Tomorrow I will be doing my first half marathon race of the year. I had this idea towards the back end of last year of doing a ‘four nations half marathon challenge’ in 2015 – to do a half marathon in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. That now has been extended into the Republic Of Ireland too, making it a ‘five nations half marathon challenge’.
First country up is Wales. The Anglesey Half Marathon starts on the Menai Bridge and goes along the coastline up to Beaumaris Castle before returning back towards the famous picturesque suspension bridge and the finish line 13.1 miles later.
A year ago to the weekend I took part in the Bath Half. It was in that race where my first #8mileselfie was taken. There’s been quite a few since then too. I am of the view that runners are very lucky and very fortunate to experience the race day feeling. Half marathons are hard work, they are a challenge in themselves and it’s good to get a snapshot of what you’re experiencing at the time.
I talk of being fortunate and being very lucky, as runners we are. If I wasn’t involved in running, most likely I wouldn’t travel to some of these places I do for races. In life we all need things and events to look forward to and experiences to drive us on. This year I get to go and run in five different countries, see new places, explore a little and experience more from life.
Life, feeling alive, experiencing the sense of achievement and fulfilment – long distance running brings these on. It’s not all about times, it’s about smiles through the miles. Feeling capable, being amongst others experiencing the same as you, hearing the cheers from the spectating crowds, seeing the smiles and elation of the finishers, the sense of achievement and glow of being part of something amazing – living.
So on to Wales, to run on St David’s Day, their national patron saint’s day, to run remembering how fortunate I am and to run with a smile through the miles – or as the Welsh may say ‘gwenu drwy’r milltiroedd’!
Update: July 2015: This challenge has now changed to a FOUR nation challenge as I have dropped Dublin from my ‘to do’ list. It worked out too expensive to go on my own. The Four Nation challenge is Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.