It’s finally race day at last! The ‘Run For The Future’ is on and I have reached full circle in my quest for fitness all in a good cause. Having spent the last 48 hours furiously collecting sponsors for the run and bumping up the potential funds for research into prostate cancer, my attention has shifted substantially from the self-motivated need for improvement on aesthetics to the genuine cause of helping to save men’s lives throughout the UK. The former appears completely insignificant when set against the latter cause.
My priority on this day is to win for the charity and not let anyone down. So after a nervous and fitful sleep (accompanied by very odd dreams) I rise at 8 to start preparation. Good healthy cereal to start; a bit of fruit and lots of water (now affectionately known as my ‘Maccy plan’- named after a good friend’s advice). Before I know it, it’s time to leave the house and make my ‘warm up’ trek to the event site. I feel a bit of a ‘narna’ jogging up the hill in my special t-shirt with pinned- on number and message, custom made for the day, but it’s all in a good cause.
On site, there is already an array of ages, shapes, sizes and personalities waiting and warming up for the 5k run. At one point the Tannoy announces that the youngest runner is 7 and the oldest is 85; quite an age range. There is a stage with local Radio station DJ’s whooping up the crowds, there are sports and health stands surrounding us and various offers of assistance in any way to make the whole experience a good one for all kinds of runners. I am amazed. As a first timer I didn’t think it would be anything like this – it’s so exciting! There’s plenty of motivational upbeat music around, field marshals, police, paramedics, barriers to keep traffic away for the duration of the run and wall to wall reminders of why we are here. Every back has a message or a photo dedicated to a loved one who’s suffering or died as a result of prostate cancer.
Our regional news reader takes to the stage and ups the ‘anti’ even more by relating how her own dad died of this disease only eight weeks ago. Everyone is solemn and a minutes silence is held in honour of sufferers. Shortly afterwards I’m offered a full leg massage as a starting warm-up point… I accept with both legs, gratefully!
Within minutes, it seems, the fitness team from Bannatynes has taken to the stage and they are bouncing us all around energetically to heavy-beat chart music. Everyone is smiling widely and there’s a huge sense of anticipation and team membership amongst the 750 or so runners. We’re shaken up, down, to the left and the right, I’m panicking about my i-pod and drinks bottle which I’ve temporarily put down on the grass….every time that man in front steps to the right, he’s an inch closer to stampeding all over my Lady Gaga!
Frenzied warm up complete, the announcers shout over the mic for the mayor to take position at the starting line. He’s not running, just lost in the crowd somewhere and they have to call him back to cut the red starting tape!
The participants are duly spilt up into groups of ‘runners’ and walkers’. JJ and I head for the runners’ group and walk excitedly towards a gigantic inflatable ‘start’ gantry towering over the road and field in front of us. Everyone’s excited and in place, the hooter goes and we’re off!! I can’t quite believe it as we start running and are caught up in a huge crowd of stamping feet and laughing, chattering fundraisers. The atmosphere is electric and carries us along effortlessly for the first kilometre or so. Half way along, JJ strikes a look of sheer surprise, stating “did you see that? We just overtook someone!!!”. I’m laughing so much I can hardly keep running. Our triumph is short lived as my fit of giggles has slowed us down to a trot and we’re by-passed swiftly by an elderly gent jogging in brown socks and loafers. This sets me off again! Now we’re almost in a convulsed crawl for around 100metres.
Gradually we build back up to speed and recover our position around midway in the ‘runners’ section. Things are going well and we’re ahead of our timings. Wonderfully, we discover that at every half kilometre there’s a marshal clapping us on and shouting encouragement to anyone who looks like they’re flagging. Hundreds of family members line the route and clap, shout, wave and take photos as all runners continue past in various stages of tiredness.
The main part of the route is thankfully sunny and a good temperature, but all of a sudden, a huge black cloud appears from nowhere and the heavens open. At first, JJ and I are grateful as we’re so hot and thirsty. I run along trying to catch some rain to drink for a minute or two. But then the driving cold winds accompany the rain and for the last kilometre it feels a tad unpleasant to say the least. Just as I start to think things are getting too tough, I see the huge blue ‘finish’ gantry across the road and even better, my family are waiting there waving and clapping.. the kids are calling me and going crazy. Blood sugar levels have to take a back seat at a time like this and I race with JJ towards the finish line! We did it!! Neither JJ or I can believe it. 39 minutes and 10 seconds- we beat the record AND raised the money for research. Job done!! Now……”where’s the next 10k charity event?” we wonder..
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