My name’s Kerry-Lynne and I’m a slow runner 🙋♀️. And slow runners have guts.
Slow runners slog, we persevere, we run against the odds for ourselves, for our friends, for our loved ones, for good causes just like all the other runners out there.
And for that we deserve just as much respect on the course and at the finish line as our faster counterparts.
I’ve been heckled for not sweating enough as I plodded up a never-ending hill and have been told I should be ashamed of myself by a runner already donning a medal as I pushed myself towards the finish line for a 10K for charity.
But still I plod and plough on.
I’ll never be a fast runner. And that’s okay.
What I am though is pretty consistent with my training and determined. I have the guts to show up knowing I’ll likely be the last one to finish.
For those critics on the sidelines (often, let’s admit it, non-runners) don’t know me, my story, or why I run.
I run to control my asthma, which for a long time seemed to control my life, and running has improved immeasurably.
I run for my mental well-being and resilience as I soon learned the voice that told me to stop at mile one simply needed to be ignored.
I run to prove that I can push myself further than I thought I could, plodding on up that hill, that little bit further or, when I’m up to it, a little bit faster.
I run to show my son and my daughter that being active is good for you. I tell them it’s about taking part, not winning, because we all do the same distance and (hopefully) get the T-shirt and the medal.
I run a few times a year for good causes because, working for a charity, I know the difference they can and do make day in day out to people who need it.
So this week I entered the ballot for the London Marathon for the second time for all those reasons.
But then I read the stories of pacers being chased down by lorries, runners being sprayed with chemicals, having no water stations or directions, not even being tracked so their family, friends and loved ones could watch and cheer their progress from afar.
And it made me think again about that ballot place. Would it really be the experience I hoped for?
The marathon organisers are investigating and I hope meaningful changes are made.
Because if you say your cut off time is 8 hours, and you have pacers for 7.5 hours, your event should be planned around this.
The clean up operation should not begin until the last runner is well over the starting line.
Your slower runners should get the same experience as everyone else because it’s the same distance – and achievement – overall.