We Did It!
On Sunday 26th September 2021, five intrepid Soma Room therapists met in Lammas Park to attempt the Ealing Half Marathon, a notoriously hilly event that has been voted the best half marathon in the UK for the last three years in a row. Between us, we had a wide range of running experience, from total beginners to seasoned marathoners. Despite a number of challenges along the way, all of us managed to complete the event injury-free and with huge smiles on our faces, and having raised over £5000 for our chosen charity BEFriend! Below, we share our reflections of the event...
I signed up for the run 8 weeks ago, which I have since learned is about 4 weeks too short of the recommended training time for one's first half marathon, even shorter for someone like me who doesn't even run to catch the bus. So as the training increased and my body felt strong enough to increase the mileage, I knew I would complete yesterday's run, and had hoped I would do so around 2:45.
Needless to say, I was quite pleased when I was clocked at completing the 13.1 miles in 2:18!! During the run, I was overwhelmed by the community support! People were out with their instruments and colourful signs, clapping and cheering us along. I felt like a minor celebrity when complete strangers called out my name to encourage me to keep going and how great I/all of us were doing.
Today, my knees are a bit tender, and my left hip flexor is still pulling, which was to be expected as that has been an ongoing treatment area and I slept nearly 12 hours last night! I will put aside my running shoes for at least a few days and continue to bask in the satisfaction of having completed my first ever half marathon, but not my last.....!
I decided to sign up for the half marathon when Sophie put it on our therapist group chat. I wanted to give myself something to work towards. Since becoming a father, I found that my time has been quite limited, with work and taking care of our twins. So, when Sophie posted that she was doing the half marathon and she asked if there were any takers, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make myself accountable. And I thought if I signed up, I'd have to do it. As a keen runner, I used to find time to run. These days, I haven't had much time, so I used it as an excuse. I'm so glad I did. It was a wonderful experience, with such a community feel.
It was so satisfying to see how warm the people were offering sweets, and oranges, and the signs saying, "Go, Daddy." And even though my family weren't there, I felt supported, and I felt the love, which was amazing. And so, grateful to be a part of this experience with others as well, to see the different backgrounds that people come from and that they still come together for the same cause. I think it's an amazing thing and it's a wonderful opportunity to see people go above and beyond. I'm so grateful for that experience and I'm so grateful to be a part of a fantastic team.
Well, what can I say! Ealing Half Marathon was an experience! With little to no training, I managed to cross the line with my fellow Soma teammate Emily 🙂
I am not one to shy down from a challenge and I do not underestimate the half marathon distance so I knew how hard it was going to be. I haven’t consistently run in a while - however, I liked the idea of doing a challenge as part of a team. The best intentions of training were there however many factors meant I did not get out as much as I should have.
Nonetheless, I am always inspired on race days by the runners, costumes and community support. The cheering and the music made me think less about the distance left and more about having fun along the way. Also, treading the course with the tenacious Emily, also helped me to get through the race. Teamwork makes the dream work as they say and the Soma team sure showed up and shone brightly 🙌🏽. Till the next challenge 🙂
I signed up for the Ealing half marathon because I needed a reason to get active, and being part of a team working towards a goal together seemed like the motivation I needed.
My training started well but after catching coronavirus I struggled to get back into the momentum of training, and by the time the event came around I had only run 5k, so I was blissfully unaware of what I was in for!
I'm sure it was a gruelling few hours but I can only look back with happy memories. The crowd and atmosphere were incredible; music, cheering, banging saucepans, offering sweets and water. It was great fun. The highlight of my day was crossing the finishing line with fellow teammate Ann, who was the support and inspiration I needed to get around my first ever half marathon with a smile on my face, even though everything ached. She helped me push myself to finish quicker than I would've done if I had been going it alone, and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of such a special team.
Everything still aches now yet I'm looking forward to our next event. What's the next challenge team Soma?!
Having done the Ealing Half Marathon once before in 2016, I knew what a challenging but amazing event it was - famous for both the hilliness of the course as well as for the enthusiasm of the supporters. Neither of these things had changed in 2021 - but what did make my experience different this year was the camaraderie of the Soma therapists who had agreed (some enthusiastically and others with a bit more reluctance!) to sign up for it.
Training and running as part of a team was an amazing experience in what can often be a lonely sport. Providing support, encouragement and the occasional kick up the bum (and receiving a few good bum kicks in return!) made me feel that I was working toward something greater than just myself and that even though most of my training runs were still solo, the team were there with me in spirit. This feeling grew as the donations for our BEfriend fundraiser increased, and I felt the support from family, friends, colleagues and clients silently cheering me on. Between us all, we have now raised five times our original goal of £1000, and I think being on cloud nine must have helped make me a little faster on the day, as I beat my time five years ago by 4 minutes 🙂
I'm so honoured to have completed this event with such a positive and determined group of people, most of whom either hadn't laced up a pair of running shoes for many years or had never run at all! The fact that everyone made it to the finish line with huge smiles on their faces is a testament to the amazing team we have at Soma, and whilst it could just be the last of the endorphins talking, I can't wait to do it all again next year!