Yesterday I did my first half marathon of the year, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had doing a race! The reason? I ran it with my daughter Rebecca.
Becs did the Big Half in London earlier this year, and decided to enter Edinburgh. I was working in London last week, so as well as getting some runs in around Balham (I always stay in an Airbnb near where Becs lives), we also had dinner a couple of times and planned our race.
My job was to help Becs get round in a new PB. I’d be in charge of keeping her hydrated and fed on the way round, as well as pacing her to achieve the PB and, of course, providing entertainment. Becs placed her order for raspberry ripple Torq gels, which I collected from Run4It on Saturday. We’d get water out on the course.
Becs was staying in Edinburgh with some friends, so on Sunday our alarm in Inchture went off at an eye-watering 4am. Eating porridge at that hour is not natural! We left home at 5, were parked up around 6.15 and headed to a Starbucks, where Jo had breakfast. Becs walked up from her Airbnb to meet us, had an espresso, then we made our way up to the start.
We’d left home in glorious sunshine (it’s always sunny in Dundee!), but by the time we hit the new Forth Crossing it was shrouded in fog. As we walked up to the start it was a chilly 9c, breezy and drizzling. Really good running weather as it happens!
Our warm up consisted of a few lunges, squats & stretches, with Becs eschewing any form of run or jog, “why would I want to run, when I’ve got a half marathon to do?”. I could see her logic.
We set off from the back of the National Museum and made our way down to Princes St, along past the Scott Monument, where the first of many photographers were based. Cue smiles and laughter – a mood that we’d keep with us the whole way around. Every time we saw a photographer we’d smile, laugh, maybe do some jazz hands. We were having a great time!
In London at the Big Half Becs said that after 10k she’d really struggled and hadn’t enjoyed the race that much. By the time Edinburgh came round, and she’d done another block of training, she was much stronger and you could see that in the way she ran. She was strong and on top of the pace all day.
I made sure to dole out some dad jokes, just to keep our spirits high. My particular favourite was at the ‘electric bridge’ in Mussleburgh, where Becs pondered that currents must go over the bridge. Straight away I agreed that the bridge we were on (next to it) must be for the raisins! Quality stuff! At least it made her laugh….
Before we knew it we’d hit mile 10 and the long drag out of town up to the turning point. Becs pushed on, not letting the pace drop. Indeed, the last 3 miles were progressively our fastest of the day! I knew that we were on track to hit our target time if we pushed the pace on our last mile. I asked Becs if she could go a little faster – her answer was “no, but I’m going to as we’re nearly finished!”
And so we pushed on, into the last few hundred metres, still laughing, having fun. As we turned into the finishing straight I spotted Joanna and we were able to smile & wave before Becs put the hammer down and gunned it to the line.
We finished in 2:15:33, beating Rebecca’s London time by over 8 minutes. We did it smiling and laughing all the way, having fun and racing together. Without doubt it is the best day (so far) of my running career. Running can be a solitary sport. Most of the training is done in isolation, then you race to try and go faster than before. But at the end, it doesn’t really matter if I run 46 or 45 minutes for a 10k. Life will still go on.
However running a race with someone to help them achieve a goal, now that felt worthwhile. And when it’s your daughter, someone you love with every fibre of your being, and you can have so much fun doing it, then that makes it extra special.
I hope we can do it again sometime soon Rebecca!