25 February 2021
Ok, I need to make something clear from the start. Renz doesn't run. I've always been an active type but being bestowed with the wingspan of an albeit small albatross and the shoulders of, well, a swimmer, meant water-based activity always came a lot more naturally when I was growing up. But running...
Yet 12 months ago, something changed and no-one needs a reminder as to what that was. Anyway, long story short, the gyms and pools shut and those of us who rely on exercise for our physical and mental wellbeing had to do something, and there was only really one option.
So I started, in the loosest sense of the word, 'running', and I was not born to run. For a start, everything below my waist points inwards (see exhibit A to the right), to the extent that my ever-supportive partner makes loving comments about my knees chaffing and that I look pained with every single step. There's a reason for that darling, I am! I'm not going to lie, I hate it. I resent every dip in the pavement that causes a minor deviation in my stride; every light gust of headwind, every slight incline.
Yet over the past year, I've come to need it. And when I was out chaffing my way around the streets in sub-zero temperatures in the depths of February, I knew something had changed for good.
I need the sense of freedom, I need the fresh air, I need that I know I will feel so much better for it when I eventually stumble my way back up the drive. It is the exact opposite to being sat on Zoom all day and it is the one thing in my daily routine that has become a non-negotiable. I need to run.
I might now go running, but I am not a runner. I'm not interested in how far or fast I run and I've got no motivation at all about entering a mass participation event. Most days I run a comfortable 5km, and in half an hour give or take, I'm done. On one occasion, when it was a particularly nice autumn day and I was feeling especially energetic I managed 10km for the first time ever. Over Christmas, and fuelled by COVID-anxiety, I made 13km. But I've never got, or tried to get, close to that since.
So why enter the Virtual Royal Parks Half Marathon? Literally just to see if I can do it. That's it. I can already run further than I could ever have imagined I'd have been able to this time last year, and with the event on 11 April coinciding with almost exactly 12 months since I started this newfound necessity, it would just be a lovely personal achievement to know I managed it. No crowds, no fanfares, just my own satisfaction. And that's it. I feel I owe it to my friction-burnt kneecaps.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets this? If like me you just want to challenge and achieve yourself please join me for this unique virtual event on race day - Sunday 11 April. Just click on the link below to find out more!