I still can’t believe I did it. I really have to cast my mind back to this time last year, and get inside my head back then. The sheer idea of me running in an organised 5K run would have filled me with, I don’t know. Disbelief, laughter, incredulity, bemusement. Take your pick, it would not have seemed to be remotely on my horizon.

But now I have done it and, actually, that first sentence was a lie. Because I can believe I did it, now. But that is because I am a different person now. Now, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched for my next run to be 10K. Well, maybe next year anyway. Because one thing I have learnt from my running experience is that small steps are the way to go. Small steps building slowly to more. If you go from not running at all, to trying to run a 5K, you will probably fail. Similarly with the next step up, don’t try for giant leaps.

As for the run itself, it was a great day. Running for a cause, against cancer, and being part of a large organised event for the first time. Running with my lovely wife, who has been very supportive throughout. But I have to admit to suffering with a bit of a nervous belly in the morning, but once I was in the starting area I was fine. It was a different feeling, running with a large group. People of all different fitness levels were present, but my race was a fun run so there wasn’t too much pressure there.

I was familiar with where we were running but, as I said, running in a pack was different. Before the race, a wise man told me, ‘Don’t run too fast in the first kilometre, everyone does!’ And what did I do? What everyone does, of course. Then I settled into my own pace and started to feel a bit more in control. Slow and steady wins the day, well I won my own race anyway. My own personal race, which is, of course, the most important.

What a great feeling it was to cross that line, get my bottle of water and have ran my personal best 5K. And then to take off the sweatiest headband I have ever seen!

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish