The runners are facing the track. We are lined up at the starting line and we are waiting for the countdown. Who are we? We are the competitive runners of the Jingle Bells Race 2014. The countdown begins: 10,9,8…. For a moment, it feels as though time itself has stopped or as if everything is moving in slow-motion. Suddenly we hear the shout ‘GO’ and the spell is broken….
It was the last Thursday before the Christmas holiday and everyone was wearing the sports uniform. The event was called ‘Jinge Bells Fun Run’. Like most events here, any money earned will be donated to a charity. The event is mandatory for all students but you get to choose if you want to just walk, jog along at a leisurely pace or (as I did) run like hell and try to win the race.
I love running! I have already taken part in many competitive races both here in Ireland (Zombie Run) and back home in Switzerland. The rest of my class did not share my spirit of competition and they all picked walking or jogging.
The principal announced the race over the speaker system and we all had to assemble in an area near the start line. Another nice bonus: The planned chemistry test for the same day was cancelled. That’s what I call a ‘Win-Win’ situation. So I was already in a brilliant mood and ready for the race. Everyone had to wait in a very crowded area. Everyone except the competitive runners. Although I was the only one from my class to take part in the competitive race, there were quite a few from other classes. And they all looked well trained! We were allowed to wait directly behind the start line.
When I heard the word ‘GO’ I started running immediately. My heart rate quickly increased as my body prepared itself for the long run. The longest run I have ever taken part in, was a 12 km run in Switzerland. So I do have a bit of experience with distance running. But this run would only cover a distance of 5km. So I tried to run at a fast pace, with the goal of overtaking most other runners at the beginning of the race. I made it to second place, with only one other runner before me. From experience I know that you should never overtake the front runner early in the race. Why? Because then you would waste a lot of energy trying to keep your pole position. The best strategy is to wait until shortly before the finish line and the run as fast as you can and overtake your opponent at the last second so that he doesn’t have time to react.
So I stayed behind him at the same pace for the entire run at a distance of about five meters. After 4km we saw some teachers and they were cheering us on and they were telling us that the finish line was very close. So I increased my speed and ran like crazy and tried to overtake the front runner. However, he started sprinting as well and as we turned the next corner I realized that there was still a bit of distance before the finish line. I should have waited a bit longer! So I finished the race in second place overall but I was the first place for runners of my grade. The winner was an older student (sixth grade) who has won this race for several years in a row.
After the two of us had made it past the finish line, we waited for the third place runner to arrive. And we had to wait for quite some time! The first three runners got announced over the speaker system and we all received a 10 Euro voucher for the canteen.
By the way if any of you use twitter: This is my schools Twitter account.
The schools twitter account doesn’t have as many followers as my blog but you can’t win everything, can you?