Fred Hughes 10 – An Alternative View

Fred Hughes 10 – An alternative view

Diary of an injured Runner



7:00 AM – Alarm goes off. It’s early for a non-run day… my ankle is a bit stiff

7:15AM – Up for breakfast and the daily physiotherapy exercises. 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8…. repeat. Again. It’s boring. It hurts. It has to be done. Same again tomorrow.

8:15AM – My lift arrives. It’s driven by a runner. I grumpily get in as the sleet starts to fall

8:45AM – We’ve arrived in St Albans a mere 30 minutes later. I’m feeling quite warm by now but thirsty for water having discussed physios and injuries with Mrs Norman and Coombes in the pub the night before

9:00AM – Walk to the Race HQ to collect number. Feel a little guilty for using up one of the toilets and not for the usual pre-race nerves! Everybody is wearing tshirts, shorts and club colours. I feel a bit sad and FOMO. Third time I’ve been at this race, but I’ve never run it. One day…. one day.

9:20AM – Walk back to the car for the runner to do some warming up. I shelter, hunched in the car playing on my phone, chuckling as the runner goes up and down the pavement outside. Madness!

9:40AM – Back out into what has now become light snow. Everything looks quite nice. I’m still warm in my layers. All the runners are huddled under trees near the start. I feel a bit lazy.

9:55AM – I’m passed a soggy LBAC hoody and that’s the signal for me to leave. I meander against the tide of excited but chilly runners back towards the car, dump the hoody and march onwards towards the course.

10:00AM – Somewhere, out of sight, out of earshot, a race starts and hundreds of pink skinned runners charge off to get warm. Meanwhile I’m looking for a convenient place to relieve myself.. somewhere out of sight, out of earshot…

10:25AM – I’m wandering down a quiet wet lane in Hertfordshire when a bike followed by some quick blokes pass by. There’s a mile 4 sign. Perfect timing. Getting into it a bit I give some encouragement to all those passing by me and try not to get in their way. Before long a flash of purple and gold appears so I get my bigger cheers going. I get a smile. Not too bad really this spectating lark. Shame it’s cold… and wet. Did I mention it’s snowing?

10:35AM – As I battle along the course, dodging puddles and darting in and out of the approaching runners, I give some encouraging sounds towards various clubs and names. I get a few thumbs up and thanks in return. I’m cold but there is a slightly warm feeling inside.

10:45AM – I approach a point where mile 5 and 8 pass and I head towards the finish. The road is flooded. I’m not wearing appropriate footwear for this! The marshal suggests the middle is the shallowest. Definitely the route of the runners. I climb up on to the bank and round and get a bit muddy…


And still the snow snows and the runners run.


10:55AM – Half way up the long hill towards the finish and the lead bike passes me again. I tell the runners to dig in. They probably hate me. Some others give me more thanks for my encouragement. It’s mile 9 and I’ve counted 4 ladies so far and I can see purple and gold coming up the hill towards me. Photo time! 5th lady is just in front of my runner so I tell her she can do it. There’s definitely some determination in that face.

11:06AM – I arrive at the finish… bit tired. It’s a long walk that! Lots of grey and red tshirts milling about when suddenly a big smile in a red finishers’ tshirt waves her arms through the thickening snow at me.


“I GOT A PB!!!!!”


It’s all worth it.


All smiles as Jo battles the snow to earn a PB!