No boys allowed in Richmond Park’s WomenOnly Run

Around 1,300 women put themselves to the test in the WomenOnly run in Richmond Park last Saturday, many of them first-time runners.

The run, which was organised by Human Race, had two distance options of 5 and 10 kilometres, as well as the opportunity to run with a buggy. The 5km runners set off at 10am, with the 10km runners following shortly after at 10:15am.

Aruna Verma, who took part in the 5km run with her cousin Anita Claire, was ecstatic to have crossed the finish line. “I feel great!” She said. “I was nervous at the start because I had never run that distance before, not even in training. The first kilometre was really hard, but after that your legs just take over.”

First to cross the finish line in the 5km race was Sue Smith, with a time of 20:10. She was shortly followed by Nicky Hornzee (20:20) and Vanessa Kettner (20:22). Helen Ward was first to complete the 10km option, finishing in 39:04, with Gemma Farrell (39:47) and Lisa Rooney (40:50) taking second and third place respectively.

All competitors were greeted at the finish line by British Olympic athlete Margaret Adeoye, who presented them with a medal for completing the race. Adeoye is a 200m runner and competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games, reaching the 200m semi-finals.

In the finish area, where competitors could relax with complimentary refreshments and a yoga session from YogaLondon, there was an atmosphere of elation as everyone celebrated their achievements.

Courtenay Norbury, who ran with a group of friends and colleagues from the Psychology department at Royal Holloway University, said that although the group had been training together since January, they each knew their own pace and had not tried to run together during the race.

“Some of us are really quick, some are really slow, but we all enjoy it.” Courtenay laughed, admitting that she and running partner Erin Hawkins usually bring up the rear. The whole group agreed that it had been an enjoyable experience and that they were looking for their next challenge.

“I would do it again.” Fran Ainsworth, another of the Royal Holloway runners, said. “I never thought I would say that, but I would!”

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