Earlier this month I joined 124 fantastic people to take on the challenge that is The Major Series North. This is a 10km run through thick and deep mud, adding in lots of strange, fun and hard-core obstacles. Training had been a little slow for me – it is not easy training when you have a big family and a 6 month old baby – but I can’t make too many excuses as I am lucky enough to have friends around me who will happily sit with my very smiley son (I secretly think he is the happiest baby ever, which really is strange considering the family he has entered, but perhaps there’s some meaning to be found in that).
I had fully expected to go at a leisurely pace and share some fun ‘falling in mud moments’ with friends but instead I ended up running mostly on my own. You see, there was a warm up at the beginning and the ‘Major’ said a few words about the charity, as we are the biggest team they have ever had participating. Had I just looked straight at him and done the warm up I might have been ok, but as he spoke I turned around to look at the whole group.
Seeing all 125 runners in OSCAR’s t-shirts really got to me. Many of them were friends, or friends of friends, some were total strangers, and the realisation of what we have been doing for the past two years suddenly hit me. All these people were there to show that they care – they care about our family, they care about Oscar, they care about all the children now and yet to come with brain tumours, they care about making a difference, and they’ve all trained for months and travelled to be there to support us.
The feeling was overwhelming but inspiring, and of course as ever the double-edged sword of ‘if only’. If only he was here to watch us, if only he was here to support us, if only he was here to enjoy the run with us – because he would have, he would have run as fast as he could and he would not have stopped until the end.
And as I set off I could feel him running with me, so instead of running with friends I ran alone, just Oscar and I. And I laughed through most of it, a rare two hours for me of pure Oscar indulgence doing what he would have loved – pushing myself, working hard and laughing.