OK, hands up, I’ve got an admission which will be like swearing to many runners – I seem to have mislaid my competitive spirit. It was definitely there last year – I cared about PBs, I wanted to do the best I could in every race, I’d try to estimate from behind whether other women were in my age category (complaint: it’s impossible to age you superfit runners from the front, let alone from the rear) and if so try to catch them – but this year it’s gone. And to misquote REM, it’s not the end of the world and I feel fine.

I was never particularly competitive. I’ve troubled a few podiums on the really long stuff and I’m very proud of the few trophies I’ve won. I’m a pretty average runner and I do ok on my day. But I never felt the ‘grr, bring it on, smackdown with my fellow runners’ thing, unless they were particularly annoying/not wearing proper running shoes. Instead I was very competitive with myself. I wanted to do the best I could do, I wanted to push myself, to beat last year’s time, to do x minute miles, to feel like I’d left everything on the course, I was an occasional puker. But I’ve always really hated the ‘being competitive with friends/club mates’ thing – that was never me. One of the reasons I like running ultras and 24 hour races is the feeling that you’re all in it together. There’s a mutual respect that you’re all doing something quite hard and you’re much more likely to have a nice chat and help each other along than to try to crush your opposition. And if you end up finishing in the top three then that’s what you deserved on the day and other runners are likely to be happy for you.

Read full article at Run247.