ON THE PODIUM 

I won! Well, technically, not the whole race but just my category. And that's only because there were no others in my category!

But, hey, I was the first and only woman over 60 to run the gruelling Defi du Granon, a 12km race with over 1000m vertical because no other woman in my age group entered, although there were seven men over 60.

So why was I the only woman over 60? Because it's one of the toughest mountain races, the road (which is closed to traffic for two hours) rising steeply at a 1 in 10 incline from the official start of the cllimb to the top. You have to be crazy to do it.

But I found myself putting on trainers in the morning, a year after swearing never to do it again. Twelve months ago I made it to the top in what I thought was a not too shabby 2 hours 7 minutes. But out of the 60 runners, I was the last. The Defi du Granon is not like other races I've taken part in - the marathons, half marathons and 10ks, which all have a number of 'fun' runners, the dinasaurs, post boxes and men in tutus all waddling and bumbling up at the rear.

No the Defi du Granon is for serious running athletes, iron men/women, triathletes - and mountain goats.

But this year, maybe because it was slightly cooler as in around 25C rather than 30C, I managed to finish in 1 hour 53 minutes, amazingly 14 minutes faster. And, hurrah, I wasn't last. One guy came in 10 minutes after me. Dauntingly, though, the winner made it in 59 minutes and was half way back down by the time I made it to the top.

So there I was, the winner in my category on the podium, receiving a Serre Chevalier pottery bowl.

But, you know what, just putting on trainers and going out for a run, that's what makes us all winners.

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