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Marple 10k Trail Run 2023 - FIRST LADY! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ–ค


I can see the future coming to you,

And I can find a faith in days I've wasted...

What a day to believe,

What a day to belong to a face in the crowd

And the beat of your heart...

Tonight, got to live for, got to live for, these days!

Tonight, we'll remember, we'll remember these days...

๐ŸŽถ These Days - Take That ๐ŸŽถ


The Marple 10k Trail Run, Sunday 18th June 2023: I really will remember this day...


How incredible it is to be blessed with one of those heavenly days that you know you'll never forget. Days you'll look back on in months, years, even decades to come and still feel the very same spine tingling enchantment you felt at the time...

One of the things that I love the most about running is its humble ability to make us believe in magic.

That may sound a bit corny and dramatic, but there's really no other way to explain it.

And I'm not talking magic as in disappearing acts and complicated card tricks. Simply put, runningย - and every little thing about it - is pure magic.


Magic is the hushed calm before the starting claxon sounds, when your nerves are suddenly replaced with the belief that anythingย could happen.


Magic is somehow always getting through that difficult first kilometre and settling into your pace.


Magic is the dance of your heart, the motion of your legs, the thud of your feet, the clench of your fists.


Magic is being at one with your body as the minutes pass and the kilometres evaporate.


Magic is halting the war in your mind to respect and admire your body and all of its capabilities.


Magic is hearing the faint rumble of cheering getting closer.


Magic is finally setting your eyes on the finish line.


Magic is the out-of-body experience that takes over and carries you over that line, even when you have nothing left to give.


Magic is a PB, an overwhelming sense of pride and rapture, an average day turned spectacular.


Magic is the sunrises, the sunsets, the early mornings rising with the frost, the dawns dazzling with dew.


Magic is all of the minutes we put into running - those sacred moments where our worries just disappear and the world is suddenly awash with hope.


I can't fully put into words how running makes me feel.

Running silently presents me with the gift to believe in myself. The confidence this sport has given me both in and out of my running shoes in inexplicable. It has literally brought me back to life.

Just over two years ago, I never even knew this world existed. I spent seven years running in solitude, hating every step, pushing my body to limits anorexia had led me to believe it deserved.

Finding myself in the running community has changed my relationship with running, my relationship with myself, and above all, it had changed my whole life.


The Marple 10k Trail Run is my all-time favourite event. I entered for the first time last year and was just bowled over by the passion and friendliness of everyone involved. It had a very unique feel and remains to be like no other race I've ever had the honour of taking part in.

It comes across as more of a family than a running club, and this warmth extends to non-members like myself.


Something I noted in last year's blog is that such precision clearly goes in to organising this annual event.

I have been lucky enough to take part in some really fantastic races, but the Marple 10k Trail Run is a clear cut above the rest, largely attributable to its quirky element.

Sure, the organisers cover all of the basics needed to execute a great event, but they really do go and beyond to set themselves apart.

A celebrity appearance from the awesome Dennis the Menace and a copy of the Beano in the post-race goodie bag are just two examples of things that make the Marple Runners stand out.

Infusing fun with a passion for running, this event really is an absolute pleasure to be a part of! ๐Ÿ˜

I adore the telltale red and black kit of the Marple Runners, and it always makes me smile when I catch a glimpse of it in the distance at events.


You might get runners dressed as Big Ben at the London Marathon, but you don't get Marple's own Dennis the Menace! ๐Ÿ˜


The 2023 Marple 10k Trail Run was another wonderful triumph. I have post-run blues again!

I took some time out after the race to look around the field, and literally everyone was beaming. Whether discussing the course or taking selfies with Dennis, everybody was in such good spirits, despite the tough conditions.

I heard so many people exclaim delightedly as they pulled out their complimentary copy of the Beano!


Last year, I was battling a tendon injury on the day of the race and probably shouldn't have run. But as we all know, there's absolutely no sense in telling a runner not to run! ๐Ÿคฃ

It was my first time ever attempting trail, and I finished sixth female, in 46:19. I was quite pleased with my time as I had no previous trail events to compare it to, and did the Run North West Lyme Park 10k Trail a few days later in a slightly slower time of around 50 minutes. (Think I still have PTSD from those hills, to be honest. I said never again... But lo and behold, I'm actually doing this event again tomorrow night before flying out to Iceland on Wednesday for the Midnight Sun Half Marathon. Why do I do it to myself?! ๐Ÿคฃ )


The conditions were certainly tougher at the Marple 10k Trail Run this year, with temperatures of 20 degrees. The forecast rain never reared its head, and the air was thick with muggy humidity: every runner's worst nightmare.

Hay fever kindly ensured that my throat was tickling like mad and had turned my voice into a mere rasp that would put Phil Mitchell's to shame. (Apologies to anyone who had the displeasure of speaking to me yesterday. I promise I haven't taken up smoking 50 a day! I'm staying with my Mum for a few days and Josh actually text me last night and said: 'the one time you lose your voice and you're not even here - typical!' Good old marital support right there...)


I think we were all praying for a bit of rain as we lined up at the start. Sadly, it never came, and that first kilometre out of the park and up the hill onto the canal was pretty tough going.

The change in terrain from grass to gravel really challenged me, and my legs felt heavy almost immediately.

