Despite my love of running, I am petrified of organised races.
There is a pressure involved in an organised race that does not exist for me when I am running alone.
I run for the health benefits but also the head space that running gives you.
Go for a run with a head full of conundrums, and you’ll come back instead with a clean mental slate, and even a few answers to things that may have been bugging you.
However, last year I decided it was time to step outside of the comfort zone.
I often run with my friend, Anneke, so we entered a few 5km races together.
The distance was not the challenge, because we can both run considerably further, but instead it was the opening ourselves up to having to perform.
Having succeeded in our 5km endeavours, we decided to take on a 10km in the shape of the Wickham Torchlight run on the night of January 26, but Anneke was struck by flu over Christmas and her training had to take a backseat.
Which left me facing the terror of the first 10km race alone.
I was incredibly nervous about embarking on a 6.2-mile trot along the disused railway line, in the dark, with my head-torch for company.
But not only did I manage this, I enjoyed the entire experience.
And in no small part this was down to the company that organises the races – Rural Running Limited.
Rural Running was formed in October 2016 by local runner Jeff Clark, in conjunction with his wife, Michelle, and son, Tom.
The runs are challenging, in beautiful settings, and aimed at all abilities, and I’d like to say a huge public ‘thank-you’ to Jeff and the team for doing such an excellent job.
The participants and community are friendly and in no way intimidating, and you can now also join the Rural Running Club.
Myself, my husband and Anneke were among the first to do so – a fact that would have astounded us last year had someone said that by January 2018 we’d be running club members.
BEDTIME STORIES FROM HER MAJ...
I have recently become addicted to watching The Crown on Netflix.
I realise I’ve cottoned on somewhat later than the rest of the nation, but that’s because it sounded like the kind of thing that only my mother would enjoy.
The only issue is Claire Foy’s accent, which is so good that I can’t get it out of my head after watching.
Given that I usually then scoot straight to bed where I read my book, my inner reading-voice has now taken on Claire Foy’s Queen voice.
In the same manner that a song can play on a loop in one’s head for hours after listening.
I am effectively being read bedtime stories by the Queen until it’s time for lights-orrf.
COOL, STEADFAST AND CONSTANT
Watching The Crown has also given me a new-found respect for the Queen.
I’ve never given a huge amount of thought to the monarchy, nor held much interest, but the Netflix series has changed this.
To have such responsibility, from such a young age, and to be so bound by protocol, is so entirely other that it is quite difficult to empathise with.
To have also maintained that adherence to protocol, despite some modernisation across the years during which time the monarchy has had to update or die, is also incredible.
The Queen has been steadfast, she is a constant, and I suspect more people, than even they themselves realise, will miss her when we no longer have her.