Western Mail - Weekend

Who will win the Cardiff 10K? We all will

- If you are able to support Kidney Wales Foundation, then we’re fundraisin­g on www.justgiving.com/page/ceri-gouldthoma­s-1693327343­399 @Cerigould

If Cardiff 10K is tomorrow, fundraisin­g started on Tuesday and training started on Monday, what’s my chance of winning it? Not the whole thing, obviously, but the race within a race, between myself, my bestie Emma and my son Charlie. The overriding goal is to raise as much money as possible for Kidney Wales foundation, of course. We’re running in memory of my brother Leigh Gould as part of our ongoing #Leigho’slegacy fundraiser.

To date, Husb, pal, brother-in-law and our cousin cycled from Arsenal’s stadium (Leigho’s favourite) to Maesteg RFC (also Leigho’s stomping ground). Our sister Gemma held a concert, we’ve done a few runs, I ran the London marathon and Mam’s baked more cakes and popped more bottles of fizz than she can care to recall.

But tomorrow. Tomorrow is the big one. It’s the first time Son has been old enough to compete (he’s 15). Daughter will join us at the starting line next year and that’s when the competitio­n will really heat up between those two, oh my goodness.

Until then it’s me, Emma and Charlie. My approach to training has been somewhat patchy. I haven’t really got into my stride – belowpar pun intended. I’ve done a few shuffles outdoors and a few runs on the running machine on holiday, but mostly it’s been rosé wine, sunbathing and steak in Spain.

Last Saturday we said goodbye to summer at a boutique festival where I drank pints and jumped up and down for eight hours while pointing (it’s a classic dance move, I won’t hear a word said against it).

I was in bits the next day. Who knew pointing could wreck your shoulder? I haven’t yet recovered. Everything aches. As I write, my hand is covering up my to-do list at the top of which is ‘run 5k’, followed by ‘write column’. The way my shoulder’s throbbing I’m not sure I’ll get to the end of this let alone the finish line.

And that ‘run

5k’ directive is looking as likely as

‘organise the junk drawer in the utility

room’. That task has been on my list since before Charlie was born and we’ve moved twice since then!

Son’s approach to tomorrow’s challenge, is, I believe, unique in the world of running. He hasn’t done any. Running, that is. Actually, that’s not true. He’s been for two 2k runs. He said he’s going to run it like a rugby player. Short bursts and then jogging. He’s also going to an 18th birthday party tonight, which means we have to leave our home at 6am tomorrow to get to the start line. As if the run wasn’t hard enough!

Personally, I think he’s relying on his youth to get him through it. If only I had that option, eh?

Emsa, well, what can I say about Em? She’s a machine. She just has this engine. Unlike me she goes for a run for fun. She can’t function without running. I need a deadline. A goal. What’s the point in being balanced and running for life? Ahem.

Each time I sign up for a challenge I need to start my training from scratch. It’s an absurd approach. When I’m at that wonderful point of fitness where 10 miles is a breeze, I promise myself that never again will I allow myself to get so unfit. Even after training for the London Marathon I still had little confidence in my ability to run and stopped running almost immediatel­y afterwards. I’m nowhere near the lovely level of even 10 minutes being a breeze right now and I am cursing myself.

Here’s my strategy then – the first 2K, I’ll definitely run too quickly as I’ll be caught up in the adrenaline and will have drunk too much Lucozade.

I’ll tire at 3k to 5k, but at 5k I’ll feel jubilant, as though I could run forever. This always happens. I hit a point where everything is going well and I feel invincible. It also means that five strides later I want to stop running. Brains are weird aren’t they?

Emma will have pulled away by then, of course. She and Charlie will be dust motes in the distance.

At 7k my running track will have inexplicab­ly picked up the U2 album that was mysterious­ly downloaded to the phone years ago and I’ll have to slow down to dig the phone out from its holder in my sports bra and update the Ceri & Leigh Running Playlist. It’s a beauty. It features classics like Hi fidelity by the Kids from fame, Walk Like An Egyptian from the Bangles and, of course, a cheeky bit of Deacon Blue, Beautiful South and falco’s Rock Me Amadeus.

This messing about will have taken me at least another km, so there will be barely more than 2K left to run. And I know I’m unfit, but I can run 2K, right?

The question is, will Emma have finished by then? Will Charlie be running less like Louis Rees-zammit and more like Dillon Lewis? Could I? Might I? Overtake him?

Last time I tried to overtake anyone at the end of a 10K was when I spotted my pal Jenny Johnson ahead of me as we ran into the Principali­ty (then Millennium Stadium). I sped up, tapped her on the bottom, waved and sprinted past only to double up vomiting on the other side of the pitch. Jen Jon caught me up, tapped me on my bottom, waved and ran past and towards the finish line.

To answer my question, then, if Cardiff 10K is tomorrow, fundraisin­g started on Tuesday and training started on Monday, what’s my chance of winning it? I’d say I’ve already won.

This is based on the following facts – the fact that Charlie said yes without hesitation when I asked him to do it. The fact that Emma, as always, just shows up and does it, just to offer her incredible, never-failing support. The fact that Leigh was my brother and we’re able to honour him this way. The fact that everyone responded so generously and said such lovely things about Leigh when I belatedly launched the fundraiser – which is well on its way to hitting £700.

Who will win? With friends and family on our side – we’re all winners.

Thank you.

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 ?? ?? Somewhere in this crowd there’s a race within a race – Cer v Chas v Ems
Somewhere in this crowd there’s a race within a race – Cer v Chas v Ems

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