28min 13 seconds. The 2nd part of the course was another lap of the same route, due to this I was able to develop a strategy plan, and I then knew at what points I needed to slow my pace in order to reserve my energy for the tougher sections.
Towards the end of the course I thought I was close to the finish line, so I decided to sprint. However, to my disappointment, I had another 600 metres to run! I mustered all of my strength and focus and carried on running as fast as I could towards the finish line until it was finally over. I found myself huddled with my fellow swifts trying to digest the realisation that it was over and we all achieved a PB.
After the race we decided to set up picnic outside a church on a small patch of grass in celebration of our achievements.
Official Results By Birmingham Swifts
Jay – 48.04
Tommy – 48.19
Geoffrey – 52.26
James – 52.26
Aaron – 55.31
Blaine – 56.48
Darren – 58.36
Cheryl – 58.59