From 5k to 5 years: half a decade of running

From 5k to 5 years: half a decade of running

While tidying up the other day, I came across my bunch of race medals pinned to the noticeboard.

A lot of the races I do these days come with a free pint or a chip butty at the end rather than a finishers’ medal – got to love fell and trail races for their rewards. But over the years I have ended quite a few of these things, especially from road races like the Great Run Manchester 10k (I have three of those!) and Great North Run half marathon.

The one that stood out most though doesn’t have a date or fancy design on it.

In fact, it’s really quite inconspicuous.

It was for my first ever organised/timed run, a Cancer Research Race for Life charity 5k at Woodbank Park in Stockport. Not that I can even remember or find any record of what my time was – this was definitely in my pre-Garmin days.

I’m not sure that I had ever actually run a full 5k before I did it. Or not knowingly. I’d only just got an iPhone and didn’t yet know what a running app was.

But I had set myself the challenge and half heartedly run around my local park every Sunday morning and called it training.

I thought that signing up to something would give me some motivation and accountability, a trick I still use today when I feel I need something to aim for to give me a kick in the pants.

It was when looking at these medals, and with a handy record of the date on Instagram (one of my first posts!) that I realised that it had been in June 2012 – exactly five years ago that this event happened.

I’ve been running pretty consistently for five whole years. That’s half a decade!

Running that first 5k wasn’t easy, but it definitely gave me the confidence to keep going with running and made me realise that maybe a 10k wasn’t such a crazy idea for a slow, asthmatic runner like me.

I joined a friendly, non-competitive running club and ran my first 10k in Manchester the next year.

I’m not a great runner, in fact I’m pretty slow compared to other people my age. But I’m so happy that this one thing 27-year-old me decided to do to get a bit fitter and raise money… because it’s actually ended up becoming one of my favourite things in life.

Heck, without running I wouldn’t have been half the places I have in the last few years, or even met my boyfriend for that matter!

So yeah, I think running is pretty ace.

If you’re a just contemplating a 5k, check out the Couch to 5k plan from the NHS. If you fancy some company, find your local parkrun for a free timed 5k every Saturday. And of course, if you’re looking for a little more reason to get moving, Race for Life is an excellent cause.

Happy running!