It’s been 24 years since I applied for University but my headmaster’s words still loom large: ” If you’re going to get to university you must learn to say NO to the extra-curricular activities…..!”
Organising a fundraising Fun Run (try saying that after a sleepless night) is probably more “labour of love” than “extra-curricular activity” but after 9 months of planning, 4 year old twins starting school after a bout of chicken pox and sleep pattern graphs off the bottom of the chart, I do wonder if I should’ve listened more to my old headmaster.
Still, the run is to raise money for the Alderton Pre-school and Toddler Group that has played a big part in both my, my wife and my kid’s lives over the past 4 years and is a central part of the community I now call home. In short, it has earned my loyalty and support and as anyone with twins will agree, you can’t do it without help.
So, finally the day had arrived. Pre-race day entries were double last year’s so I was optimistic of a good field. The trophies had been engraved correctly (must check that before the day of the race next year!), the refreshments made (cake, cake and more cake), half-way point drinks station table in place (I’ll come back to this) and the kids treasure hunt set. What could go wrong……?
Well how was I to know the air horn to start the race had run out of air? Mad rush around for replacement horn or some new air (who would have though air would be so difficult to come by?) drew a blank. In the end a whistle my son had won/found/bought a few years ago came to the rescue. Good news, it was a great fun run starter whistle. Bad news, my son now has the high pitched noisy whistle we told him had been lost. I think the main reason it “disappeared” was our concern that the high pitch would bring any dog within barking distance to our doorstep.
So at 11.00am on Saturday, September 15th, armed with two newly purchased stopwatches in either hand, clip board under arm, whistle in mouth and eye trained nervously on passing Doberman I proudly set 74 runners, of all shapes and sizes, off down the 5K course.
As anyone who has run on the road will know the right thing to do is keep to the right hand side, running against the traffic. It was then an interesting battle of wills as a group of 74 runners still all grouped up and sprinting away not more than 200 yards from the starting line were met by an equally keen/stubborn group of 20+ weekend cyclists hurtling in the opposite direction on the same side of the road. As next year’s sky high event insurance premiums flashed before my eyes and with my heart skipping beats it was of some great relief that I saw the last few runners disappear through the sea of cyclists, all unhurt.
Now remember that table for the half way drinks station that had been put in place? Well when my wife got to the half-way point to man/woman the station the table had gone! Cue, panic phone call checking if she was at the right place? Had the half-way point changed this year? Does the field next to the gate at the half way point have a farmer in it?
As the first runners came back within sight I glanced nervously at the stop watch. The first person was actually the winner from last year so was a good bench mark. If he was really quick chances were the half way mark had been set up too close, if he was really slow then it had probably been set up too far away. He was quick! 18 mins, 23 secs. Pretty quick for a 5K. Thankfully the person who had set up the table came in soon afterwards and confirmed that the half-way point had, in fact, been in the right place. Sadly for him someone had mistaken the table and chair he placed there as having been dumped and cleaned them away.
So quickly, then not so quickly, then slowly, the rest of the runners came home. Some out of breath, some barely breaking sweat but, most importantly, all accounted for, happy to have “done it” and now the proud owners of an Alderton 5K medal and JoJo Maman Bébé Gift bag.
An awards ceremony followed with Men’s and Women’s race winner, Men’s and Women’s Vets Winner and Boys and Girls under 16 winners. There had also been a kid’s obstacle course, raffle and, of course, the aforementioned treasure hunt and cakes!
In total the event raised nearly £1400.00. A massive amount for a small charity such as this and a large stride towards their annual fund raising target of £5000.00. A labour of love well served. So here’s to next year and hiding that whistle……..!