I ran Race for Life!

When I signed up for Race for Life it seemed like no big deal. It’s 10k aka six miles. I run half marathons. I can run 10k with my eyes shut, if you know what I mean (it might be a bit dangerous, but you get my drift).

So it was no big deal until we entered our first heatwave in ages. It was going to be 27 degrees. This is Britain in July! It’s supposed to be 18 degrees, like it has been every year since 2007. I started feeling rather nervous. I like a warm, sunny day as much as the next person, but I’m not a sun worshiping, heat-seeking type. Twenty seven degrees is too much for me, even sat in the garden doing nothing.

I got out of the car and headed for the start line. It was too hot to be outside, too hot for walking. How on earth was I going to RUN?!

I met up with Emma aka Crazy with twins. It was Emma who first inspired me to run Race for Life and whose name I had on my back. I also had the father-in-law I never knew, who I have been thinking about a lot recently. I am very lucky that my life hasn’t been touched by cancer any more than this, but I am also aware that this could change at any time. There are many other people out there who would have thought that, until a parent, sibling, spouse or even child got hit by the dreaded C word.


People were warming up and doing the ‘cancer slam’ – a special dance for Race for Life. It is practically against my religion not to throw myself enthusiastically into any dance routine going, but preserving my energy was way too important.

The ladies and girls were split into runners, joggers and walkers. All of the runners were together, whether 5k or 10k.

We set off and one girl got off at an astounding pace. She was either a proper athlete or bonkers. She may also have been doing the 5k with less need to preserve her energy. Despite being with the runners, I still got caught behind a couple of larger ladies who clearly weren’t there to run. Within two minutes some of the runners, mainly teenage girls, were walking. And I was in about 30th place out of a huge field of people.

At 1k I felt great. The heat wasn’t a problem. At 2k I wasn’t feeling as good, it was starting to get to me. But I had 700ml of Lucozade to get me through! I’d be fine.

At 3k I was really starting to think about walking, but it was mind over matter. At 4k, the 5k runners headed towards the finish line and the 10k runners ran up a hill. I gave up. I walked.

At this point it felt like the most horrific thing I’d ever done. I was so hot, so tired, my mouth felt thick and sticky, I couldn’t quench my thirst. Should I take my Race for Life Tshirt off and just run in my sports bra? If it hadn’t been for the lack of factor 50 on that part of my body, I might just have done it. I needed to survive. I didn’t need to be dignified (thank goodness I’d worn proper shorts too, despite the fact that my next waxing appointment is only a few days away!).

I felt quite sick. I wouldn’t be able to eat when I finished. I could hardly drink. I would have to go home to a freezing cold shower, then lie in a darkened room all day. I’d be too ill for work tomorrow. I definitely had heat stroke.

I was convinced I was at 6k just after the 5k marker, so the 6k sign when it came was a huge disappointment. Between 4k and 9k I walked as much as I ran. To be honest, I felt worse when I was walking than when I was running, but I’d get to a point with the running when I knew I just couldn’t run any further.

In the distance I could see a great sea of pink still walking around the track at the racecourse. There were far more of them than there were of us – 10k runners heading for the finish line.

At 9k, the 10k people merged with the 5k people, and something kicked in for me. I wasn’t going to be slowed down by the pink wigs and the toddlers and the dogs. I’m a runner, and I was going to run!

So from 9k to the end, I ran. I’m the scorching heat.

As a rule of thumb, I say 6 miles takes me 60 minutes, although in reality it’s more like 55. I crossed the line, in that ridiculous 27 degree heat and beating sun in 1 hour and 1 minute. And I was VERY happy with that.

I heard Emma call me as I headed for the line, then my eldest as I crossed it. My kids were proud of me. And I was proud of myself! It had been so much harder that the half marathons I’d done, and I’d felt so awful for much of the race, but I’d kept going and I’d done it!


And what of the legendary Race for Life emotion? The sad messages on people’s backs and the tears? I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel much of it. There were some sad ones, particularly those which included messages as well as just a name. The messages from younger people who’d lost a parent or a sibling and anyone who’d lost a child were heartbreaking. I guess most of the emotional bit was among the walkers, who walked in family groups or groups of friends to remember one or two special people. A lot of the 10k runners were just running – they didn’t even have a name on their back.

