Discovering that Fun Runs can have killer hills . . .

Katie Mawdsley reports on the recent Great Midlands Fun Run 2016

Six months ago, I went to Lanzarote with my friend Sarah. I was running the Lanzarote Marathon; Sarah the 10K. By chance, we sat next to Mark at the race briefing. Conversation started, jokes were shared and after dinner with both Mark and Mary, firm friendships were made.

In January, Mark invited us both to join the TAEFL team to run the Great Midlands Fun Run, to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, a charity very personal to everyone running, so we jumped at the chance.

Nothing says ‘Fun Run’ less than 8.5 miles of hills! Where I run is as flat as a pancake so, although I run a lot, hills are not something I usually train on. And calling one of them Cardiac Hill doesn’t make the run any more fun!

Sunday morning came and we got to meet the rest of the team. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, and that got the day off to a great start. There were some nerves and apprehension, but everyone was looking forward to the run and the BBQ afterwards (its all about the food!).

The event is well organised, with a great start and finish area: its just the hills in between that I wasn’t looking forward to! After the morning prayer, the race was started. I ran past a lot of fancy dress, everyone getting into the spirit of it all. I loved the course. There were so many spectators along the route cheering everyone along: it really gave you a boost. Thank you to the guys with hose pipes and the children with super soakers, it was a hot morning and that was very welcome!

Now, back to those hills! I knew it wasn’t a flat course, and after running the Liverpool Rock ‘n Roll marathon the week before – more hills! – I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. I was reliably informed that after the hill at mile 5 or thereabouts, I was over the worst and it was all downhill to the finish. About 5.5 miles in, I hit a hill, slowed and got to the top. Great, no problem. Got round a corner and found, writtenon the ground the words ‘Cardiac Hill’. NOOO!! I thought the hills were done! Head down, I slowed again and battled the hill. Almost at the top, after a tough climb, sat a photographer. Cruel, just cruel!

After that, it was all downhill and right back into the town centre, to the cheering crowds, and the firemen with a hosepipe!

What a fantastic race! Once the team had all finished, it was time for food, BBQ very much appreciated!

I know it’s a fun run, and not about time, but after finishing in 64:50, I’m determined to come back next year and see if I can crack the hour!

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