Yesterday I took part in my first WR10K race series event, in support of this years headline charity the Alzheimer’s Society. I was running for my Dad, Gordon, who is 81 years old and suffering from this debilitating, devastating and heartbreaking disease.
This was the first mass-participant race I’d entered for years, and I mean years and now having experienced the day first hand, I am so glad that I stopped just talking about it and actually made the effort to do it.
The race took part at the beautiful Willen Lake in Milton Keynes, known for its water sports, and beautiful scenery, not that I actually took in much of my surroundings as I made my way around the course, but for the spectators it helped to make the day even more enjoyable.
I actually chose to run the 5k race as I haven’t done any running since my teens, I am now 44! I’m also ashamed to say, that I didn’t actually do any proper training either, what with things taking a turn for the worse with my Dad, planning a future move to France and starting a new business there never seemed enough hours in the day!
Thankfully there was a warm-up session beforehand which had us all limbering up, jigging about and generally having fun. This not only helped to relax our muscles, but also helped quell a few nerves that had begun to flitter about in the pit of my stomach at the thought of running 3.1 miles with no training at all!
Once under way I was swept along by the overwhelming feeling of camaraderie. Several hundred women all of different shapes and sizes, ages and abilities running for their own personal reasons but together on the day. It was powerful and moving experience.
The course was mercifully flat, one lap of the beautiful lake, two for the 10k runners. The atmosphere was amazing, provoking so many different emotions for so many different people, many there, as I, to support members of their family or friends suffering from Alzheimer’s, others in memory of loved ones and some just through their love of running.
I was also amazed at how easily my competitive spirit and past running ability came back. Having started right at the back behind the very last pacer (for people who thought they would like to walk as well as run their chosen distance) I fell into an easy rhythm and slowly but surely made my way through the runners at a steady but reasonable pace. Every time my chest felt like it was going to burst or my knees were going to buckle, I just kept repeating, “This is for you Dad, this is for you”.
My Dad, Gordon, is currently in Stoke Mandeville Hospital being cared for by an amazing team of nursing staff. He was taken in two weeks ago by ambulance, this in its self was a traumatic experience, as Dad didn’t understand he was ill and couldn’t understand why he was being taken away. For my Mum, Val, who has spent every hour of every day caring for Dad whilst slowly having to watch her husband of 50 years slip away, it was a truly devastating, traumatic and heartbreaking ordeal.
Every time I thought my legs would stop I focused my thoughts on Mum & Dad, this kept me going and spurred me on to finish in 6th place, in around 28 minutes (I am still awaiting the official time), but whatever the time, I can honestly say I had a great day.
I met some great people, fellow runners, staff from the Alzheimer’s Society and from the Women’s Running 10k Race Series all of whom were enjoying the day as much as I.
I really can’t recommend an event such as this highly enough, it was fun, it was good for your body and your sole, it caters for all abilities from novice to pro, from young to old, the oldest runner yesterday was 70! I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny Sunday than with so many people united in sport, for charity, for fitness and best of all for fun!
If you would like to take part in a future event you will find all the info you need at www.womensrunninguk.co.uk
And if you are looking for a charity to run for, then please, think about choosing www.alzheimers.org.uk you will be helping thousands of people like my parents who have had their lives literally blown apart by dementia.
Thank you for reading my story.
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