I feel pleased that I’ve done it and I’ve raised some money for Cancer Research. I’m so grateful to everyone who has sponsored me. Oh, and I didn’t need that lie down in the darkened room or that day off work.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Well done Sarah. I really wouldn’t have fancied running all that way in that heat.

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  2. I’m super proud of you and so happy you were there too. I found it extremely hard even though I was only doing half the distance and it really helped knowing you were there going through it with me. For me the emotional bit was the motivational signs written by Race For Life. Especially at 2k when I got indigestion and wasn’t sure if I could do it! I also felt like some of them were talking to me and my Cancer. We did it! #EmmasArmy 🙂 Now for my next trick… Xx

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  3. Well played! It was sweltering yesterday and I’m still getting over an hour of five-a-side football which was played indoors, so goodness knows how knackering it must have been running in that heat!

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  4. Well done ladies! And in that blistering heat too! Awesome jobs! Oddly this is my first year that I’ve not done my Race for life! {First yr in 7!} so roll on next year! 😉 xx

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  5. Really well done. It was roasting, wasn’t it?

    A friend of mine did an ultra marathon last week, again it was (then) the hottest day of the year so far….

    Thanks for linking up with The Monday Club x

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  6. Really well done. It was absolutely scorching yesterday and I can imagine it would have been SO tough!!! Amazing achievement! 🙂

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  7. I give you a gold star for that, because I couldn’t sit in the heat for more than 10 mins without fainting yesterday, did you have fun though?

    Just linking up from The Magic Moments Link Up

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  8. Lovely story Sarah, well done! Great achievement especially in a heatwave :o)

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  9. Inspirational! I really don’t know how you managed to finish in the heat, I could barely sit in it. Amazing!

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  10. This is one of the greatest magic moments that I’ve ever read Sarah. You are fabulous and that is one heck of an achievement x

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  11. Sarah that is absolutely amazing you really are an inspiration!

    Thank you for linking up with #MagicMoments xx

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  12. Good job, Sarah. It was a scorcher yesterday. Your friends and family must be so proud of you both.

    Since losing my Mom to cancer almost 2 years ago, we have had our eyes opened to wonderful work that the cancer charities do x.

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  13. Brilliant! Well done. As you know I did that 10k race for life once and found it gruelling even in 18 degrees – I can’t imagine it in blistering heat. You did Emma proud and finished with a very respectable time, despite having to walk 🙂

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  14. Sarah I have no idea how you did that without the heat let alone battling with such high temperatures. Well done 🙂

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  15. You did so brilliantly, Sarah. As you know from our swapping tweets I really struggled with my 10 miles. The heat was just so intense. So well done you for finishing you should be so so proud of yourself xx

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  16. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, everybody!
    Nichola – I especially loved your comment, it made me quite emotional!
    Those signs were talking to you, Emma! We did it indeed! Well done to you, it was tough. x
    So pleased to support a cancer charity, Lesley. They really do amazing work.
    Debs – if you were going to miss a year, I think you chose the right year to miss! 😉
    Sarah – can’t begin to imagine how your friend managed an ultra marathon!

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  17. Well done Sarah! Absolutely fantastic, running in that kind of heat is really tough – having done my first 5k in over a year (ahem) in 28C last week – I’m in awe of you doing 10 in just over an hour! Brilliant magic moment xx

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  18. Thanks very much, ladies, really appreciate that. Will not be planning to run a long distance in heat again in a hurry!

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  19. Well done! Ours ends up like this every year, whenever the day comes the sun comes out with a vengance!! I feel for you! X

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  20. Well done – I was thinking of you both when I saw how hot it was going to be!! xx

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  21. Thanks very much, ladies! If it’s like that every year, Victoriaaa, I don’t think I’ll do it again! I can just sponsor someone else, can’t I?!

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  22. I’ve been meaning to comment on this for ages but life has run away from me! I think this is an amazing feat, I struggled just walking ours in that extreme heat. Well done you x

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  23. Thanks very much 🙂 It was hard, but I’m so pleased I did it! I might even consider doing it again! Surely it couldn’t be that hot twice?!

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