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Stockport Daffodil 10k 2024 🌼🏃🏻‍♀️

 

On Sunday 28th January 2024, I took part in  the Stockport Daffodil 10k, organised by Sports Feet. 🌼💙

This was my first race of 19 that I have planned in for this year and first off, I’ll just say how bloody happy I am to be back to Sunday morning racing! It’s been a looooong couple of weeks since the Stockport 10 Mile back in December, and I’m absolutely over the moon that I finally get to feed my racing addiction again for another season!

 

This was my second time at the Stockport Daffodil 10k and once again, Sports Feet absolutely SMASHED it!

This race is really quite unique: it’s a larger scale event, but with the added bonus of a friendly, inclusive feel. It has tonnes of personality and is deservedly growing in popularity.

To say that it is immaculately planned from start to finish would be a total understatement.

I don’t think I’ve ever used this expression to describe a running event before, but it really did work like a ‘well-oiled machine.’ 😍

The organisation of this event – which as I mentioned, is certainly on the larger side – is second to none. Both times I have raced with Sports Feet have been superb experiences, from picking up the race pack, right to the goodie bag handout at the end.

And speaking of goodie bags… Sports Feet did it again!

Shower gel, a Freddo, a Rocky bar, Swizzles sweets, socks… Genuinely, what more could a runner ask for?!

 

But let’s backtrack from the finish line and go back to the start…

 

Unexpected road closures around the course on the morning of the race made getting to HQ a bit of a nightmare, even on foot. It meant a detour, and I wasn’t sure where I was going.

Luckily, I met a lovely fellow runner called Phil who walked with me to HQ.

That’s the thing with us runners – we just have that instant connection with one another! We can gleefully talk to each other for HOURS about PBs and negative splits and age categories, whereas our non-runner friends just tend to stare at us blankly.

Phil and I had a great chat on the way down. I sadly didn't catch Phil's surname, but I hope he smashed his goal of placing in the V70 category - I'm sure he did! 💪🏼 😊

 

Anyway, thanks to Phil, I arrived at the starting line on time.

The wind was bitingly cold, and I just couldn’t wait to get going.

I was slightly worried that I’d made a grave error with my pre-race snacks, and became paranoid that I was going to be sick. I mean, it’s my own fault, really. My pre-race go-to used to be a Curly Wurly, then I progressed onto Twirls. Now, no thanks to Aldi’s middle aisle, I seem to have developed an actual addiction to Olly’s chocolate-covered pretzels. I downed a whole ‘share’ bag before the race.

I just hope it doesn’t lead to harder  substances. You start with a Curly Wurly, and before you know it, you’re hooked on Yorkies, and no-one wants that.

Thankfully, I wasn’t sick, although I didn’t feel 100% during my warm up. You know when you just feel more out of breath than usual?

People always say that you know in your first mile whether you’re going to have a good run or not, and I didn’t feel great during the first couple of kilometres of the Stockport Daffodil 10k (I wonder why...?) 🐽🤣🍫


Out on the bypass 🌼


We careered onto the bypass at around 3k… And that’s when I saw a runner absolutely rocketing down the other side of the road. There’s fast, and then there’s the pace this gent was wracking up. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. The most staggering thing was this guy didn’t even look remotely phased by his pace. He was so collected, almost as if he was just strolling along to Tesco or something. In contrast, I once ran a 3:57 kilometre and I had to down 5 French Fancies and take a week off work to recover.

I thought it must just be a non-race runner out smashing their Sunday speed session.

… And then I saw that this runner was wearing a race number.

It goes without saying that it was Kadar Omar, the gent who went on to win the race with an insane time of 30:59. Talk about pure talent.

I know I said this last year, but I LOVE the out-and-back design of the Stockport Daffodil 10k course. Seeing the elites and front runners tearing it up is mega.

By the 5k turnaround, I was feeling great, had well and truly settled into my stride, and was loving every single step. The endorphins were multiplying out of control and I just wanted to run forever.

People must think I’m mental when they see me run; I literally just cruise along with the biggest beam on my face.


 It was all smiles, until it wasn't 🙃 Hills at 9.8k are NOT okay! 🤣


… I wasn’t beaming for long.

I’d almost forgotten about that hill until it popped up, separating me from the finish line.

BIG shoutout to the lovely people stood at the side of the hill who cheered and shouted encouragement to the runners!

And of course, the strategically placed ‘It’s just a hill, get over it!’ sign made me chuckle and took my mind off the fact that my calves felt like they were no longer a part of my body.

Those electrifying seconds between the final sprint to the finish and the instant you cross the line are truly some of the most exhilarating, euphoric moments you will ever experience.

It's as if an unseen force just takes over. No matter how tired you are, the adrenaline kicks in and the pride begins to swell in staggering quantities.

 

I was gutted with my time last year. I’d had a bad few months where I literally just couldn’t get my 10k time below 42 minutes, despite my PB being 40:24. Luckily, things picked up again during the last half of 2023, and I finished with a few more 40-minute 10ks under my belt.

The Stockport Daffodil 10k course is pretty challenging in parts, with its hills and gravel sections. Because of this, I knew it wasn’t going to be a PB run for me, so I simply took the pressure off myself and set my sights on an improvement on last year’s time of 41:21, and position of 15th lady.

This year, I completed the Stockport Daffodil 10k with a time of 41:16, and placed 9th lady out of 613. I couldn’t be any more overjoyed with this! ❤️

The feeling running brings isn’t comparable to anything I have ever experienced.

I’ve now been taking part in races for a blissful two and a half years, and I still can’t quite find the words eloquent enough to do this incredible sport justice.

It continues to teach me so much, and every run brings an overwhelming crash of ferocious love more intense than the last.

I’m fast learning that running is as much an emotional pursuit as it is physical. It lights you up from the inside out.

There’s a reason it makes your heart beat more than anything. Running is my whole heart, and is literal proof that magic really does exist.

I can’t fully explain it, but whatever that magic is, I feel it coursing through my veins every time I run.


 

Why do we love running so much?

What is it about this pastime that has us all so obsessively addicted?

Well firstly, running embodies strength, and moving forwards. It blesses us with the rare gift of shy self-pride in bountiful helpings.

I often talk about the compelling healing powers of running. We all run for different reasons, but I think many of us would agree that we run to escape the ordinary, or free ourselves from the shackles of our minds.

Running is the ONLY thing I have ever found that can fully take me out of myself. It’s far more powerful than any therapy, any self-help book, any advice from any professional.

I can honestly say that the pursuit of happiness ends where running begins. ❤️

When I’m out there, lost within the beating heart of a race, I couldn’t ask for more. The problems of the outside world – the world suddenly far removed from the one beautifully suspended in the wind that dances across my face – are so irrelevant.

When I run, nothing can catch me. No worry is strong enough to rip through the forcefield that running wraps around me.

 

Something just happens every single time I lace up my trainers, and I wish more than anything that I could even come close to expressing just how utterly extraordinary that sensation is.

If you’re a runner, I’m pretty sure that you’ll know exactly the feeling I’m referring to.

Maybe it is simply just the art of being a runner. Runner: that title that I feel so beyond blessed to possess.

 

There are a number of songs that remind me of running, but none more so than Set You Free, by N-Trance.

 

Only love can set you free…’


 Cara Jasmine Bradley ©



📸 Professional photos by Jon-Paul Kearns

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