Headcorn Half-Marathon – Running for Parkinson’s UK
On Sunday 25 February myself and 12 other colleagues made our way to Headcorn, to take part in a half-marathon in support of Parkinson’s UK. The day was clear, with the sun shining; a crisp blue sky, the temperature struggling to get higher that 1 or 2 degrees and a cold wind blowing. I did not have a great deal of sleep the night before; I was very nervous, as I had never done anything like this before and I was terrified of letting our team down. In the build-up to the race, many people asked me if I had a time in mind to complete the dreaded 13.1 miles. I didn’t! I just hoped I could finish in a decent enough time, before all spectators had gone home. I knew I had prepared fairly well and even covered the distance in a training session, but the thought of being surrounded by ‘elite’ athletes and making a ‘spectacle’ of myself totally petrified me.
On the day, it was lovely to meet with my colleagues and fellow runners, to have a chat and a little warm up together; commenting on the cold and wind and wishing each other luck with the intention to be all together at the end. The race was tough. I was really cold, despite the many layers and a double pair of gloves and at some stretches, a cold headwind made me feel as if I wasn’t even moving and my lungs ached. But I knew I was not going to give up, that I was running for a very worthy cause and I surely wasn’t going to be the one to let everyone down. In those hard moments, I was thinking about the relentless battles that people affected by Parkinson’s face every day and I couldn’t find any excuse for me to give up on the insignificant battle I was fighting. I kept running ‘using’ two other runners whom I had never met before (who kept looking at me quizzically!) to pace me. I crossed the finishing line in a very respectable time, that actually made me even complement myself (which I don’t tend to do very often). My colleagues also made it to the end and all did well; we gathered for a final photo together and parted our ways for a long hot shower!
On the drive home, I kept thinking about how humbling and amazing this experience had been. Having been part of a team, that has raised over £3000 for Parkinson’s UK, makes me feel extremely proud and happy. I was overwhelmed by the incredible support we had from colleagues, friends, students and parents - making all this even the more worthwhile. Would I do it again? Certainly! What can be more rewarding than feeling the camaraderie of being part of a team, facing a challenge, winning a battle, while raising money for charity?
Thank you to all who have supported us and to those who have encouraged me and believed that I would have done well. They probably know me better than I know myself! So, as we embark upon the theme for the week of ‘Be Inquiring About Sport, Health and the Environment’, how about thinking of your involvement in sport and how you could get involved?
Associate Assistant Head