Posted: 28 May 2012

The people who inspire us to run

Weather for this year's Bupa London 10k was a blinder - glorious sunshine, cloudless skies and 25-degree temperatures. It was the perfect day for a picnic or a gentle stroll along the river but I and 8500 fellow runners were there for a 10k race.

With some trepidation I gathered with hundreds of other runners at the start line. I was in wave C, two groups behind the elite runners (congrats to the winner, Mo Farah!). In this heat, I knew I couldn't beat any of my previous times so my aim was just get to that finish line without the need of an ambulance.

I took a slightly less strenuous pace and enjoyed the picturesque route - including St James's Park, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Monument, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and, in the distance, Buckingham Palace - as well as my fellow runners.

Running for personal reasons

Running, I've found, is good for the soul because running a race like the Bupa 10k gives you time to think. For me, it was an hour - actually an hour and a half - of solitude, discipline and contemplation.

I saw runners who inspired me. There were some who are as elderly (I hope I'm running 10k when I'm their age).

I also saw runners who ran for deeply personal reasons. There were a mother and daughter running for their parents and grandparents, respectively, who have Alzheimer's disease. There was also a couple running with a photo of a baby who died aged just eight months -- seeing them was heartbreaking and I struggled to keep a dry eye.

Seeing these other dedicated runners made me think about who I was running for.

Who I was running for

By running for The Children's Society, I knew I was helping some of the most vulnerable children in our country.

I've had the privilege of talking to some of our wonderful project workers about the transformation they see in young people's lives with our help. They tell me about the utter sadness of when events in a child's life align in such a way that the young people feel like they're fighting an unwinnable battle (that's how it feels sometimes, not how it is). Thank goodness our project workers are there to be with them through the problems.

Unlike the runners with laminated photos, I rarely meet the children and young people I was running for. Occasionally a young person we have helped will speak at an event about their experiences. There are also hundreds of other young people in our programmes across the country whose stories I don't hear. After all, it's not appropriate for me to stick my nose in the child's business when they are working through problems at pivotal times in their lives.

This made me think of all the children and young people in our programmes who don't have someone to print their photos, laminate them then pin them to a T-shirt. I thought of the children who are hidden, uncared for, neglected, lost. It made me realise that it was these children I was running for.

So after the race, simply knackered and achey limbed, I had a quiet sense satisfaction that the funds I (and my fellow runners) raised for this race may have done a bit to help a child I'll never meet through a difficult time.

By Kate Wareham, Senior Regional Fundraising and Development Manager

More information

By Kate Wareham - Fundraising and events team

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Comments

Well done to you and a really good story

A huge well done, Kate - for running in ridiculous heat and for summing up so beautifully why the work of The Children's Society is so important.