By Maria Ward, Account Manager/ Knowledgebase Engineer
We did it! I’m proud to report that on Sunday, 18th September Alessandro, Tracey, Chris, David, Jeff, Kristina, Andre, Rachel and I completed the RunTen 10k in support of RSPCA!
Race day finally arrived after all our training and preparation, and we’d arranged to meet in Richmond Park at 8:15 am. Everyone had their own personal goals in mind, and I was no different with a goal of finishing in under 50 minutes. I was beginning to feel a little nervous!
After some mandatory photos, we joined the queue for the start of the race. Participants were set off in batches of around 50 to avoid overcrowding and this worked really well. It meant there wasn’t the usual start-of-race scramble.
Soon we were ready at the start line, listened to a safety announcement and then we were off! Chris very quickly took the lead. I’d have liked to keep up with him, but I knew that if I over-exerted at the beginning, I would have faded at the end.
The course was fabulous, running though the grounds of Richmond Park, a large herd of deer in the distance on the left looking on and wondering what was going on. As the kilometre markers passed, I remember thinking it will be good to get past 5 and be over halfway. I was pushing really hard and can honestly say I couldn’t have run faster. I was at the “I need to stop and walk now” stage for most of the race.
At one part of the course you doubled back on yourself and this is where Chris gave me a shout out. I was in the zone at that time and only just noticed him! A little further on I caught sight of David who was looking strong.
I reached the 8 kilometre marker and knew I was on the homeward straight now. I pushed as hard as I could – I wanted a strong finish and, as 9 kilometres passed, I tried to hold the pace for the last kilometre. The course changed from footpath to grass which was quite uneven so more difficult to run but I knew the finish was close. I turned the corner, could see the finish and sprinted across the line (maybe “sprinted is the wrong word!), breathing so hard I could not speak!
As I collected my medal, water and banana, I heard Chris shout out to me. He must have crossed the line a while ago because he was able to speak! When I checked my Strava, the time read 48:43, and I was so pleased to have got under 50 minutes. I hadn’t stopped it immediately so knew my chip time would be faster. Chris and I chatted (once I got my breath back!) while we waited for the others to finish their races.
As each team member crossed the finish line, everyone was rightfully happy with their achievement. Andre and Alessandro both completed their first 10k race with great times. Tracey achieved a personal best by shaving several minutes off of her last 10k time. Rachel impressed herself and us by finishing well under her personal goal and with no pain despite dealing with plantar fasciitis since mid-May. Chris finished his 10k in an impressive 45:43 – a new personal best for him too! – and my official finish time was 47:01. Jeff even managed to look like he was floating through the air as he waved at one of the official race cameras during his run!
We were also thrilled to discover at the end of the race that the team had reached our fundraising target, and we went for a celebratory coffee! It was a fabulous day, spent with great people raising funds for a very worthy cause. I can’t wait for the next one! Well done Team Animal!
A big thank you to everyone who sponsored our team! There’s still time to donate if you haven’t done so yet, either through our team JustGiving page or, if you are in the UK, text CVCV50 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.