The Woodbridge 10k may be demanding (who knew a county as flat as Suffolk could have so many inclines?) but the residents and businesses of the town sure now how to put on a spirited event which makes you proud to be taking part.
Let me go on record to thank the saintly man who sprayed water all over me as I was hauling my way uphill on the second leg, and the many people whose eyesight must have been razor sharp such that they could read my name on my bib and give me a cheer.
Anyway, with that sporting effort still fresh in my brain, it got me thinking about what an insight into human behaviour a so-called ‘friendly’ race of that nature can be.
There we all stand at the start, jostling for a position, weighing up those around us, wondering which of us is fitter, faster, better trained, better rested – or just better humoured, to run the race of their life.
And I guess you could say, we do that in life – and certainly when it comes to business – too.
I know I do.
I’m forever looking around at those aside me, those seemingly so much farther ahead of me, and those snapping at my heels with their sights on the finishing line.
I’m forever wondering which of them I should fear, which has more superior skills, wisdom, resilience, and which I’m most alike.
It’s not that comparing, contrasting and noting the opposition is ever necessarily a bad thing in life…but it has the potential to be.
I mean, even without the unhelpful mid-race distractions of worrying about another runner’s tactics, there’s the potential to be thrown off course by the unexpected we face in life (or, in the race, like the poor guy in front of me who appeared to lose his footing at the sight of a woman breast-feeding).
So, the thing is, we’re all in this race. We’re all trying to do our best, to achieve, to be understood, and maybe even to come out with the odd ‘reward’ along the route.
But worrying too much about another’s person’s race can only ever rob you of the fuel in the tank to race your own.
If you look at in the context of business in particular, Lord knows there’s enough work and opportunity out there for us all to achieve the odd medal or sporting triumph.
And goodness knows, we get more in the end by working collaboratively and ‘sharing a space in the run’ with those sizing up for their own race – than we ever do by tripping up competitors or refusing to enter in the first place.
As my friend said just as I was wandering up anxiously to the start line on that gloriously hot day: “It’s a beautiful sunny day and you can only own ‘your race’. Enjoy it. It’s over quick enough.”