Disney Social Media Moms Fun Run gave me the kickstart I needed, and I decided to go one step further by joining a Race for Life event in London this summer.
There are almost 300 Race for Life events held in the UK this year, so it wasn't difficult to find one on the weekend I was scheduled to visit my sister in London. My 10k run was held in Victoria Park, on London's East Side. I thought the start time -- 11:00AM -- was unusually late, but I wasn't complaining since it gave me plenty of time to wake up, get ready, take the Tube, and follow the crowd of pink-clad women to the starting line.
The organizers began the event with a few words about how cancer research is progressing, how our fundraising helps. Then a cancer survivor moved the crowd with her story about battling leukemia and her determination to get better and run. After a few minutes for a group warm-up, everyone was ready to go!
I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the crowd. There are 20 Race for Life events for 2014 in London alone, so I knew they wouldn't draw numbers comparable to the crowds for annual events, but the announcers said there were 2,000 people at the park. Later on, I read on the website that over 1,000 runners and walkers participated The atmosphere was very upbeat, and everyone was wearing something pink -- even men, babies, and dogs!
It started raining just as we were about to cross the starting line, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. In fact, the weather was perfect for running -- no hot, blazing sun to give you a headache, and just a light drizzle to keep the body cool.
The course was a nice, easy, flat one; the 5k runners did 2 loops around the park and the 10k runners did 4. I've been running regularly since January, mostly 3-4 miles with the rare 5 miler, so I knew I would survive. It wasn't easy -- there were a couple of moments where I thought about slowing down to a walk -- but as usual, running with a crowd gave me the extra boost that I needed to finish. I was more than happy with my time: 61 minutes, 10 seconds (yes I know it says 1:01:50 in the photo, but it took me 20 seconds to get to the starting line and another 10 seconds to whip out my phone and take the photo!).
I'm so happy I did this run! It was my first run ever outside the US, and my first 10k in over a year.
Now I've got my name etched in the official shirt, and my photos and race medal to remember that day in London when I ran to beat cancer.