Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up

Posted 19:16 Friday 19 May 2017
Mark Saunders

Mark Saunders

About this blogger
Superhero run

I am not a runner. I always said I would never be one.

I am not a blogger. I always said I would never be one.

So signing up for a 10k run with the work crew, and then writing a blog about it would not have been a set of activities I would have put myself down for. (I like to be involved in extracurricular activities at MES – but these two have just never tickled my fancy!)

However, as we were made aware of a colleague’s family loss we decided that a good way to show support would be to come together, raise money for a related charity and take part in a 5 or 10k charity run. We were to run for Beating Bowel Cancer – a charity aiming to help raise awareness of bowel cancer and its symptoms, and to support those suffering from it. It was a great cause and one that we were all keen to do our best to raise money for. 

The running prowess of the group was approximately nil – we have a couple of part time joggers, but that really is the extent of our knowledge and ability. This was going to be a challenge – but one we were all determined to meet!

Half of MES signed up to the run – a remarkable fact considering firstly, as mentioned that most of us don’t ‘do’ running and secondly as we would be running in Regent’s Park – part of the London Super Hero Run on a Sunday morning dressed as Supermen and women.

For those keener bunnies, training started in earnest. Lunchtime ‘Run Club’ was established and departed MES HQ a couple of times a week, tracing a gruelling, hilly loop around Alexandra Palace. Rob’s sweaty and reddened face returning to the office at 2pm twice a week was enough to kick me into action and I started my own training routine round the streets of Enfield.

It was happening. I was keen, and keen to do well. I was becoming a runner. I boldly set myself a target of sub 50 minutes. Despite my lovely colleagues belittling my challenge, claiming my footballing activities kept me Mo-Farah-fit, I struggled.

My training runs were only successful when running with my wife – we were both determined not to give in first! Even then though, they were hard, and my legs didn’t like what I was asking them to do. I reduced my target to 60 minutes.

As the big day approached a few of us were nervously comparing training notes and I feared that I had not been doing enough. I reduced my target to just get around – hoping the crowd and event would spur me on further than I knew my legs would be willing to take me.

My preparation the day before consisted in going for a 5k run in the morning (a terrible idea) and consuming a couple of beers too many in the evening (a terrible idea). I had borrowed a friends’ GPS watch however which I would use to track my speed and progress (or lack thereof). I headed to Regent’s Park excited and nervous.

The event that had been put on looked fantastic. Over 2,000 runners were expected, all clad in fancy dress all running for their specific causes and charities. It was a great feeling to be a part of it – my family even popped down to lend support and jelly babies. Each of us had our own goals and targets. For some it would be a breeze, for others it would be one of the hardest challenges undertaken for a long while but all of us knew it was an opportunity to do a good thing and raise lots of money for a super cause. We changed into our Batpeople and Superpeople costumes and really looked the part!

I struggled through the first 5k. I ran with a friend who I started to drop away from at half way and faded to a brief walk. After picking myself up again I passed an unknown Wonder Woman whom had started to walk, and I encouraged to keep going. We kept going together and soon finished the 10k, high fiving spectators and egging each on. I finished on 53.51 which I was ecstatic about. It certainly made up for the sore calves

Andreas lead the team home through the 10k in 43 minutes. An astonishing time really. But no matter what the clock said when we ran, walked or crawled over the finish line on the day, we all did so with a smile on our face and a stomach aching with pride. We had all done it. We had faced up to our struggles and won, and more, we had raised £2,780 for Beating Bowel Cancer!

Running is not just about pain and cold dark nights. It is about friendship and comradery, charity and encouragement, and setting and reaching personal goals.

As you can probably tell from the above I am still not a blogger. But I just might, just might be starting to become a runner.

 

(if you would like to donate to the MES cause you can do so by clicking on this link)

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