It’s been a while since I’ve felt the urge to write a blog about running, not because I’ve been sitting on the sofa, but more down to sparing anyone from reading my frustrated ramblings! Since the last one about surviving the bonkers 100km Race to the Stones, I’ve completed the Great North Run for the MS Trust in a course best time, walked the Athens Marathon and prepared to welcome in the New Year with a 10k in Barcelona. Doesn’t sound too bad, but after acquiring another random injury and missing out on Autumn’s events, positivity and humour have been in short supply!
So what’s changed? On Friday Joe and I attended the annual Ackworth Road Runners awards dinner; Joe’s been teasing me about not getting any trophies this year as I’ve spent half of it marshalling, but I can’t really blame him after ribbing him the first year we were members for not getting any awards when I did! Once again it was a lovely evening celebrating everyone’s achievements and I was very pleased to win a bottle of fizz in the raffle, joking I wasn’t going home empty-handed after all!
Towards the end of the presentations, presided over by comedy duo Chris and Stewart, our club Captains Ruth and Chris announced the introduction of two new awards. The first recipient of the Ladies Captain’s Award was someone who had suffered an injury this year, but persevered and completed their first marathon and ultra-marathon, as well as raising funds for their chosen charity by introducing the Summer Streak and selling the ARR bobble hats…. sound like anyone you know?
Yes, Ruth had decided that I was worthy of this great honour and I was over the moon, especially when the winner of the Men’s Captain’s trophy was announced as Superman Tom Camponi. Tom’s had a memorable year too, coming back from completing his first marathon and juggling a hectic home life and demanding job; it’s always great to see him at training and events. Another runner will forever be pleased that Tom was able to run the Pontefract Half Marathon this year, as Tom saved the man’s life when he suffered a cardiac arrest, along with Ackworth member, Kirsty Shepheard.
I may not have saved any lives in 2018, but the award has made me think differently about a year I was all too happy to put behind me. Yes, I’ve had a lot of set-backs, but the things that stopped me running allowed me to support and volunteer at more events, and as I’m usually nearer the back, it was great to cheer everyone over finish lines for a change! Spending more time in the gym doing strength work has definitely paid off too, as Race to the Stones demanded more in every sense.
I’ve learned a lot too by trying new things to help me return to fitness and manage living well with MS whilst training for greater distances. A real revelation was using the Jeff Galloway run-walk technique, enabling me to finish half marathon distances strongly, with plenty left in the tank for pulling silly faces, and making me think that a marathon in under 6 hours was a real possibility (even if I didn’t get to test the theory at Loch Ness!).
Raising awareness of the work that the MS Trust does will always be closely intertwined with our running challenges and it’s brilliant that we’re able to raise money for them too by selling the ARR bobble hats. Having my Mum’s help to make something that members want to own is a wonderful way to contribute to a charity that supports so many people. Since we started fundraising in 2015, we’ve raised over £22,000, enough to train 12 MS specialist nurses, with over £2400 of that from bobble hats alone. Thank you.
All this leads me to say how important the introduction of the Captains’ awards are. It shows that the people who don’t break the finishing tape have just as much to give to the club and are recognised and valued for their efforts. These are awards that any member can win by showing determination, compassion, resilience, and by doing the right thing. I couldn’t have achieved what I did without the support of a wonderful group of lycra-clad friends and I can’t wait to hear the stories of next years’ winners!