In 2015 I fell in love with running. But what I didn’t quite prepare myself for was falling in love with the community that surrounds it. And last weekend spent at the Foxtrail Winter Running Series encapsulated everything that the running community is all about. With trails, hugs, massive achievements, friends, Project Awesome and multiple high-fives, I’d quite like to do the weekend all over again please!
Project Awesome warm-up
Do you ever sometimes feel like superman? Well on Friday evening squeezing into my Project Awesome gear in my works toilets, I felt like I was shaking off my inner Clark Kent, and getting ready to share the superhero feeling that Project Awesome is all about. (Okay, maybe my work toilets are a little less glamorous, but you get the point).
Project Awesome had kindly been invited down to lead the warm-up for their Friday 5k and 10k night races. Sadly my Co-Unicorn Anna couldn’t make it, so it was time to be doubly loud. I was a little scared whether everyone would get on board with all our hugging and high-fiving, but after a super warm welcome, I knew I was amongst friends. On the drive home that warm fuzzy feeling buzzed through me, that feeling of being a part of something special. (Either that or I had the car heating up way too high again).
The Nocturnal Ultra Relay
After another Project Awesome warm up on the Saturday night, it was time to lace up my trail shoes and go to work. The Project Awesome team (Jamie, Lauren and I) were taking on the Nocturnal Ultra Relay, and we were ready to do the unicorns proud.
We’d never ran a race like this before and the rules where as follows. 6hours to run as many laps as possible of a 5k route. You could take this on as a team or complete it on your own (crazy people).
Your team’s race strategy was completely up to you, and we decided to take it 5k at a time, giving ourselves rests in-between laps. In hindsight, this maybe wasn’t the best strategy. The first couple of laps where fine, however by miles 12-15, my legs were seizing up from all the stopping and starting. But in the grand scheme of things, I could ignore the legs because I was surrounded SO many awesome people and sights. (btw, I am fully aware of the amount I overuse the word awesome, you’re just going to have to deal with it).
The awesomeness of running the Nocturnal Ultra Relay
- So many of our running friends where there that night. And even one who wasn’t running (Phil) appeared dangling on a zip-line (true story).
- Even the people we didn’t know, encourage us on and chatted away as if we were long lost running buddies.
- The rave barn…need I say more?
- The lovely bouncy twisting trails. Moss + sand made for some lovely sponginess under foot when things were aching!
- Getting to run a lap with one of my Project Awesome favs Noel. Noel was taking part in the solo challenge and ran 50k on the night! He also managed to run his final lap after drinking a tin of beer…I’m not sure whether to be impressed or not. Big props Noel!
- Getting to run a lap with another Project Awesome fav (and the best Italian I know) Chiara. Her grit and pure determination on the night was an incredible thing to witness. She ran 60k and came 5th female overall plus her dancing through the rave barn on lap 10 pretty much made my year.
- Seeing two other incredible running friends Nicola and Ali complete an amazing 65k and come in 1st and 2nd female.
- Running in a team with Jamie and Lauren. I’ve never ran a team event before and this definitely won’t be my last. There was a great feeling of all being in it together and pushing through for your teammates.
The over riding theme for me for the weekend, wasn’t about how fast I ran or how many miles I completed. It was about people coming together and sharing an incredible experience together. Whether you ran 5k or 65k you were surrounded by friends and cheered over the finish line. And that for me is what running and Project Awesome is all about.
Currently: Loving advent calendar chocolates.
Training today: Sports rub from the lovely Lucy and gentle swim
Adventure this week: Keeping my weekend plan free!!! (This is a massive challenge for me…and my long run obvs doesn’t count).