So yesterday was the 5km Twilight Race for Life, raising funds for cancer research in Norwich at the Showground. I’ve never done anything like this in my life before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s a cause very close to my heart. I lost my mum to cancer, as well as other family and friends, and yesterday was my friend and former agent Dorothy Lumley’s funeral, so the timing of the race was bittersweet. We were SO lucky with the weather because it stayed dry.
My wonderful daughter Chloe agreed to do it with me – despite the fact that she hates sport – and I really appreciated the support. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us.
We ended up walking to the Showground from Sainsbury’s as we had to drop son off for his shift at work first, and the traffic was a bit sticky so we were worried about being late… AND I forgot the glowsticks! Arrgh.
I had a lump in my throat when we walked in at the ‘entrance’ and there were little lanterns in people’s memory – a very simple but effective idea, a bag you can write a message on with sand to weight it down and a glowstick to light it. We did one for my mum and for Dot, my friend and former agent whose funeral was on the RfL day. (They did glow - I had to take this with a flash because the one without a flash didn't work well!)
I wasn’t just running for my mum and Dot, though – this is a global thing, and my friend and fellow author Amy Andrews in Australia lost her mum to the disease (and sponsored me – thanks, Amy!), so I was running for Sandra Baxter as well.
There were nearly a thousand of us last night – some running amazingly fast (especially in the dark – that threw me a bit and slowed me down), some running with dogs in coats covered with flashing lights, some walking with small children, and some pushing wheelchairs. All of us were there because we’d been touched by cancer and we wanted to make a difference. So many, many people commemorated on those sheets on people’s backs. (Again, not the best pic, but it was either slow speed with no flash, or a lot of blobs of light! I hope this gives you an idea of the atmosphere.)
There were glowsticks available to everyone. There was also a stall selling flashy things and, once Chloe had seen how outrageously a lot of people were dressed, she agreed to pink fluffy, flashing tiaras to humour me :o) (Well, hey, you can’t let cancer take your sense of humour as well.)
Heart FM were in charge of entertainments, and we became world record holders last night because we were the biggest group ever to make their ‘heart’ sign. And then it was a zumba warm-up (that was great) and time to do the run. The runners went first – we’re not that fast (and hadn’t had time to do the training for running the whole lot), so we joined the next group, the joggers; and then it was the walkers. The course basically went through the whole showground, through the barns, round the back, and then we doubled back on ourselves.
The end was amazing, with people cheering us on and people with those big foam hands giving us high fives. (DH was yelling at us near the finish line but we couldn't see him - all we could focus on was getting to that line.)
And then we were handed a bottle of water and a Race for Life medal.
We finished in 50 minutes, which is an overall pace of 6km an hour. At the gym, I do intervals of 5mph and 3mph (ha – normally just for 15 minutes, so this was a lot longer!), which averages out at 4mph. So I guess an overall speed of 6kmh isn’t too far off, especially given that it was dark. 409 calories. (Well, hey – course I had the Polar on.)
Thank you to everyone who sponsored us. I hope we did you proud. And you’re all stars because together we’ve raised the best part of £1000 (if you include giftaid). That’s pretty amazing and it’s going to make a difference. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.
Mum, Dot and Sandra – I hope we did you proud, too. And sleep tight. You’ll never be forgotten xxx