As I stood on the start line of the London 10 Mile this morning waiting for my wave to be set off, I started to think how I might word my Just Giving update after the race. I might discuss how I have been finding it difficult to fit in training when my husband is working away a lot, the sickness bug I had 10 days ago, or the general challenge of heading out to run either before, or after, a long day entertaining an under 1.
As I passed the mile 2 marker I realised that my post should in no way focus on any of those things, because how I got there, and how fast I ran today are not the things that made it special. Before the start of the race we heard from the founder of Park Run, Paul Sinton-Hewitt. He talked about his reasons for starting up Park Run, which were simple, he wanted to spend his Saturday mornings with friendly runners. It started right here on my doorstep in London’s Bushy Park with 13 amateur runners. 10 years later there are 543 park runs worldwide and a 1,000,000 strong Park Run community. What’s even more impressive is that all these Park Runs have volunteers at their core with only 23 paid staff.
The London 10 Mile was a wonderful event, and like Park Run the volunteers are what I will remember, not my finishing time. There were those dressed as Robin Hood and the six grown men dressed as squirrels, a few couldn’t resist stopping for a selfie with these guys. The 3 piece Mexican band, the 4 dressed as Henry the VIII (I tried to give you my best running bow). To the tree surgeons cheering us on from above, how very novel. To all the pacers for giving their run to help others. Of course, as a new-ish Mummy I have to mention all the little ones, dressed as superheroes or just offering up a high-5, I did my best to thank you all. I also loved the Fact Boards dotted around the course, I did not know that Richmond Park has 130,000 tress of that there are as many as 650 wild deer living there.
This may have been a training race for a slightly bigger run in 6 weeks time but it was a fabulous event made so by wonderful volunteers and spectators. Like most runners I run for many reasons. For my physical and mental health, to relax, to switch off, and to be part of this amazing community that connects so many from all walks of life.