I stumbled upon this event through Instagram I think … As a free 5k with tickets to the athletics in the afternoon I thought why not and signed up. The invite went as follows:
British Athletics and the BBC are inviting women to take part in a free, 5K run at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Sunday 1 July giving you Midlands runners the chance to run for fun at this Couch to 5K challenge.
The Couch to 5K (C25K) challenge is part of Public Health England’s One You campaign aimed at people aged 40 to 60. It provides advice and tools, e.g. apps, for the middle aged to use that will improve their health and wellbeing. Simple changes such as becoming more active are suggested and running along with walking are ideal ways to do so. C25K is a nine week programme for beginners who will be able to run for 30 minutes by the end.
BBC Get Inspired and British Athletics have joined together to encourage women to sign up for the C25K challenge and they are now offering a free taster in the form of a 5k run at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham and a pair of tickets for day two of the Muller British Athletics Championships.
When I started running back in 2015 I used a version of ‘Couch to 5k’ and strongly believe it’s such an amazing took to get people up and running gradually, whatever the fitness level. I used to run/walk laps and laps of the park on the programme, tedious but I wouldn’t be where I am now fitness-wise without such an amazing programme.
As Birmingham isn’t too far away from me, I travelled down early in the morning. Number collection was super easy and once done we made our way onto the track for some photos. The group of ladies gathered around listening to the briefing to find out what the next half an hour or so on had in store for us.
We lined up around 9.30 and then we we’re off for a lap and a half of the track, before heading out of the Alexander Stadium. It’s the first time I’ve ever ran on a track (since school age) so it was an experience, even a little bouncy. Annoyingly my shoelace became undone so I took a pitstop after one lap so that I didn’t hinder myself further down the line.
My ankles, still a little sore from the previous day’s Witney parkrun, meant I wasn’t up to my full speed but I enjoyed the adrenaline of running on a surface where records have been broken.
After exiting the stadium, we were now headed for two laps of Perry Park. With mixed terrain all I wanted to do was stay on my feet. I’m happy to report I did though it was a struggle with the uneven terrain and the strength of the sun.
The finish took us on 3/4 of a lap of the track which was just as good as it was the first time and a half around. I gladly finished, sweating so so much in the heat!
I picked up my water, finishers t-shirt and tickets for the athletics and went onto the top of the bank in the hope of a breeze! A slight breeze and I got out of my running top as quick as I could (also due to the significant amount of flies that seem to be attracted to bright yellow).
After cooling down a little, in this heat, we were asked to head over for a photo with all Women’s 5k runners. Heading to the hill, everyone was chatting away to each other. I even met a team black and a fellow team white member of visor club! During the photos we spotted the final ladies who were finishing off their 5k.
More so than any other running event I’ve been to, I really felt the community come together. One of the audience shouted ‘come on ladies let’s walk them in’ and a huge chunk of the crowd walked trackside and completed the final part of the two-ladies 5k, clapping and cheering on the way. It’s times like that that the community really comes together and you know that you’re part of something special.
A few more full group photos, including Brit Bear, and it was time to source some food and fill up before an afternoon of athletics…