Race Report: Women's Running 10k | Eclectic Cake: Race Report: Women's Running 10k

Friday, 2 October 2015

Race Report: Women's Running 10k

WHAT: Women only 10k
WHERE: Finsbury Park
WHEN: 27th September 2015

The first race I ever took part in was just for women, simply chosen for three reasons – a lot of my friends were already doing it, I'm quite flexible to peer pressure and it looked more fun than competitive.

Maybe this first experience has misshapen the way I look at women only events. Many, like me, choose to lose their race cherry amongst a completely female field, I met a lot of them at the Women's Running 10k in Finsbury Park. Their reasons for entering were a little different to mine.

Whilst they were, of course, looking for an enjoyable race, they didn't want to be put off their ideal speed by inconsistently-paced male runners, they wanted a less intimidating atmosphere where they could be taken seriously and even wanted a shot at winning outright. I on the other hand turned up for a sunny Sunday morning chat!

I knew I was taking the event a little less seriously than the other runners, as everyone filtered behind their chosen pacers and plugged themselves into their motivational music. I hadn't even considered how fast I was going to run and I didn't have any music with me.

I assumed I'd find entertainment and motivation on the way in the form of a few friendly conversations. Instead, the first few kilometres along the undulating paths and grassy sections of the park were a little lonely. The route was nice enough but amongst the quiet patter of feet and huffs of breath, I felt a little lonely. That is, until I met Debbie.

She'd just stopped to walk as I approached, so I invited her to run with me. She was unplugged and willing for me to chat her to distraction. She summoned the strength to start running again and matched my now leisurely speed. I wanted company, she wanted motivation, together we were the perfect team.

It was an absolute joy to run with this stranger turned new friend. With her very first 10-mile race approaching, it's clear Debbie is a very determined woman. Despite getting frustrated at having to walk some of the hilly bits, as soon as she felt the course became runnable, she was back up to pace.

I taught her mind games to play, which along with her strong will saw her running more of the hills on the second lap. Even a quick "I can't do it" moment was quickly shut down by her own admission that of course she could.

We missed her PB time by a matter of seconds but she finished with an amazingly strong sprint and a huge smile on her face. It was one of the most rewarding 10ks I've ever run. Ever hungry to improve, Debbie sent me a message later that week celebrating her first 10-mile training run!

So this is why I take part in women only races. Like those I spoke to, it's not to hide away from men, not because we're scared of our performance but to meet with amazingly inspiring women.


  1. LOVED this! You're amazing and it's so lovely that you motivated Debbie to continue! :)

    Sounds like you had a great run and a great experience :)

    1. Thanks, Laura. That's so kind of you to say. It turned out to be an amazing run!

  2. This is lovely to read! On my first 10k a woman started talking to me, and it came at the perfect time. I'm sure she could tell I was struggling a bit, and she distracted me and kept me going for the last couple of miles. I'm not a chatter, but just the support is super helpful.