Its Sunday 13th November, its 6:30am and my alarm is going off……hit snooze button…..try to open eyes a little, rubs eyes, rubs eyes again, hit snooze, turn over, fidget, rub eyes again……then realisation hits…..it’s MO RUN DAY!
This is our first Diva Sport running event since I qualified as a Run Leader in May, needless to say I’m a little excited now! Tigger on a sugar high is a more apt way of describing my rapidly disappearing zombified state! I do have some nerves but for other reasons…… please let the coach turn up, make sure everyone is on the coach, don’t lose anyone before or after the run, don’t let anyone pick up an injury…. Hope everything I have taught them is going to pay off.
Two coffees, a lot of deep heat (I need shares in this) and wondering how much I will forget to take with me before I leave the house, check list... Water, PB & Jam Sandwich (my race day staple diet), extra clothing, Energy tablets… More energy tablets, phone… Phone…Diz, where’s my phooooooooone?
There’s at least 15 girls at the Diva Sport unit by the time we arrive. There’s a huge mix of emotions going on. Some are really excited, others not so much. There’s an air of ‘rabbit in the headlights’ going on…… these are the ones that need a pep talk (and a big cwtch) to settle them, nothing to be nervous about etc. etc. We have a real mix of girls at our run groups, some have been running a long time and others mere weeks before this event. As a run leader, I wanted to get them all to Mo run, so they can see exactly what a structured race is all about (and how it’s not really that scary after all!). It was going to do one of two things…… make them love it and sign up for more or hate every single step they took and give up! (Hoping they love it of course, as it means I’m doing something right!).
Everyone is on the coach (the relief of it turning up was immense!), everyone is wearing a #rundivarun T-shirt (they all look amazing!) well done to our mamma diva for sourcing them and a huge thank you to all the local companies who sponsored us. Everyone is now chirpy and this takes the pressure off a little………
The actual run.
Race numbers and Pink furry moustaches are ON. 15 mins to go…… I need to warm our girls up, keep the routine they have before a run. Making a huge circle in the park and we warm up and we chant…… (Hopefully this will get their adrenaline flowing & quash the nerves!)…. Who are we? ‘TEAM DIVA!’…… what are we going to do? ‘RUN DIVA RUN’… they chant loudly and other runners (mainly the ones stood in the super long toilet queues) take notice. No PR is bad PR…. Right?
The final pep talk done……As I always tell my groups, it’s not about crossing the finish line the fastest, it’s about crossing that finish line full stop. It’s still the same 5k or 10k distance whether you run it in 50 mins or 90 minutes. It’s a great achievement. Everyone has different abilities and pace, they wouldn’t all work the same in one of our other classes, so I don’t expect them all to run the same pace either.
Mamma diva takes the 5k girls and off they go! I was a little gutted to see them all go off (a bit like sending your kids off on the first day of school. Will they be ok……. Will they stay together….. Will anyone burn out?).
10k girls are in the pen with me. Off we go. I made a promise to them before today that I would get them all across that finish line and I have to keep it.
I ran the first 5k at a bit of a faster pace, so I could get to the halfway mark and watch them all run through, I thought they would need me more through the second half of the race so wanted to make sure I was there to keep them going. Managed to catch the already finished 5k team at the halfway mark who were proudly wearing their medals. Some of my girls have ‘mental blocks’ and we have to make sure we banish them on this 2nd part of the run. A lot of them stayed with their run buddies (these are who they tend to run with at our weekly run groups as they run the same pace, which I hoped would give them that sense of normality while running the course). As soon as they had all gone past, off I went again, catching up with each one of them, making sure they were ok and giving them another (hopefully motivational) pep talk as they were running.
One of my advanced girls Jackie stayed with a group of them, kept them going and pretty much anyone else running in her vicinity as I could hear her from the other side of the river shouting ‘come on TEAM DIVAAAAAAAAAA!’. Made my way through to Janine, who was running on her own. Caught up with her just before the 8k sign and when she saw it she was going to walk. Not today!!!!! We slowed her pace down, kept her going and I crossed the line (for the first time!) with her.
This now was where the earlier promised kicked in. I had to go back and get everyone else who hadn’t finished. Off I went running back down the race route the wrong way to find them all. A few at a time I found them, kept them going that last 1k-500 metres, run them to the corner of the finish line, where our girls who had already finished were waiting, all cheering as soon as they could see another bright pink #rundivarun t-shirt coming towards them. We had some tears (actually a lot), a lot of big smiles and I think a lot of relief as the girls crossed the finish line. Hang on…. Where’s Liz? I’d lost a Diva! Liz had made a loo stop on the route and was out there somewhere….. Off I went (down the wrong way again), found her at the 9k mark with some of Alfie’s Angels for company. Liz was our final diva over the finish line and made me the most proud. Why? Liz isn’t a fan of running. Her face says it all at every run group ( which we do joke about!), she dislikes running but she comes to classes regardless……I made a pact with her that I would get her to finish a 10k……..in Liz’s own words ‘I hate running and I loved every minute of that 10k’. Success!
Everyone over the line, lots of amazing photos taken, watching everyone totally bursting with pride, with a well-deserved first medal (through a lot of hard work and determination on their part). It’s one of those days where I couldn’t be more proud to be a run leader. Today was definitely a high point.