Whilst the majority of my club members were loyally scampering up the hills for the British Fell Relays on Saturday, I was committed to running the Cheshire 10K. I chose this race due a combination of factors: running in my birth county, trying a new race and a mission to find my paternal grandma’s pauper’s grave in Bolton.
The Cheshire 10K was a low-key event, pleasantly so for road races these days which are often “run festivals” sold by large companies. It started in the grounds of stately home Arley Hall and the course took us through closed country lanes. There was a marshall every 1K or so, interestingly always with a tambourine. Congestion was minimal and I was glad to be back in a mass start race so that I could more accurately pace myself with others ( I now realise how much this lack of ability to pace with others in the London marathon due to all the wave starts detracted from that race for me).
I finished in 47.14, 3/24 F50 and 24/227 women (551 runners overall in the race). I ran a better race, my heart rate remained lower than London throughout and I actually enjoyed it!
I found my grandmother’s “grave”, just a patch of grass in a Bolton cemetery; she died aged 40, twenty years before I was born, having committed the crime of bigamy in an effort to escape an abusive marriage, prostituted out by her husband. She had been imprisoned and died soon after, having brought shame on her family, and unentitled to have a proper burial. I mulled over the liberating euphoria of the race compared to the moral control society inflicted on women two generations ago and felt sort of energised and just, frankly, lucky and grateful to be alive.