Always on the lookout for ways to fundraise for Christmas for Kids, we ladies at C4K HQ decided to put our money where our mouths are and don our running shoes for Parallel London’s 2017 10K run.
We discovered Parallel London when looking for ways to raise money to help us fund our Hospice tour for 2017. We loved the ethos of Parallel, being a fully accessible fun run that brings everyone together whatever their age or ability, so we decided that we must be a part of it!
With one of our Wonder Women, Claire, busy growing a tiny human, it was left to Sue and I to lead by example and head up the Christmas for Kids team at this year’s event. We managed to gather together another 8 runners to complete our fabulous team. They were sisters, partners, wives, flatmates, previous cast members, tv actors but most importantly they were all part of the Christmas for Kids family and keen to raise as much money as possible for our worthy cause. We were a mixed bag of runners, some having run events before while others were newbies, but once the team was formed the training and fundraising began. We were a runner down, due to injury, on the final build up to the event but team spirit kicked in and nothing was going to hold back Team C4K!
The big day arrived and after an early start the team gathered for a cup of tea, final words of wisdom from our Director, Sue, and a bit of a stretch before proudly pinning on our running numbers. Finally, Sue A, Katie, James, Jon, Sue W, Suzie, Kylie, Paul & Bethan were all in the same space. Paul made a quick change into his Father Christmas outfit (I know it was September, but we are Christmas for Kids after all!) and then the group formed for our Team Photo. Even though many of the group had not actually met before there was an immediate sense of camaraderie with the knowledge that we were doing something that would bring joy to so many children and their families at Christmas.
The call out came for all the runners to head to the start line and Team C4K nervously made our way towards the starting pistol. There was a brilliant warm up led by some professional trainers high up on their platform over looking the gathering throng of “athletes". They had us doing some silly, yet useful, exercises and this certainly got the party atmosphere going!
Finally at 10am the starting pistol went BANG! James, Jon, Paul, Kylie and Bethan zipped off straight away and the only times they were spotted again was when the course double backed on itself and us (slightly) slower runners were able to cheer them on. There were moments that were tough though. When you start to get tired, and think how much easier it would be to walk for a bit, then that random lady running alongside you sees what you’re thinking and shouts “COME ON!” at you, giving you that extra bit of encouragement that you needed to keep going. Eventually we rounded the corner of the Olympic Arena starting to see signs for 900m to go…. 800m to go……….100m to go! Claire was stood at the finish line cheering on the all the runners as they crossed the line on their way to get their finishers medal. As each of us crossed the finish line we joined Claire to cheer on those behind us. It was at this point that the true meaning of the event became clear. Watching a small girl being lifted out of her wheelchair by her parents so that she could walk the final 2 metres and cross the line on her own, made the whole 10k seem so worth while.
Parallel London is about bringing people together. It is the only fully accessible event of its kind in the UK. At no other event can people of all abilities, those in wheelchairs, those who need visual guidance, people who walk with crutches or a stick, the able-bodied, get together and run/walk/wheel/dance the same distance together. Families, friends, colleagues all in it together, pushing themselves for a cause that they care about and believe in so much that they will complete a distance that may never have seemed possible. This event felt like the perfect fit for us at Christmas for Kids. We make it our mission to light up the faces of sick and disabled children all over the country at Christmas. We are not doctors, medical or care professionals but when things seem difficult and sometimes the future is a distressing thought for those families that we visit, we do what little we can to help bring some Christmas joy to these children and their families.
We at C4K HQ would like to say thank you to all the people who have sponsored our runners, for helping us to raise a wonderful £2422 that morning! We do not charge the hospices to receive our shows so being able to fund the travel, provide fantastic sets, props and great actors means we can send exciting, professional performances to those who are not able to visit the theatre over the festive period.
A big thank you must go out to our team of runners, but we mustn’t forget the Husbands and Partners, Children and friends who turned up to cheer us on and supported us through our training. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Katie, Sue & Claire. xxx
ps. See you all for Parallel 2018!!