I decided to write this post as tonight I am taking part in a 5K race. I haven’t entered an official race since September 2014, partly due to injury, but partly due to the behaviour of one marshal at that last race.
I had entered the River Ness 10K part of the Baxters Loch Ness marathon weekend. I entered this race a year in advance, before I got my long term injury from the Bupa 10,000 in 2013. After running the Bupa 10,000 I had bursitis, the swelling of a bursa, in my right foot. When this subsided and I was given the ok to run again, I got my leg injury, where, when running I got pain down the outside of both my legs. This went on and on until recently when I tried running again.
As September 2014 approached I knew I wasn’t going to be in a position to run the River Ness 10K. I decided to contact them and see if there was a cut off point or a minimum pace required as I knew I’d be able to walk it if allowed. I received a message back telling me there was no cut off point. They explained that the last section of the 10K joined the last section of the marathon course and as they only set off half an hour or so before the 10K there would be plenty of time to walk the course. I was so pleased. This meant I wasn’t wasting my entry fee and that we could still go to Scotland and have a week away as planned. I began to up my walking in preparation and tried to find the comfort level where I could manage to walk without the leg pain becoming unbearable.
The day dawned and I stood on the start line feeling positive. I was going to walk and hoped to just complete it whilst enjoying the course. As we set off I realised there were two more walkers in front. I intended to keep them in my view. At first I set out too quick, trying to keep up with the surge of the crowd as they set off, the leg pain came sharp and fast but as I eased off and focused on the views the woodland trail we were on provided, the pain eased. I was able to walk comfortably and even run/walked a couple of times for a short distance. Eventually I managed to catch up with the walkers in front of me and keep them in my view. We walked through the streets of Inverness and through a couple of woodland sections. I was enjoying the course and managing to complete it feeling good. As we began our descent towards the end walking alongside the River Ness, the winner of the marathon passed me by. As I crossed the bridge to walk towards Bught park where the finish line was a couple of other marathon runners passed me. At this point no more than 5 marathon runners had passed me and they were very spaced out. As I walked along Ness Walk a marshal shouted to me “Off the course runners coming through” I glanced around, thinking there must have been pedestrians crossing the course. I thought to myself “She can’t be shouting at me, I’m wearing a race number, it’s obvious I’m taking part” but now she was shouting again “Hey off the course runners coming through. There is a race here!” I looked right at her this time thinking if she sees I’m wearing a race number she’ll realise her mistake and back off. Instead she turned to two spectators next to her and said loudly “Some people are very ignorant”
What was a great event, in the last 400 metres, had suddenly become a bitter pill to swallow. The spectators laughed at her comment. My face burnt with embarrassment. I know there were runners coming through but I was walking over to the side, in the way of no one. I know there was a race happening. I was part of it, trying to complete 10K after injury. I wasn’t ignorant, I was taking part. I was meant to be on the course, along with everyone else who had paid their entry fee.
I came dead last in that race. Not one single person crossed the finish line after me from the 10K race. I should have been pleased to finish. I should have been pleased I’d even managed to slowly run some parts comfortably. Instead I felt embarrassed and deflated. I finished the race in 1:57:52. I didn’t run again for a year.