After running Temple Newsam parkrun, the Thirsk 10 Mile at the weekend, and with some of our newest runners at the club this evening, I have been reflecting.
Over the last few weeks I have been running at a measured pace in order to build up my mileage without due haste and making sure I avoid injury, something that, if you follow my blog, you will know. But this weekend I realised something. Something to which I would certainly give lip service to before, but was brought home as vividly real to me as I ran these two events.What I realised was this: that there is no such thing as slow!
Certainly, runners take all sorts of different times to complete the course and run at vastly different paces. I am not denying the laws of physics but consider this:
As I ran with these athletes, different people running at a different pace than what I was used to, what really became real to me is that they were giving at least as much, if not more than runners completing the race much sooner than they. They were giving it their all and in terms of effort, commitment and competitiveness, there was no difference between them and other athletes I have run with before. All of the runners are amazing, fit athletes giving all of themselves to compete in the event. In a running race there is no slow.
This to me goes to show what an amazing participation sport running has become. If you look at the Sport England web site, those participating in “athletics” weekly, has increased by 1 million in the last 10 years (in large part due to parkrun I would guess). In fact, it’s a close second to swimming in terms of popularity but wins hands down in terms of numbers participating in competition.
And here’s the thing that in my opinion makes running such a fantastic competitive sport to take part in. Unlike team sports (like football and cricket) and one-on-one sports (like tennis and badminton), with mass participation running events you don’t have the “loser” concept; you simply find a level and at that level, you are just as great a competitor as anyone else. This feeds the culture of the sport which really embraces the fact that everyone who puts in the training to reach the start line, is a winner!
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” Philippians 2:3 NIVUK