With the UK turning from almost winter to summer overnight, the Wings for Life World Run kicked off in 25 degrees of heat. With the Red Bull UK team in force at the start, the challenge was ON.
From the left. Sam Oldham, Ryan Doyle, Gordon Benson, George North, Korhan Gayle, Gee Atherton, Shauna Coxsey (tank) me! Jamie Roberts, Elfyn Evans, Danny Macaskill, Paddy Graham.
And it’s ALL GO… 3,2,1 Ryan Doyle and Danny Mac going for the whole shot. If there’s one thing they can claim, it’s that they beat Steve Way for the first 50 meters! Before he proceeded to Win the event running over 60KM.
It was the first time I have ever been at the World Run as a participant, in the past I had been there to support, so I was mega excited to take part. I am by no means a long distance runner, I like running, it’s easy to put on a pair of kicks and just go! That’s what I like about it. Most runs I do are in my off season during the summer months, and I normally would do a maximum of 4 miles. I say 4 miles, normally I just run 3.
With little time to train as the winter season has just come to a close in the Alps, I had to go for THE last minute STRATEGY… haha… 2 weeks before the race I prepped by doing a 3 mile run as fast as I could, I then did a 5 mile run 2 weeks ago and then for the first time ever, a 7 mile run last week, 3 days before the race.
Having never run over 7 miles before, I set myself a target of 10 miles, knowing that would be a stretch, but with my inner competitive self ever present, I knew I would really love to hit the 12 mile mark! Not going to lie… once I hit 9 miles my feet were in pieces!! However, the support of the people lining the side of the streets in central Cambridge and right out into the countryside was immense. Children and adults of all ages got involved armed with bottles of water, Red Bull, bananas, oranges, gummy bears, they had even made bacon sarnie’s as well as cupcakes for the finish. A few of the locals had water guns and sprinklers you could run through to keep cool, you name it, they had it!
At 10 miles I could have quite easily stopped knowing that the car was not too far behind, but I kept the foot down and managed to knock out 13.2 miles. I have to say the last mile was SLOW. We went from running 7 minute miles in the first 3 to my last and 13th mile at 10 minutes! IT WAS brutal, but so worth the pain and for a great cause.
At 13 miles I could hear the voices and sirens of the catcher car in my sights. So I went for the last minute dash to squeeze out the extra point 2 miles haha. With David Coulthard at the wheel of the Jeep Renegade catcher car, and George North and Gee Atherton up front on the road bikes, they’d got me, I’d been caught -exhausted :)
The unique thing about the World Run is 100% of the entry fees go straight to the charity (Wings for Life). You can run as far as you physically and mentally want to challenge yourself until the finish line catches you. The UK had 2,500 entries and this went off globally around the world at the same time. Such a cool experience to kick start a race at the same time as people running in countries like Australia, the US, Japan, Canada, Spain, Austria, Italy........ In the UK we got lucky with the start time of midday. Some of my Red Bull US Team mates ran in the DARK, which is also a really cool concept.
As I write this 24 hours later, it’s safe to say it’s time to put the feet up for a day or two, and enjoy the post race carb feed. Pancakes and sweet potato wedges are on the menu today as well as pretty much anything else I can consume!!! A massive congratulations to everyone who took part, and thank you to each and every one that I ran next to yesterday. The atmosphere was something else and it really made it very special to be a part of, and run for those who can’t. Let’s hope this brings us one step closer to finding that cure.
Bring on next year!