The Donore Harriers Jingle Bells 5k was my last race of the year so I decided to forget about trying for a PB and not worry about my time; I just wanted to relax and enjoy the race. It worked! I really enjoyed this race with its festive atmosphere, beautiful scenery and easy route.
I had a few experiences along the way that reminded me how much I love running and how much fun it truly is. Not just for me apparently, but for others too.
I ended up getting to the race an hour early, which normally is how I like it but today I hadn’t wanted to be that early! Oh well, I just walked around the park a little bit and ended up having a chat with a marshall who was there while her kids were racing.
I had the fabulous experience of seeing the park’s herd of deer; every time I go to a race in the park I hope to see them, and today I did!
(Ok, so not the greatest photo but I didn’t want to disturb them by getting closer.)
I also ended up chatting to couple who were waiting around the start line. They were from Canada and have recently moved to Dublin for study. Shortly before the start time I spotted various people in very festive costumes so I went around to take some photos and get some tweeting done. It was a great way to pass the time until the gun went off.
Starting out I kept to a slower pace to let the crowds go ahead of me. The sound of jingle bells was enough to keep me going and there was a definite holiday feeling in the air! (Speaking of the air, the day was cold but dry with a bit of wind but nothing unbearable. I have really lucked out with good weather for my racing this winter! Long may it continue!).
Because I was running this race for fun I paid more attention to my surroundings and the people around me. I noticed quite a lot of kids running and felt really inspired by them all. Two in particular I want to mention because their efforts really touched me and spurred me on during the race.
Firstly, just after the 2km mark, I noticed a kid running with his mom and I’m no great judge of age but I think he was maybe 6 years old? And he was just running along, wearing a Christmas jumper and santa hat. As I came up to pass them I told him he was awesome and asked for a high five for good luck. His mom said he hadn’t stopped running since the start of the race. That was cool. Really, really cool. Meeting them left a smile on my face as I continued on with the run.
The other young runner who really inspired me was a girl, not sure of her age but in her teens, who was run/walking with her coach. I noticed them pass me once, and when they stared to walk I passed them. This continued throughout the race; they would pass me, I would pass them. I soon began to realize that we were using each other as motivation to keep going, which actually made me really happy! At around 4k they took off and I wasn’t able to catch them again but I managed to find them afterwards and give the girl a ‘well done’. It turns out they were part of a youth group who were taking up running. How awesome is that?!
It was really brilliant to see so many young runners on that course. It absolutely inspires me!
The race itself was very well organized and well marshalled, I was glad for the bottle of water afterwards and the banana. The younger runners got medals but for the rest of us we got these bright and cheery mugs. A nice little keepsake from a very enjoyable race!
Oh, I finished in 39:42 but who’s keeping track, right? 😉