Today a few Run Mummy Run ladies and I took on Cancer Research UK’s Tough 10 race at Box Hill. It’s in its first year and I was really looking forward to it given I knew the location. The Tough 10 races are graded Tough, Tougher or Toughest and Box Hill was deemed ‘Toughest’. I can now confirm the grading given was correct.
As race starts go, this was possibly one of the most stunning views I had ever seen; with the sun shining through the blue skies and glistening onto the frosty morning ground; it really was a sight for sore eyes and the race route was not going to disappoint either.
To start, the race took us up the ‘steps’ all 275 of them, they were an absolute killer and when I got to 135 steps I thought I was nearly done, nope only halfway! We continued upwards and many groans and deep breaths could be heard. My thoughts about this section of the race was that it maybe needed a staggered start. With so many people climbing the steps some of the faster runners wanted to speed up so it was tricky. I appreciate this issue could have been out of the organisers hands depending on external restraints and rules on timing however. This didn’t cause me an issue though, I was relieved to go slow on those steps!!
Luckily after this we got a break with a bit of flat terrain in which Catherine (our Community Manager) and I chatted away about Run Mummy Run, the Facebook group and how lovely it was that we were experiencing such a wonderful race together.
It was great seeing the odd pair of spotty RMR socks wizz past or hear the odd ‘Hi Run Mummy Run’ as we pootled through the woods. It was a very cheery race, people were in high spirits and setting aside the more professional runners who had dashed off expertly at the beginning; many walked in parts to catch their breath and take the odd picture.
Climbing to the highest point of 224 metres was SO hard on the legs and I huffed and puffed to get to the top. As a reward we stopped and had our picture taken. Looking down I couldn’t believe how high we had climbed and felt an amazing sense of achievement and appreciation, how lucky was I to be alive and to be able to experience this, I shall never take this kind of thing for granted – ever.
Close to the end we reached our last small climb and this one was the most special of all for me. In June I lost my dear friend to cancer, he was just 41. Cancer Research UK placed a tribute that I’d written for Jamie at the top of Box Hill and it looked beautiful in the morning sun. I had a little cry and hoped Jamie was looking down. Seeing the tribute gave me that final push up the last hill with Catherine close behind for support.
We reached the steps again but this time we came down them. I’m not sure what was hardest, going up or down but descending those steps you definitely needed to keep your wits about you, they were slippery!
Once finishing the steps we were on the home straight and enjoyed the flat route along the road back to the finish line where we were met with cheers and encouragement from our RMR friends and many other kind supporters. I felt elated, it had been a wonderful experience and I always enjoy taking part in the Cancer Research UK races, they have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons.
A final mention to the absolutely fabulous Cancer Research UK Events crew who stood in the cold for hours, kept us safe, rang their cowbells, shouted encouragement, marshalled the route, laughed with us and genuinely cared about all of their participants – A MASSIVE THANK YOU! You can see the passion they hold for their races and what a huge amount of work they put into them, they all deserve medals too.
If you’re looking for a race where your normal speeds and PB’s are irrelevant, where you can take in the beauty of our wonderful world and just enjoy a true life experience then I would highly recommend this race. It’s tough and it’s a challenge but today I challenged myself and I won. I will be back next year. See you there x