Winners guilt

I don’t really win much.

I don’t really win ever.

It’s not through lack of effort, but occasionally a combination of my hardwork, determination, luck and good decisions pays off.

It’s nice that hardwork does occasionally pay off because I put a lot of faith in it – usually to my disappointment this has not been the case.  So the training 6 times a week was worth it.

To be a winner can be a combination of hardwork, luck and good decisions

Last year I was quite fortunate to win a 5k race, coming in just short of breaking into 19 minutes.

As I have invested time to becoming a long distance runner I never expected to win a race.  I am an average or above average runner at best and do not train as much as other runners.  My advantage has always been that I can make my mind override the suffering of the rest of my body.  Some people may call this determination.

This has helped me to run harder and improve my times and even during races where I am outclassed, my head keeps telling me to keep going to stay with the elite class.

Despite all this I never expected to be of ‘winning caliber’.

And then I came first, beating the rest of the field by a good two minutes.

The first thing I did when I won was to play down my success, luck came in as the race had been poorly promoted so there was not the usual running club crowd that had turned up.

The only reason I came to the race was because my brother knew the person who had ‘organised’ the race and thought I could help with the numbers.

So I was quite embarrassed by the photographer from the local press shoving a camera in my face.

I actually felt guilty because the race had been organised to make money for a disability charity and when I was surrounded by various runners with different disabilities – did I give them a chance?  No I ran as hard as I would normally.

My tactic was to run hard and this was a good decision as due to the quality of the field not many of them were experienced runners, so they did not know how to pace themselves.  The kids with learning disabilities did not understand this and treated me like the rabbit in a greyhound race.

As a result they exhausted themselves half way round.

My guilt stemmed from the fact that by running so hard I may have put them off running.

I talked to some friends who were members of running clubs about my experience.  Despite years of running competitively they had never won a race.

Their advice?

Just enjoy the experience

It’s funny for so long I had this inadequacy where I wanted to be the best and for my one moment in the limelight, I couldn’t help feel guilty.

To be honest I don’t want to always win as it kills my motivation, I enjoy the thrill of the chase – getting better times when I have a fast pace maker to lead me on.

So when I lead, I look round and see no competition, do I keep running hard?  No, and so I have no incentive to run faster.

Winning isn’t easy…

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