An Introduction to Racing

People run for all different reasons.

My running journey took place quite spontaneously after signing up to the Cardiff Bay 5 mile race completely on a whim! As soon as I tried my hand at a proper race I was hooked!
It was the gateway to my whole new life and the best decision I ever made!(You can read about that Journey here)

Sometimes it’s the things you don’t plan that turn out to be the best decisions in life! I never planned on signing up to that first race, I never planned on being a runner, it just happened. I know not everyone that runs likes to race and that is absolutely fine, it’s completely down to the individual – there is no right or wrong! There are no rules with running, you simply do as much or as little as you enjoy, be it fast road racing or taking a leisurely jog around the park. Once you lace up those trainers and get out that door you become a runner! It’s that simple. Personally I like to test myself with racing but runners that enjoy that leisurely park jog earn the same respect from me as any other runner. If you are choosing to add any form of running into your life then you are doing something great. Once you put those running shoes on and get out the front door you’re already beating the person sitting on the couch! You’re getting fit and healthy and that’s a great thing.

Racing isn’t necessarily for everyone, but I think racing is so much fun – and you won’t know if you like it or not unless you give it a try. Races are not only for the faster runners; they are for all runners. Fast, slow or somewhere in between – everyone is welcome. If you do decide to sign up for a race what you get is a unique feeling… That nervous feeling on race morning, the adrenaline buzz on the start line, the effort of running that first race. That happy and emotional glow as you cross the finish line. It’s all great fun and you are achieving new goals along the way. When you’re running that race and you feel like giving up, no doubt there will be a happy marshal shouting encouragement your way. When you get home after that race you sit down on the sofa with a cup of tea, you’re tired and then you think to yourself… I did something great today. You can start racing at any age. It’s never too late to start. It’s all about getting out there and taking part. I highly recommend it!

There are some great local races around Wales. You can find details of affiliated races on the Welsh Athletics website. Sign up for one and give yourself something to aim for.

A good introduction to racing is parkrun. parkrun is a timed 5k run that takes place at 9am every Saturday. It’s not really considered a race but more a timed event. You simply register (see above link), print your barcode and away you go! You compete against yourself. It’s completely free and there are plenty of locations to choose from. We have the flat and fast Cardiff parkrun located just off Weston Avenue (if you are local to the area). Other local parkruns to me include a new courses set up in the Grangmoor area of Cardiff Bay and the Barry Island course down on Barry sea front which has stunning views over the Bristol Channel. parkrun is run by volunteers that do a fantastic job of keeping these events going for the benefit of everyone. Thousands of people’s Saturday mornings have been enhanced all over the country with the parkrun bug.

I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the event organisers and volunteers that make these events possible! Top work! Without the volunteers there’s no parkrun! There are many roles to choose from that all need filling each and every week. Getting involved is all park of the parkrun spirit. It’s also a great social event with many runners choosing to enjoy a post parkrun coffee at the nearest coffee house. So… Print your barcode, have a run, have fun and get fit! Chase that PB every week!

Update on my current running status…..
The tibia bone injury appears to have healed!
I’ve been back running just over 6 weeks after no running since early January. With big drops in fitness, speed and endurance it’s going to take quite a few months of training to start seeing some improvements but I’ll just have to be patient – and to be honest I’m just happy to be running again!

Happy running everyone!

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