Swim For Life

It rained. And I’m not talking about normal rain. I’m talking about RAIN rain. Biblical rain. Torrential rain. WET RAIN. Before I even started, I was feeling rubbish, standing waiting in the rain, wind and cold with a couple hundred other bedraggled runners. My tiny cold face was poking out of the hood of my cagoule in a hilariously unattractive way, and my running leggings were getting more and more see-through the wetter they got.

Photo by Tim Holyoake

When the time came for the big group warm-up, I joined the group of shivering runners edging their way reluctantly towards the stage. The presenters from Heart radio made us feel energised, the minute’s silence reminded us all why we were standing in the rain, and the dance to Uptown Funk injected a much-needed lift.

We were then divided into runners (50 minutes or less), joggers (50 minutes to 1 hour 30) and walkers (1 hour 30+). I joined the majority down the middle and opted to jog, aiming to finish in 1 hour 30.

Photo by Tim Holyoake

Miraculously, and going against the 100% chance of rain all morning, as soon as I crossed the start line, there was a break in the clouds and the rain eased, creating a buzz.

The route was hard. Really hard. It took us through Devonshire’s famous country lanes, which all seemed to be uphill. Although it had stopped raining, a lot of the route was a bit flooded, making the rocky paths into slippery streams and the grassy fields into muddy river beds. For the weeks leading up to the race, I had been hoping for cooler weather than the recent heatwaves, but being able to see my breath for the first 2k wasn’t exactly what I had in mind!

The first 5k seemed to go on forever, and I thought I would never be warm and dry again. After the halfway mark though, I seemed to start enjoying it more, even though I was tired, wet, hungry and desperate for a wee. The volunteers along the route were fantastic, clapping and cheering on every individual that passed them, handing out water and moral support.

At about 6.5k, I passed my dad with his camera, which made me smile and dig a little deeper to carry on lolloping around like a soggy bambi.

The last 2k, my heart was pounding with excitement to cross the finish line. I was nearly done and I couldn’t wait to stuff my face with junk food for the rest of the day without feeling bad. When I got to the 9k marker, I convinced myself that it had already been an hour and a half, and that I had failed in meeting my personal target. I won’t lie, I felt a bit shit at that point. I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually achieve something sport-related. I carried on, feeling slightly deflated, but still determined.

Eventually, I could see my dad, the finish line, and the timer. I was stunned that it read 1:19:30. So I sprinted. I summoned the year 8 in me who actually enjoyed the 100m, and I ran what felt like the fastest I’ve ever run, but was probably actually a bit like a baby giraffe walking for the first time. 

I did it. 1:19:45!

Photo by Tim Holyoake


I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated, showed support and reminded me of the importance of these kind of events. There is still time to donate if you fancy it.

I’m sure I’ll be taking part in another fundraising event soon, but for now, I’m going to devour this entire pizza and not care about the lactose-related consequences.

 Check out my dad’s blog for his take on the day. 🙂 http://www.tenpencepiece.net/blog/