People think that running is just running; on foot in front of the other repeat, but I disagree. I believe that it is a diverse and exciting sport with something for everyone. Which is why, last week I found myself, standing with 1,200 other people wearing a white t-shirt, a rainbow bobble hair band (bravely lent to me by a five year old) and none of my much treasured running kit, reflecting on how a week earlier I had been running 100 miles. I was at The Children’s Hospice South West Rainbow Run in Bristol, an annual fund raiser which sees all sorts of fantastically dressed people running around The Downs while someone lobs paint at them.
The sun was beating down, the kids were turbo excited and I suddenly realised that my hamstrings resembled bow strings and my quads still felt like they were on fire, I had also done absolutely no stretching at all. When I signed up for this I had nonchalantly reasoned that it was 5km at the pace of my smallest Enthusiastic Child, on the start line I reflected that it was a perfect opportunity for an injury so quickly ran through my most basic stretch routine; a runners lunge by me in slightly inappropriately short shorts was probably not what everyone wanted to see.
In no time at all we were off to the shouts of ‘the first colour is green’ from all the kids we were with as they sprinted off into the distance; my hamstrings had not signed up for this! But after being pelted by green we moved on; kids covered in paint and even more excited about what was coming up.
All the colours of the rainbow followed alongside an emotional fall by smallest Enthusiastic child, a bit of shoulder carrying and lots of laughter before the finish line appeared.
What a brilliant race, we didn’t cut any corners largely due to the conscientious conformity of one Enthusiastic Child and the kids, aged 5-8 largely ran the whole thing. But what struck me most is what races like this achieve, beyond all the wonderful fund raising. This fun packed event saw people of all shapes and sizes out running, got families out running together and put on a fab opportunity to enthuse kids to run and be sporty. How many times were we made to run around our school playing fields in the depth of winter in a t-shirt, shorts and hockey boots, no wonder lots of people are scared of running. Yet, create a run involving powder paint, brilliant volunteers handing out water to drink (which clearly the kids used to spray each other) and a collection of fantastic Bristolians and you have an event which is fun as well as inclusive and we all loved it.
Most importantly for us it was a time to create memories and eventually eat ice cream with some important people in our lives and for Enthusiastic Kids to earn another medal for their collections.
Second photo by Colin Rayner Photography