I had to make a slight amendment to #WhyIRace at the weekend, because I found a new motivator and a new reason – forcing my mum into doing some exercise.
Although she’ll kill me for saying so, I’m not sure my mum has been in a gym for 15 years. When we were 1.5k into our Race For Life: Pretty Muddy run on Saturday, this figure jumped to 20 years.
Despite (and she won’t forgive me for not mentioning it) having a knee injury and bruised ribs, my mum was determined to plod through the 5k race in memory of her mother, my grandma. Had my grandma been actually watching the race, she would have been utterly mortified to see her daughter and granddaughter cavorting around in mud and climbing over A-frame cargo nets, but we did it for her regardless.
Pretty Muddy is the Race For Life’s answer the demand for tougher, muddier, obstacle based runs as opposed to tramping around on 5 or 10k road races. It’s all in aid of cancer research, and in their years of putting on events they have become a very slick, well-organised outfit. It’s a female dominated race, and the lineup was overpoweringly pink and giggly as we set off.
For an OCR regular, there was nothing you couldn’t handle – some inflatable jumps, some splashes into muddy paddling pools, cargo crawls aplenty and sadistic marshals with water pistols. The atmosphere though, was something that could have either brightened your spirits or brought you to tears as you read people’s reasons for racing on the stickers on their backs. Mum cried through the warm up, I had a bit of a teary moment when she finished, amazed at what she had achieved. Or maybe it was mud in my eye, I don’t know.
Sometimes we forget that people simply race for the personal challenge, or to raise money for charities close to their heart. It’s runs like this that make you realise that motivation comes from so many different places, and no reason is better than another.
This weekend, I ran to make my mum realise her potential, to honour her mum’s memory and to be part of something bigger than a competition.
And it made me happy.