On a cold, clear August day in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, almost 2,500 people gathered, ready to take part in the annual half marathon (alongside a further 1,000 people taking part in the full marathon).
Having only ever ran the entire distance once (back in London I spend most of my time sitting at a desk, not being active) it’s with some trepidation that I line up surrounded by people who I’m convinced have each done hundreds before – well, they seemed more prepared than me at least! The atmosphere was great, and with some nervous excitement as the crowd built up and start timer counted down I still had some thoughts running through my head of how I got myself into this situation. When did signing up for the Reykjavik Half Marathon seem like a good idea!?
I really wanted to try another half marathon having got back into running, for exercise and because it’s great for clearing my head as well as seeing progress by pushing myself to improve with each run. So earlier in the year I decided to pick a run, with a friend, that would be a challenge and at the same time an adventure. It seemed like a great opportunity to raise some money for a charity I’d heard about, The Running Charity.
A friend had told me about The Running Charity and the work they do to help young homeless people get into running. It seemed apt to pick a charity that supports people using running to teach goal setting and achieving targets for personal achievement. This resonated with me, something I enjoy and that helps me, being used to help others. My aim was to complete the half marathon and push myself to beat my best, and only, ever half marathon time.
The race started and almost immediately my race ‘plan’ (start slowly and build up but try to keep an even pace) went awry. There were so many runners all filtering across the start line before beginning to find their pace and spread out, so the first mile was slower than I was aiming for. I knew that I would still be okay but would need firstly not to panic and then stick to running my own race and make back the time bit by bit. The route through the city and along the seafront was flat and the backdrop was beautiful (distractions help!).
I kept an even pace, hung on for the last few miles and even managed a sprint (well it felt like a sprint but probably looked desperately messy) finish… and snuck in at 25 seconds under my target of 1 hour 30 minutes. I was shattered but it was a great sense of achievement, the experience was amazing and, on reflection, it really didn’t matter what the time was.
Iceland is a great place to visit, friendly and welcoming people and beautiful landscapes and natural wonders – the Blue Lagoon thermal spa definitely helped my legs recover!
The run was good but so too was learning about The Running Charity and finding out about all the great work they do and how any donation, however small, really will make a difference. I’m proud of that achievement and of my family and friends for their support and generosity having raised just over £500 through my justgiving page. I’m pleased this will help The Running Charity to continue to make a positive difference to many lives.