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The 2016 Run For Life

June 27th 2016

women set off

Women set off along Mercer Row

a penguin

A penguin

crayola

A Crayola walks beside an Oompa Loompa

winner of the women's race

Winner of the women's race

second place

The second placed runner in the women's race

Jill Makinson-Sanders

Cllr Jill Makinson-Sanders

competitors returning

Competitors returning

pet owners walking dogs

Dog walkers raised funds

Ladies competed in wheelchairs

Some ladies completed the course in wheelchairs

Men set off

Men running along Mercer Row

a pirate

A pirate

riding an ostrich

Riding an ostrich

this man walked backwards

Walking the whole route backwards

first place runner

The winner of the men's race

second place runner

This man came second in the men's race

medal

The 2016 medal

In 2015, the annual Run For Life in Louth raised 50,000 for Cancer Research UK. 2016's event took place on Sunday, 26th June and started in the town centre with races for children under 12, women, and then men.

There was some drama after the children's race when a fire broke out in a location in the Cornmarket and two fire engines arrived to deal with it. This meant that the women's race was delayed by 10 minutes, but fortunately the fire service soon had it under control.

The women's race was well attended, with lots of people taking part and a slightly muddy course due to earlier rain. There were people walking dogs, pushing pushchairs, wearing costumes, running, jogging, walking, and even carrying babies. One of the best things about the Run For Life is how inclusive it can be, and how much of a sense of community there is in taking part.

I was one of the people mostly walking around the 5km course. Quote of the day goes to my nephew, Harry Jackson, who asked "Why is Auntie Ros running with a pillow stuffed up her T-shirt?" The diet starts tomorrow.*

The men's race was a much, much smaller affair. Aside from a handful of guys in costume and one man walking the route backwards, it seemed to be made up almost entirely of serious competitors aiming to finish quickly. It's quite a few years since the race moved from being purely a women's race to having categories for both men and women, so the excuse that men don't know they can compete is no longer valid. So where were all of the male walkers? This lack of men taking part is something that happens every year, and it's a real shame. By contrast, in the women's race there were so many walkers, as well as serious runners, that it was hard to get anywhere without having to weave in and out of other joggers and walkers.

What I think is going on is men won't compete if they don't think they will win, whereas for women there's no such inhibition. It's a case of macho culture hurting men. It seems to me that it would take a man a lot more courage to go against society's expectations to the extent of walking in a fun run, which isn't necessarily all about winning in any case, and to take that risk of coming last. In which case, it's time to slap society's wrist and tell it to get a grip and stop being such a killjoy.

Why is it okay for men to feel unable to run in public unless they're already super-fit? It's absurd. My sincere hope for the 2017 event is that we'll see more men taking part, at all levels of fitness, and whether or not they're packing extra pillows.

Photos by Dave Hall.



*I'm not specifying what kind of diet.


 


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