Back in 2019 I was feeling aimless so, in a grasp for purpose, I decided to go whole hog on running. The sport has been in my life for a long time but I had never really given it full commitment. It had always been a passing, but familiar, acquaintance. I imagine quite a few people have that relationship with running. The clarity of mind and body which it gifted me, when I was motivated enough to visit, was enough for me to say that I liked running, but I did not consider myself a runner. To solidify this commitment I took what I considered to be a very runner-y move and booked a half marathon to train for. I had already been slowly ramping the miles anyway – the running was lessening my apathy, loosening that which was willing me to stray towards darker distractions.
Entering the Great Eastern Run seemed a natural target: just ambitious enough, and also right on my doorstep.
I trained a fair bit, without joining a club, and was probably in the right place to run just inside 90 minutes. The day of the half marathon was miserable, but that could not dull my excitement. The pouring rain added a sense of drama. I warmed up, as much as I could, and stayed dry until it was time to shuffle into the starting pens and warmth and dryness were no longer options. There was an excited, nervous atmosphere. I think everyone was particularly keen to get going before they got too cold.
And then the start was delayed. The announcer did his best to keep us amused, reassuring us that it would not be long. He cracked jokes, and detailed the front-of-packers who we would see, briefly, streaming out ahead of us when the start came.
But that start never did come. A vague threat to the safety of the course caused a cascade of delays which would have stretched the half marathon finish beyond the road closure window, and the race was called off entirely. I laughed, pulled the hat off my head, shook the rain from my hair, and jogged back to the car. It was beyond frustrating to have built up that sort of excitement only to have it fizzle it in a limp, damp fart.
I deferred my entry, but the race has not been on since.
In 9 weeks I will return to the half marathon (not of the Great Eastern Run though, when or where such an event will take place again is unknown). This time I have fingers crossed that I will actually be able to run it – and hopefully run it about 10 minutes quicker than I had intended to run it in 2019. If that happens then, who knows. Perhaps it will be my distance of choice. Perhaps I will have the urge to run longer, although I have no desire to rush my progression through the distances. Or, perhaps, I will come crawling back to 10ks with my tail between my legs. No matter, I’m excited to finally experience that which originally brought my running journey into its stride.