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Running for Retrak: Week 11
So, the first big test is under my belt and out of the way: on Sunday, along with more than 20,000 others, I ran the Antwerp 10 Miles (that’s 16km, metric fans). By some way the furthest I’ve ever run, and I have the aching joints to prove it. It’s also the first event of that size I’ve taken part in and, glossing over some logistical headaches – being kept on the start line for the best part of an hour in very unBelgian blazing sun, fitting those 20,000 runners and their well-wishers on the ferry back and forth across the Scheldt – it was a brilliant experience.
What made it was the spectators: thousands of them lined the course from start to finish, cheering us on by name long after the main event – the marathon – had been and gone. Truckers on the Ring beeped their horns, kids alongside the route offered high-fives and soakings from water pistols, old men on terraces raised pintjes and inclined heads as we passed. Steel bands, jazz combos and kilted bagpipers kept spirits high, and I’d even go so far as to say that this reluctant runner started to enjoy herself.
My time was slower than I’d hoped, and goodness knows where the extra 4km are going to come from for the Brussels 20km next month, but I tell you what, as I rounded the last corner with seemingly every man, woman and child in Antwerp shouting me home, I felt like blimmin’ Mo Farah in the home straight at London 2012.