I was supposed to be in Enugu today and leave for Abuja tomorrow night. But the appeal of a 10km run 🏃🏼♀, to test myself against so many runners for the first time was too strong so I chose today’s marathon over work in Enugu.
I dropped dad at the airport at 6:20 am in my running gear and headed straight to the Blue Roof race convergence point. I saw @HerRoyalGness at the gate doing registration work alongside her colleagues. Funny I didn’t see her again until the finish line 🏁, where she excitedly gave me a high five and medal. She teased I didn’t make 1 2 or 3 but neither of us was disappointed.
We are at the start gate and there’s like 200 people in front of me, much more than 300 behind me. I cannot lie, I was slightly overwhelmed. When I do my routine Saturday morning runs, I do it alone without a partner or competition. I was sure I will finish the race. But what position will I finish? I’ve never run 10km at a stretch so I was thinking, the first target; run without stopping. Then make top 20.
6 minutes to the start of the race, I created a running playlist. And entered a small conversation with the runners around me. The race starts and I’m listening to Mr Real’s, Legbegbe. Lol. At 2.5km I took off my earphones. Why? The reality was hitting hard. the number of runners ahead of me and the gap to the First position was so great. So I had to focus and I do it better without music. I passed one of the guys who was saying my pace per kilometre was too slow in the conversation I joined moments before the race. As the race progressed through kms 3 and 4, I thought it weird the way runners were taking water bottles at every km and pouring over their heads. It was until I tried it myself I realised the energy boost it gives. Lol.
I caught up with a runner and asked ‘how many more kilometres to go?’ He said 4 and a half. He suggested we increase speed when we arrive 7kms. Ok. Perhaps he thought I will stop running at some point and walk instead. When he saw it wasn’t going to happen, my unlikely companion of 2kms said goodbye as he slowed for a walk. Whatever happened to increasing speed at 7km? I met another runner who asked me in pidgin for the ambulance saying he was gonna faint. I told him the ambulance was ahead and he should stop instead.
Then it started to look like the run was gonna go on forever at some point for me. I thought of stopping when I collected a bottle of water from one of the nestle water girls. I thought about @MUIZ BUSARI and I knew I couldn’t stop. Luckily, the water girl informed me this was the last kilometre!
I braced for the final push determined no one was gonna go past me any more till I reached the finish line. As I approached the end, I thought about my objectives and if I achieved them. To run nonstop I achieved that. To make top 30, I failed. Honestly, at 4km I switched my target to top 50.
It was when I finally stopped running at the finish line and felt the gale of relief that moved through my bones that I realised to show up and finish the race was the most important objective. My race time was 53minutes but I heard the top 30 finished in under 40 minutes.
Victory never stops – Lebron James
(Sent in by Habib D. Kowantan)
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