I really love trail running because it strengthens the bond that I have with my body. With a lot more to think about, I have to work with my body more closely than I would a normal road run. Obviously, anorexia thrives upon creating conflict between the mind and body, which is why running is my most precious remedy. โค๏ธ

That being said, I do find road running easier, and I rarely train in trail.

In fact, a few weeks ago, I did an evening trail session in Lyme Park and ended up tripping over a tree route and decking it. It was my first ever running fall, and I just lay there for about 5 minutes, utterly stunned, Club Tropicana still playing out of my fallen headphones.

God knows what people would have thought if they'd seen me sprawled there, wailing into the ground, a face full of dust. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฃ whoever said running was a dignified sport?!


Speaking of dignified... During the final kilometre on Sunday, my throat was burning and leaving me short of breath, so I just randomly started making noises like a startled donkey?! No idea where this breathing 'technique' came from, and also no idea why the sound produced was so horrifying, but I can only apologise to those around me.


Everybody else during a run: Breathless, a bit of light panting, but always somewhat majestic.

Me during a run: HEEEEEE-HAAAAAAWWWW!!!!!!!!!!


That, coupled with my flat feet and strange, elbow-protruding running style (that Josh dubs 'the Terminator') really is a ravishing look, isn't it...?!


Here she comes, elbows akimbo... ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ


While the heat made the run tricky, it didn't detract any attention from the stunning scenery.

The course really is extremely well devised, and manages to encompass everything a trail run should be in just 10k. It boasts a mix of terrain (road, grass and gravel), steps, gates and hills (yeah, the less said about that hill, the better!).

If you're looking to try your hand at trail for the first time, you should look no further than this event.

It's really good introduction to trail, and is solely responsible for giving me the bug!

The route showcases everything that makes Marple marvellous, from the riddle of gloriously quaint canals, to the views of the striking aqueduct.

I saw a social media post last week showing the Marple Runners out and about, chopping back hedges to make sure the run was as smooth as possible for us. (This is exactly what I mean about going above and beyond! ๐Ÿฅฐ)


Brabyn's Park: the beautiful home of the Marple 10k Trail Run โค๏ธ๐Ÿ–ค


The marshals were phenomenal, yet again. They stood in the heat, manning traffic, pointing us in the right direction, cheering us on.

They must have been absolutely boiling, but they ALL had smiles on their faces and went out of their way to make us feel special and motivated as we darted past.

Any runner will confirm that marshals are often the ones who make events so memorable. Their power should never be underestimated - their encouragement is often what gets runners through those mid-race slumps!

Seriously, if you're ever feeling a bit low, or your faith in humanity is depleting, head to a running event.

The inclusivity and compassion of the running community never fails to lift my spirits. It just feels like HOME. โค๏ธ

So... If someone had told me yesterday morning that I was going to place first female, there's no way on this earth I'd have believed them. No way.

Trail is definitely NOT my forte, and there were so many fantastic ladies out.

As I mentioned earlier, I placed sixth female last year, so would have been happy with a position within the top 10 this time around. Given the heat, I was aiming for a time under 50 minutes, and genuinely presumed that I'd see an increase on last year's time.


For the first few kilometres, I was running alongside the incredible lady who went on to place second. She overtook me quite a few times and I thought she had it in the bag. I was tiring fast, whereas she looked really strong.

We took it in turns to take the lead until that wretched hill, when I pushed out in front for the final time. I'm not entirely sure how, but I managed to maintain my position until the very end.

I knew the second lady was hot on my heels, so I didn't even really dare to think about the possibility of coming first until I saw that finish line.


I just could not keep the smile off my face as I came out of the woods, rounded the corner and began to race up the home straight.

I was knackered, making donkey sounds, and frizzy-haired from the cup of water I'd chucked over my head... But I'd done it.

All of the discomfort disappeared as adrenaline waltzed me over the line.

There was that magic I referred to earlier.

I placed first lady, with a chip time of 43:53 - taking over 2 minutes off last year's time!

Finish line: the smile says everything that words cannot. Nothing compares. โค๏ธ


Placing first female at the Marple 10k Trail Run meant so, SO much to me.

Every time I take part in running events, a little bit of my soul replenishes. And when something like yesterday happens, it's enough to keep me on cloud nine for eternity.

'One day like this a year would see me right...'. -Elbow ๐ŸŽถ

I've now been running in events for two years, and the novelty just hasn't worn off.

It's everything to me.

Every time I race at events with others, every time my body surprises me, every PB, every time I place highly... It's another shower of arrows aimed at anorexia.

I'll NEVER be able to express how much I love running, and how it reminds me - every single day - to live.


Most runners have their own personal reasons for taking part in the sport, but the main thing that unites us is how it makes us feel, and how addicted we are to its ability to continually change us and our lives for the better.

I don't know how it does it, I honestly don't. Again - do we need any further evidence to prove that running is magic?

Of course, it's great to come first and get a PB, but at the end of the day, NOTHING comes close to the elation that takes over whenever I run. 5k, 10k, half marathon, alone, with others, first place, last place, whatever - simply enjoying myself and feeling healthy again are prizes worth their weight in gold. โค๏ธ

The happiest of days, and memories to last a lifetime. โค๏ธ


Cara Jasmine Bradley


Check out the lovely Marple Runners here:

https://www.marplerunners.com


Professional photos by Mick Hall:

https://www.mickhall-photos.com






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