When I first heard of the Twilight running series I had been casually running on and off for 12 months but had no goal to strive for and felt that my body and mind had peaked as a runner about 20 years prior.
I thought ‘Strava’ was a buff Greek guy and that splits were something reserved for gymnasts.
I had managed to complete a few Parkruns without walking and imagined that if I ever managed to do it under 35mins that I had made it as a runner and could happily retire.
I knew that I needed someone to be accountable to and some sort of goal to work towards so booked an appointment with a running coach at In Training. I remember my first meeting with Steve and telling him I was considering signing up for the 5k Twilight Race. His reply was “No. You know you can do 5k so you need to sign up for the 10k.” I just did as I was told and followed the program he set but the first few weeks I still felt like an imposter as a ‘real runner’. At this stage I only owned one set of activewear and used a kitchen timer for speed sessions as I didn’t feel I deserved any of the fancy trappings I saw people wearing who were the real deal.
About a month out from the race I managed my first 10k run and finally started to believe in myself as a runner and could visualise what that finish line feeling would be like. The cheering crowds . . . the shiny medal . . . the sense of accomplishment . . . that elusive runners high . . . and the free banana! I could hardly wait!
I was excited about a night time race as this was my preferred time to run and as race day approached, I was excited but incredibly nervous.
My coach assured me that the excitement and the crowds would fuel me through the race and I still vividly remember that feeling of being pulled along by the camaraderie I felt with all the other runners. Even though I didn’t know a single one, I felt that I was part of a team.
The atmosphere was electric and the encouragement along the course from the volunteers and spectators made me finally realise this running business was fun! The last few kilometres were hard work but once I saw the finish line, I kicked it up a gear and was laser focused on sprinting my heart out. The roar of the crowd as I passed through the finish chute was incredible!
Two and half years and many races later – my finish line photo from the Twilight 10k Run is still my favourite race picture as it brings back all those feelings of pride and happiness in succeeding at something that I really thought was impossible only a few months prior. I wasn’t running for anyone else or to break any records. I was running only for me and to prove to myself that I can do hard things. In the process my physical and mental health and mindset has improved so much and I couldn’t imagine my life without running.
Seeing the joy I gained from running, my five year old son completed the Twilight 1k kids run and think he even had more fun than I did! Just look at the smile on his face! We will both definitely be at the next Twilight Run in September and I hope to see a bunch of first-time races catching the running bug like I did.