It all started with the idea Emma Clark (wife of Operations Director Rob Clark and ex Rockley Centre Manager) and I had about children raising money for children. Julia's House has been a charity close to our hearts for a long time and as lovers of running we naturally thought we could marry the two. With the Bournemouth Marathon Festival fast approaching, we decided to try and get as many children together to run the 1.5km and 2km event. Within a very short period of time, we had 28 children signed up - OK the kids may not have jumped at the chance or even been aware of this but all of us parents were very keen on their behalf!!
The night before race day saw the whatsapp group going crazy with "we've almost met our £1500 target". With £80 needed, Emma and I made a last ditch plea for donations which worked a dream as just before the children's bedtime, we hit our target. Of course it didn't stop there and thanks to all the children's lovely parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and friends, the total as I write stands at an amazing £1909!
And then came the rain....and the wind....
Race day proved to be a wet and windy affair which ordinarily would have meant chilling at home, playing games and baking cakes. So, when at 11 o'clock, as Daisy and Joseph were snuggled up still in their pyjamas wearing their Christmas socks and reading the 52 story tree house I suggested they get changed in to their running gear, Joseph piped up with "what for?" I guessed some kind of bribery was required. With the promise of cake afterwards and a reminder of what an amazing thing they were doing, we set off to Bournemouth.
As we took shelter in the Julia's House tent and their friends started to turn up, followed by more children who they didn't know but with a common goal, their enthusiasm grew. With me donned in my ski socks and wellies and others including Rob and daughter Mia in full on sailing wet weather gear, the big decision was how many layers the kids should wear. I suggested that if they ran fast they'd warm up soon enough and they'd reach the finish line quicker - all tactics of pacing yourself completely out the window!
What's it all about?
Most children question why you just go running. I mean pretty much any other sport makes sense whether it's football, netball, gymnastics or hockey - I could go on, but just running is a bit weird. And to a great extent they are right - you barely ever see a 'happy runner' and most adults only do it as it's the most effective way to stay fit, making it OK to eat that extra bit of cake or have a glass of wine. So as far as the children were concerned, their parents had set up a very large play date which involved running which also wierdly happened to be on one of the grottiest days of the year! And to make things even wierder, their parents also happened to be shouting words of encouragement like lunatics on the sideline as they approached the finish line. Of course for us, yes we may have been a tad vocal with our support but it was only because we couldn't have been prouder of their efforts and the spirit in which they had taken part in the event.
Thank you EVERYONE!
As they passed the finish line with smiles on their faces a medal round their neck, I think they felt their own sense of achievement and pride. We cannot tell you how valuable the money they raised is to Julia's House and knowing the team that work with the charity, I know they will be hugely appreciative of their efforts.
Emma and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated but most of all to each and every child who got out in the rain and ran their little hearts out. So, Josie Clark, Lola Gibson, Alice Broomhead-Smith, Ellie Tape, Jemima Harford, Joseph Johnston, Milo O'Melia-Winn, Finn Williams, Ben Collins, Phoebe Mortell, Theo Fityan, Oscar Fairman, Erin Robson, Daisy Preston, Joseph Preston, Josh McMaster, Katie McMaster, Archie Hillier, Joseph Jenkins, Jasper Jenkins, Reuben May, Felix May, Ewan Walker, Basil Walker, Elowen Walters, Ruben Turner and Sam Slocock you are ALL absolutely, 100% AMAZING!