This event takes place on the first Sunday in May all around the world.  Over 120,00 people took part in the event this year which starts at exactly the same time wherever you are.  People in Sydney are running in the dark, some are running as the light fades, some see the sunrise and in Kidsgrove, it’s a bit dull but high noon.  I was taking part in the App Run – I wore my free event t-shirt and a proper number and an app on my phone, all I had to do was press the button and start running.  Then, after half an hour a virtual car would start , the car speed increases every half an hour and when the car catches you that’s it, the phone beeps and your “race” is over.

The event raises money for the Wings for Life Charity which funds Spinal Cord Injury Research and was started by the founder of Red Bull.  So, I started from Kidsgrove in order to run past the Red Bull pub which seemed like the best place in Staffordshire to start and then headed into Cheshire along the Trent and Mersey canal.  I had a target of 8 miles before getting caught, the only problem was it was last July when I ran that far.  My secondary plan was to run a mile, walk for a bit, run another mile… and see how I got on, but the main plan was to enjoy it.

I started off ok, I had my mum and sister positioned after a couple of miles to give me some support but when I saw them I was already worried that I might have gone too fast.  Several months of steady running meant that trying to go faster was a bit of a shock.  The app notifies you after each mile but after 6 miles it all went wrong.  The screen which shows how far behind the car is had disappeared and I thought I must have closed the app and stopped my run being recorded.  I had no choice but to carry on as my car was still at least 2 miles away so slowed down, sulked a bit and then thought that I would ditch the walks after each mile and just try and run eight miles.

There is a radio station on the app so I put that on, unsure if I was out of the event but it said that the catcher car was at a distance which was still behind me I thought that I might as well carry on.  The radio presenters keep going between all the locations where the main events are taking place and so I knew what was happening in Vienna and Munich, I knew who was in the lead worldwide and I knew that I had got further than half the contestants.  Even thought there was just me on the canal I really did feel part of a global event, even if I looked a bit odd running along with my phone in my hand.

I reached 8 miles after my fastest mile of the run so far and thought would try and do 9 as there was still no sign of my car!  By this time my arms were aching quite a lot and my legs were reminding me that they were not used to this.  And then at 9 miles, I got to my car, and I got to the second problem.  I had previously done three runs along the canal starting from different points but I was now further than I had been before and the towpath was closed….So, wondering whether to just call it a day and get in my car or turn around and run back the way I had came I did the sensible thing, and turned around.

I managed one more mile before my phone beeped at me and the screen changed to tell me I had been caught.  In the global results I finished in the top 25,000 and was just over 5000th woman.  I was so pleased with 10 miles, all from running at a steady pace watching my heart rate doesn’t go too high and my aim next year is to run for 2 hours, which means I would get about 14 miles.  However, the real purpose of the event is to raise funds and awareness for people that can’t run or walk a step because of spinal cord injury.  I am lucky that I can walk and run and taking part in this event meant that I could give a little bit back by running for those that can’t.


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