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A personal experience of the Goose Fair Gallop and World Mental Health Day 2021

Goose Fair Gallop

This event was my first ever 10k run and it was a win, win, win event for me.

Firstly, what a great location, in the shadow of the Iron Giant. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Victorian railway architecture, the Iron Giant is the name given to the Bennerley Viaduct. It was built in 1877 it is one of only two wrought iron viaducts left in the UK. https://www.bennerleyviaduct.org.uk/?page_id=1537

The route took us from the start right by the viaduct but sadly not this year across it (Covid and delayed construction work meant this was not possible but watch this space for next year) I have been a member of friends of Bennerley viaduct for a while now and probably know quite a lot about the restoration work and plan to re open it as cycling running , walking route . The idea of racing in its shadow was a temptation too far.  The day could not have been better weatherwise, blue sky and sunshine, the viaduct looked magnificent.

Secondly, I wanted to challenge myself to run further than I have ever before. I took up running 8 years ago as a way of keeping fit and helping to maintain my mental health . The additional challenge was last July I broke my ankle so this gave me a target to focus on for my training.  Up until the day of the race I had not run more than 8km. My target was to finish and I hoped to complete the 10km in around the hour mark. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and assured me I could do it!. The nerves kicked in before the start but once we were off I settled into a pace I thought I could manage. At about the 1km mark I found myself running with Charmaine who was fantastic. Although we had never met before the run, we chatted amicably and she said she would run with me at a pace with the aim to finish in around an hour. She was so encouraging but at the 8km mark I was feeling the effort so not wanting to hold her back any further suggested she go on at her pace. She agreed and said she would wait at the finish line for me. I needed to walk for a short while to summon up strength for the final 2 km. The last km seemed more like 3 or 4 but with the finish arch in sight I managed a final sprint to the line. Finishing in 1 hour 4 minutes and being, cheered on by Charmaine, her son and friend. A very big thank you to her for friendship and encouragement. It made me realise yet again the importance of talking to people and offering the hand of friendship. It might not be when someone is on crisis but talking at any time  helps us connect and support each other.  

Finally, I used the event to raise money and awareness of Jonathan’s Voice, a mental health charity close to my heart. I know from personal experience that physical exercise and running in particular helps me to maintain my mental health. It was great to be able to raise funds to help the charity with its work and made all the more pertinent as I was running on World Mental Health Day.

I am looking forward to next year’s race , fingers crossed  with part of the route over the viaduct and breaking the hour time barrier !

Jackie Scruton

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