I managed three last places today (in what I am going to call a Ray’s Pentathlon), but I had a great day

5 K at Newark

Today I attended the third session of the Notts Athletics Development League (which was my second session). In the previous session, I took part in three events, but today I really pushed the boat out and took part in five events, discus, shot, 100m, 1500m and 5K. The first event started at 10am, and the last event (the 5K) finished at 1:40pm, so it was a fairly packed session.

These events, created by Notts AAA, are all about allowing people to try new things and to focus on enjoyment and experimentation. For me today was the second time I have done discus and shot since 1972, and the first time I have run a timed 100m since that year (my last year at high school, when I was 16).

In the 100m, 1500m, and 5K I was the slowest runner. However, I did manage to score some personal achievements. I was not intending to run in the 100m or the 1500m, because I know that I am slow, and I thought I would feed embarrassment. However, I went to this session with my clubmate Joshua and he encouraged me to take part. In the 100m, my time was 18.5 seconds, which many of you will recognise as being very slow for anybody who does not have a health issue. However, it is the same time I ran when I was 16 – and that made me smile. I also acknowledge that whilst my time of 23 minutes 4 seconds for the 5K was about four or five minutes slower than the other three runners in the race and about a minute slower than I was hoping for, it is actually a pretty reasonable time compared to the population.

In the shot and discus, I was just a few centimetres short of my PBs (set last month at the previous session).

My main takeaway from today was the joy of taking part. There is a liberation that comes from not being very fast; you can focus on the enjoyment and take every opportunity that comes along.  When I run an age-group half-marathon or marathon, I compete for a medal, which can be exhilarating. But taking part in events where you can’t medal (or where you might come last), to enjoy the challenge of doing the best you can, is pleasurable and rewarding. BTW, there is no false modesty here. For my age I am fast for half-marathons and marathons, and reasonable for any age. But I am not a good thrower (yet) and my 100m speed is poor by any standard.

I want to end this post by thanking all the volunteers who made today possible and my clubmate Joshua for keeping me company and encouraging me. If you get a chance to try something new, and if it is something you are not good at, take it as a licence to have a go. See if you like it, and if you do well by your standards, enjoy that too.

Some photos and a video from today (with thanks to Joshua and Ashley)

5 K at Newark
5K race at Newark, this would have been near the start, before these three pulled a looong way in front of me. My clubmate Ashley finished second.

We throw the discuss from inside protective fencing, which was a good idea as one of my throws hit the netting.

Josh and shot
Here is Josh doing a good job with the shot, his first time since school.

A video of me and the shot taken by Josh, this throw was a little over 6 metres.

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