‘Finish lines, not finish times’ is my running motto - Lynette Fay

Junior Parkrun is a gorgeous event but my four-year-old doesn’t need to know her 2k time

Lynette Fay

Lynette Fay

Lynette is an award winning presenter and producer, working in television and radio. Hailing from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, she is a weekly columnist with The Irish News.

Thousands of runners take part in The Belfast City Marathon from Stormont with a record number of entrants aiming to complete the 26.2-mile course.
Watching this month's Belfast marathon awakened Lynette's Fomo - fear of missing out - and inspired her to take part in last week's Newry 10k and this Sunday's Vhi Women's Mini Marathon in Dublin PICTURE: COLM LENAGHAN

Standing in the Quays in Newry on Sunday morning, the queues for the toilets were lengthy, warm ups were being taken very seriously and the smell of deep heat filled the air.

I had just said goodbye to our daughter, who shuffled off with her auntie for breakfast. My husband was already nearly three miles into the half marathon at this point.

You see, he thought that it would be a good idea to enter me in to the 10k, to get me back in to running regularly. And it would have been, had I trained for it - but I had not.

I had been walking a fair bit, but when it comes to running, I am not in good shape, and have been lacking the motivation to go out on my own, and I can’t seem to make it when the other members of my running group are heading out for a few miles.

I was teetering on the brink of not bothering to take part at all, and just go for a good walk.

For some reason though, the negative voice in my head had nothing to say. A rare occurrence. Instead, the self assured voice said, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

The answer to that was that I would finish last, to which my reply was: “So what?” So I promptly took myself to the very back of the group of runners and told myself repeatedly that no matter what it took I had this, I could finish this race.

At the start of the month, I watched on as others participated in the relay of the Belfast marathon, and kicked myself for not training so I could be in the thick of it. I had Fomo, or fear of missing out; I missed the running buzz.

Newry was not my first 10k, so knowing the drill, I leaned in to the idea of doing what I could and hoping that this might just ignite my drive for running again. I certainly enjoyed feeling the post-run endorphins once again. It had been a while.

As I puffed and panted my way back towards Newry on the Warrenpoint Road, I met Aoife who was running a 10k for the first time. She said that the beginning of the race was a bit overwhelming.

I remember being overwhelmed on my first few outings. Some people take running very seriously, and good for them, but I forgot just how seriously they take it until I was nearly knocked over by two men who were running the half marathon, on their way to a PB at the finish line no doubt, but steady on lads.

We have started to bring the four-year-old to Junior Parkrun, which is a gorgeous event. I have been advised to register her because otherwise I won’t know her time. But I do not wish to or need to know her time. I am grateful that she completed the course - she is only four...

Two lanes of the dual carriageway had been freed up for the run, there was plenty of space for everyone. Surely the more seasoned participants can spot those who are struggling a bit and run out past them?

Finish lines, not finish times. That has been my motto since I started running. I find the chat about times overwhelming, especially if I haven’t had time to train, or have been injured.

We have started to bring the four-year-old to Junior Parkrun, which is a gorgeous event. However, I underestimated just how much patience I would need to get her round the 2k course. I bribe her with a visit to our local coffee shop and that does the trick.

I haven’t registered her yet, because I want to see if she enjoys it first, and each time she has taken part, I have been advised to do so because otherwise I won’t know her time. I do not wish to or need to know her time. I am grateful that she completed the course - she is only four...

Like every situation in life, where a large people are gathered, there is a lot of noise to block out. I look at the positives of race day – the volunteers, the bystanders out to support the runners, special mention to the couple who were laden down with boxes of sweets to give a sugar boost to runners as they whizzed by or, in my case, plodded past, and those who were supplying the drinking water.

Everyone runs for a reason. For me, it’s doing something for me, and spending time with friends.

If my leg muscles allow, I’m for Dublin on Sunday for the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, which is a great day’s craic. Hopefully, that’s me back on the road again. To be continued...