Forest Hills 10km – Lessons from a novice

by Joanne Parker

The thing I love about running is that it is convenient. I can walk out of my door and start running, and it costs me nothing but a pair of shoes! Why then, would I choose to pay money to wake up at the crack of dawn, drive half an hour to stand in the cold with hundreds of people to run? This was always my response when people asked if I was doing the upcoming race, and it was always met with a sideways glance.

However, over the last 14 months, Stella Athletic Club has taken me from not being able to run 500m, to running 12km comfortably, so when Dave suggested that the ‘newbies’ come up to Forest Hills for a bit of ‘gees’, I felt I should show some support and represent Stella at the race. My very first race.

People always told me they entered races for the atmosphere and to push themselves, but what I got from the race was much simpler.

  • I learnt what my Athletics SA number is;
  • I set up my TomTom watch that had been sitting on my table for two months;
  • I learnt how to cover my Athletics SA number with my race number to only show the logos;
  • I learnt that 6m30s multiplied by ten is not, in fact, 63 minutes;
  • I got a Stella kit;
  • I got to experience running past a water table and grabbing a sachet of water as if I was in for a top ten place at comrades; and
  • Of course, I got my (first ever) personal best!

I’m sure that one day soon I will appreciate the atmosphere and know what it feels like to improve my time race after race, but for now, what I got from the Forest Hills 10 was far more valuable to me as a newbie. Supa Mama Savages Challenge 21km: I come prepared.

Thanks to Stella for making running so accessible to non-athletes like me. Special thanks to Dawn, who got me through the worst of it (my first 5km); to Sandy (for getting me to, and past the 10km point), and Louise for the constant support and advice.


Stella Stars celebrating at the end of Forest Hills 10km


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