Well, the Big Race Day came and went…and hey, guess what, I can still walk unaided 😉
I just wanted to let you know how it went and to thank each and every one who sponsored us VERY MUCH for your generosity. Between me and Lesley we have raised over £700, plus I found out today that my employer will pay £300 in sponsorship as well – so we have raised over £1000 for cancer research! Very impressive – thank you to everyone who has supported us! And if anybody was waiting to see if we actually completed the race before they donated, it’s not too late! The sponsorship page is still open until the end of next week – so get those credit cards out! Any amount, however small will do…
Anyway, Sunday dawned beautifully sunny – hurrah! Collected my team mate Lesley & partner Roger from their place and headed for Maidstone. The traffic was awe-inspiring, so we were very glad when we got a lucky break and ended up being directed by a policeman right into Mote Park, to park within a hundred metres of the start. On the start there was just a mass of women – all ages, shapes, sizes etc etc – you name it! And everyone was wearing a back sign – a piece of paper you got in your race pack that said: “I race for life for…” with space for you to write a name or paste a picture). Some very moving ones. Mine and Lesley’s both said “Christelle 1975-2005” with a picture of her. While we were waiting for the start, they also asked the tons of people who had blue Race for Life helium balloons to release them and it was actually very affecting to see all these blue balloons floating into the sky, like letting go of loved ones.
Anyway, soon we were off and to our horror we realised that this was not a big flat park like Regents Park but a great big hilly one. However (and here’s the astounding bit!) running outside in the fresh air with springy green grass underfoot is… a lot more fun than running on the treadmill! And therefore a lot easier! We were really planning to walk most of it, but you just got such a spring in your step that you WANTED to run. EWe ended up running when it was flat or downhill and power walking uphill which worked really well – we could not believe it when they said we had covered 2km already! At the halfway mark, Nick, Roger and Donald (Christelle’s husband) waited for us and we saw them before they saw us so we could SPRINT towards them waving our arms and yelling like women possessed (a little self-promotion never hurt…) After exchanging rather breathless pleasantries, it was off again for the second half and we just sailed through. The last 500m is up a gentle hill and then into the final bit where, just like in a proper marathon, there is a fenced-off corridor that you run along towards the finish line with people standing all along and cheering you – so we SPRINTED along there and did a big finale, crossing the finish line holding hands and cheering like crazy. We finished in about 45 mins, which pleased us no end.
The amazing thing is a) how much we enjoyed it (being two self-professed non-runners) and b) how motivating it was to be part of such a tremendous fundraising effort. I will definitely be doing it again next year (only next year I will remember to bring and wear my flashing bunny ears!)
For those who are interested, take a peek at my Flickr photoset of pictures from the race day.