Akelas Marie and Lotta decided to do a 5km fun run in our uniforms, to show off a little bit. We walked to the start as a warm-up and waited in glorious sunshine together with the other 90 people who had signed up for the 5km run and the almost 1000 people who were going to run 10km in the summer heat.
In the picture you can see Lotta in the new, green, uniform, that is the same for the whole Swedish Scout Federation, and Marie in the beautiful, old, blue uniform, specific for the SSF, the Swedish Guide and Scout Association.
Our strategy was to keep in the back of the field and at a most modest pace, just to finish the race, and we let the hotspurs and the serious runners fight for space across the old tollbridge. It proved a good plan, as when we passed the commentator's tower in the centre of town we got everyone's attention, and our names and the groups name was mentioned loudly and clearly over the sound system, and everybody cheered us on.
We had to break our pace and start walking for a little while after a long uphill slope, but then we spotted some handsome young fire fighters, who were watching the race at the roadside, and found the strength to start jogging again. But after another uphill bit, in relentless sunshine, we felt a bit drained and walked for a little while again. Just when we felt the most tired we were cheered on by some people sitting on their stoops, and their warm smiles and waves did the trick and carried us up to the water stop.
In the shade of the trees down by the river we spotted the 10km runners across the water comming up for their last kilometer, led by police escort. They looked almost as warm as we felt, but they were running a whole lot faster. (They did all have a lot longer legs too, I think!) Marie's husband met us by the white water rapids and cykled behind us, as we plodded on along the river path into town and the dreaded Brewer's slope, a short but steep, cobbled street up from the river path, where the 10km runners merged with the trickle of the remaining 5km runners. There were quite a lot of people watching by Brewer's slope and they cheered everyone equally, which was well needed, as the hill is well known for breaking amateur runners' spirits.
With renewed strength we took on the last uphill slope, not as steep as the one before, but double in lenght. The crowd cheered us on as we got close to the home strech. At the top of the hill waited Lotta's husband and Marie's daughter, whose enthusiasm gave that last little boost of energy that, together with the commentator's and the crowd's support made us able to give that little bit extra past the finishing line.
The picture was taken just after the finish, just after we had caught our breath again. As you can see we were very pleased with our effort. Later in the evening we learnt that our times were just about 35 minutes, which is great considering that we are NOT adement runners and that we walked, however briskly, about 1 of the 5 km! The fact that we were among the 10 last to finish is not relevant, as we did our best, and we had fun doing it. (We laught and joked most of the way)
We also had a very encouraging message from our group leader, who congratulated us on finishing the race, and giving the scouts good publicity. This was just a test run, and we hope that we next year can encourage more scouts of all ages to join in.