Sport Relief: Proud Dad Moment

It was Sport Relief weekend last week, so I registered the family in for the Sport Relief mile in Broughton Astley, a village (town?) near us.

Two years ago I did the 6 mile run but this time it was on a Sunday afternoon so presented a good opportunity to get the girls involved.  Due to the rest I’ve taken for my shin splints, in the end I stepped up as chief supporter and coat carrier for the family.  Mrs G and the girls were accompanied by my brother-in-law and his kids too so it turned in to a right old family event.

The kids got stuck in to the warm up, which was well needed with a cold northerly wind blowing across the recreation ground where the race was being held.  I’m sure some of the adults were getting worn out whist the warm up instructor cajoled them in to action but the little ones loved it and joined in whole heartedly!

As they lined up to get started the sun shone and I took position to watch them sprint out at the start of their first lap.  My eldest and her cousin flew past me like Usain Bolt and I was certain that they’d both be burnt out after 50 yards, but with a cheer and a wave they were off.  Mrs G set off with our youngest at a slightly more conservative pace and I settled down on a park bench with my cup of tea.

Fast Hands

Fast Hands

It wasn’t long before the first pair passed by my seat and then I could see my daughter making her way towards me.  I gave her a shout and a cheer from afar and saw her pick up her pace, get her fast hands moving and grin from ear-to-ear as she sprinted over towards me.  She was bouncing along nicely, really relaxed and enjoying herself so set of on her second lap without delay.  Her cousin was soon along too and there was a little delay as I waited for the others.  Runners of all shapes and sizes came and went, each of them getting a generous cheer and a clap.  When Mrs G and number 2 came through I wasn’t sure if the little one was going to carry on, but she’s a determined little soul and was clearly going to finish what she had started.

In what seemed like no time, Isla was coming back around to complete her second lap.  She still looked fresh and sprinted the last 100 yards, only hesitating to check what to do as she crossed the finish line.  As she grinned through the finish I was overwhelmed how she was so calm and comfortable.   She strolled in to the finish tent, collected her medal and a bottle of water, thanking the helpers as she went, before getting a bear hug from me and kissed on her rosy red cheeks!

Her cousin came through next and his cheeks were just as flushed as he carried his fleece in his his hands across the line.  Then came Paul and my little niece before Mrs G and the little one jogged/walked in to sight.  Apparently there had been a couple of delays when they stopped to pick daisies for grandparents, but other than that they’d kept moving all the time!

A few photo’s followed with the (now standard) pose of the kids biting their medals.   We were soon all reminded that the wind was still whistling across the rec, so hastily beat a retreat to the cars so we could get back home and resume our lazy Sunday afternoons!

Sorry you’re not in

That was the message on the front of the magazine that landed on my doorstep this week.

It was from the organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon and it is quite a nice way to be told bad news.  Obviously, I didn’t even open the cellophane before slinging it in the bin in dismay.

To be honest, when I found out that my brother-in-law had been unsuccessful in the ballot too, I wasn’t overly disappointed to miss out.  (Well, at least when I got over the indignity of being rejected!).  The biggest appeal to me was for the event to be a big family day out to once again celebrate the fantastic event.  I’d have been happy if Matt had got in because I could have taken the kids down and had a terrific time supporting him to complete such a great challenge.

So we have quickly returned to the drawing board and Paris is an attractive option.  Me and Mrs G love the city and the prospect of doing the marathon would be great …. but would start to get pricey with hotels and travel on top of the 100 Euro entry fee.  It remains a good second option but this evenings thinking is that the Brighton Marathon becomes Plan A.  It looks like there may still be plenty of charity places left but Heart UK, which is my usual charity, is not represented.  But I think a different charity has found me this time.

A few years ago, my best mate committed suicide.  It was completely out of the blue and he left a beautiful young family behind.  I don’t feel like I have ever dealt with what happened, I’ll never understand it, and I don’t think anybody else will.  I have learnt that people carrying a mental illness aren’t always as easily identifiable as people with other illnesses.  You can never truly tell what is going on in someones head.   But there is work that can be done to raise awareness and provide support for people struggling to cope with any worries that are getting difficult to deal with.  The moment I saw that Mind was on the charity list, I felt the rush of emotion that I’d need to train and complete another marathon.

I’ll give it another day or two to sink in and make sure that any decision I make is the right one.  But as it stands, maybe missing London will be a good thing and, perhaps I’ll be doing the Brighton Marathon for my friend and his family.