It is a common misconception that completing a shorter challenge like a Race for Life or a walk are somehow not as impressive as a marathon or a triathlon. Reading this account written by my Mum of her first Race for Life will convince you otherwise. A goal is individual and achieving it is a big deal whatever the event. I asked Mum for a few words about her experience that I could use in my book. She called it ‘not quite a paragraph’ and I was moved to tears by the end. I am so proud of her and wanted to share this with you all.

‘I had always wanted to do ‘The Race for Life,’ but had never got round to registering online; so this year I decided to make it a challenge to complete the race before my 70th birthday in Durham. Cancer has affected number of people in my family including my Mum and sister and some of my friends. I wanted to do something positive beyond money to show my support and to help research in finding cures for cancers.

July 2nd dawned, it was a lovely day, blue sky and sunny but chilly in the early morning. I decided to wear my “fit4evermore” t-shirt as Clare has always encouraged and supported me in my sporting activities. I arrived at St Leonard’s Sports field, the starting point full of anticipation but rather nervous as I was on my own; even though there were thousands of people around me, though I soon struck up conversations with people standing near me. The organisers were full of praise and encouragement for us all. We were asked to move closer to the stage and were given information which was followed by a warm up led by a young girl who was very motivating in getting us exercised, relaxed and ready to go.

The start of the race was very emotional and quite exciting. Three groups of people gathered, 1st the runners, then the joggers followed by the walkers including me and off we went. I shed a few tears as we set off, just being part of this great crowd of runners was overwhelming for a few moments and I said a quick prayer for all those who had suffered and were still suffering from this awful disease. We continued through County Hall, up the hill and out into the woods and countryside.

The route was hilly in places. I walked with a couple of ladies, a mother and daughter who walked quite quickly. I kept up with them except on the hills but then caught up with them again on the down slopes and on the flat. I had recently pulled a muscle in my thigh and had sore knees so I was not as fit as usual; I found the hills rather challenging, but I kept breathing deeply and striding on upwards. Looking at the lovely views of the Castle, Cathedral and the City made me feel very happy and lucky that I had moved back to my childhood home. I was enjoying the walk and felt rather sad as we came down the last hill and could hear the sound system blaring out music and information. As we rounded the corner onto the field we saw lots of people cheering, waving and congratulating us as we crossed the finish line. It was amazing to have been part of such an event with so many people. I received my medal and felt a great sense of achievement. It was only 5km and I had walked not run but I had successfully completed my challenge and I was very proud of myself.’


My question to you is what are you going to do to challenge yourself? We all need goals and something to aim for and to keep us motivated. In October I am doing the 7k Memory Walk in South Shields with Mum and my 3 daughters. Mum is in training and we are all excited to be doing the walk together. I think it could be an emotional and proud day and will mean every bit as much as the runs, swims and triathlons I have completed previously!

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