Shots. Small innocent looking beakers of evil. I rarely start a night out with a shot of alcohol… they tend to come later on when poor decision making and tequila unite to override my brain. Subsequently, I don’t often start my runs with a shot of alcohol. If you do then you probably have some form of drinking problem and your mum needs to have a stern word with you. Seriously. However, last week I found myself knocking back prosecco both before and after a run and a yoga session at that.
I took part in Glöanna in Battersea Park, a 5km run followed by a group yoga session, all sponsored by Sweaty Betty. When I’ve participated in organized runs before there’s an air of competition, focus and nerves. Runners are there to compete against other runners, their own PB, or that little indignant voice in your head that’s insisting you go home and don’t do anything this stupid ever again. There are fuel belts, charity vests and fancy dress, bits of kit I can’t even begin to imagine the purpose of, and a mix of scathing and terrified glances. Not so for Glöanna. In place of the Lara Croft functionality of the ‘serious’ runners and Little Britain comedy of those in it for a good time and a good cause, there was lycra, logos and lots of prosecco. Everybody was dressed in the athletic equivalent to their Sunday best and everybody was smiling, ready to have a good time.
Instead of a number you had your name prefixed with Glö and instead of race marshals there were representatives giving out high fives. Exercise wasn’t the main goal and even seemed incidental to a good time whereas normally these two activites seem mutually exclusive. I’m not especially talented in the yoga department but in the beautiful setting of Battersea Park and in the spirit of the event it didn’t really seem to matter.
Normally your entry fee pays for infrastructures etc. and from this you get back a medal or t-shirt and an amazing sense of satisfaction. One of the few things I prefer to a sense of satisfaction is a goody bag. And this was a great goody bag. All participants got prosecco and a Sushi brunch, as well as Vita Coco coconut water, Bounce balls, a Whole Foods bag of watermelon and bananas, Wheyhey protein ice cream and a bag of Sweaty Betty goodies.
The premise of Glöanna is that exercise should be fun. When you’re in the mindset of wanting to lose weight or training to meet a goal it’s hard not to become obsessively competitive with yourself, let alone other people, and having fun seems a low priority. Beyond the freebies and goody bag the reason I enjoyed Glöanna so much was because it took away this edge and was about pure enjoyment.
I had a fantastic morning and couldn’t encourage anybody who doesn’t mind breaking a little sweat for a big reward to get involved the next time it comes around.