1. Just in case you’re running a marathon and you get overtaken by some gorgeous celebrity like James Cracknell and as you look at him as he speeds past you can flutter your eyelashes (pretending you always run this fast and have LOADS of breath to shout ‘Go James!’) cos now you’re BEST friends (well, if you run in the same race as a celebrity you’re nearly BFFs aren’t you?).
2. So that when you pull that face during a race that you’re finding really hard, the one where you’re trying to make it look like you’re just out for a jog and are finding the pace really easy – well at least you’ve got some definition around the eyes for the pics you’ll put up later on social media.
3. That point in the race. You know it – when you’re cruising and starting to think I can do this, I can, I can, well, now I’m not so sure, in fact now I’m really struggling with every fricking step, and a man in his 60s-70s pulls up alongside you and takes pity as he can see you’re struggling and that you’re the one who thought you could run faster than you actually can. When he starts chatting you up as he’s cruising and has nothing better to do than have a full blown conversation all the way round a really long race as he’s so ridiculously race fit even though he’s twice your age, and even though you haven’t got the breath to reply you can at least smile desperately through your beautifully made up eyes your thank you for his support (cos you know he’ll stick with you till the bitter end – he’s a pro, you’re the amateur).
4. We live in England. Half the year it’s dark. We all take on a pasty vampire look. If swooshing a bit of glamour glow lifts your spirits before a race, and makes you look more alive then dead, do it.
5. Because when you go out to get a PB you just gotta look your best, you put on that makeup girl, you’re going to look fantastic in that pic as you look up at the camera with your arms raised at you cross the line… oh no, the race hasn’t gone to plan and you went off WAY too fast, AGAIN, even though you PROMISED yourself you would never, ever make that mistake, and now here’s the line, I’m a state, my body isn’t doing what I want and those stomach cramps are getting really bad, nooooo, I’m going to throw up and cry at the same time – yes it’s a *cr-vomit* – oh God I forgot about the camera, damn, it got me, snot, tears and vomit – but did my mascara run? No? Really? Ah well, it was all worth it…
6. Cos when you were younger, hell, you didn’t need one drop of make-up you were just so gorgeous, and you knew it, then you’re training away and 15 – yes 15 years have just disappeared and now when you catch the first glimpse of yourself in the mirror you’re initial reaction is, who the hell is that really tired old looking woman, then you realize it’s you and while for years you thought if you just got more sleep you’d stop looking so tired, now you are reconciled to the fact that you don’t look tired, you look OLDER. Which is truly horrifying. How can this have happened to me? So you go out and spend £200 on products that you think will undo this damage (even though they can’t) and you put on the concealer for the under-eye wrinkles AND dark circles, and do not one, but two applications of mascara in the hope that no one will say… ‘You’re looking really tired today.’ Again. And you go out with this temporary mask on and in your head you feel just like you did when you were 20 and had energy and got lie-ins and more than two minutes to get your kit and bag ready for a race – and you go out and you believe in yourself for the duration of your race. And no one can take that feeling away from you, but some really rather expensive fluids that work out at about £5,000 per gram, if cleverly applied THEY can give you it. For 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon… And that feeling, it helps you to step back into your life, when you get home from your race, like someone from Ghostbusters with the ability to deflect the 50 requests you get in the first five minutes for food, for something to do, to tell off a sibling who hit someone else and the ambulance nearly had to be called. Even though you got up at 5am to travel, run a marathon, and you came straight home so you can get the roast dinner on and help everyone with their homework (because your 16-year-old is swinging off your umbilical cord, even when you’re 40 miles away, and your nearly 14-year-old wants you to come up with all the answers and she knows exactly how to get you to do this even though you say I’m not doing your homework for you then 30 minutes later you realise you’ve done it), as why would anyone want to rest after a marathon anyway?
7. You are a warrior princess. Never forget this. As you put on your kit before your race and your nerves give you caterpillars and butterflies in your stomach, get out whatever make-up you need and apply it. You are now battle-ready. This is your war paint. You are going to do battle with your body (this could mean losing control of different parts at different times and never knowing which part and when), your mind (you will be pounding the voices in your head every step as well as the ground beneath you) and the world. That world that laughed when you tried to run at school. Or told you you’d never lose your baby weight. Or you couldn’t possibly run 26.2 because you’re not a real runner. Or sighs every time you put on your trainers and say you’re going out for a run, as if it’s some crazy teenage phase you’ll grow out of soon. Put on your paint and show them YOU CAN – and actually, I don’t mind if I look good while I do.
Remember, she who dares…runs.