Anybody who has known me for any length of time will know that athleticism is not my default state. I am more likely to be found curled up in a café with a slice of cake, a flat white and a novel, than anywhere near an exercise facility. Prior to June, the only time I ran was to catch the bus. And most of the time, even then, I was out of breath if I managed to catch it (I usually didn’t!).
So, I hear you ask, what possessed you to sign up to do a 10k? I have asked myself the same question. Several times. BELIEVE ME! But the answer is simple: Restore. The impact of the work we do here is what pushed me to do this crazy thing. Seeing the difference we are able to make in people’s lives. Witnessing the dedication of the staff team to sharing hope and supporting our residents to improve their circumstances. Observing the care each member of our team shows to the work they do and the people we work with.
I participated in the Yorkshire Coast 10k on Sunday 16th October. Prior to that, I’d spent four months making my way through the training schedule on the ‘couch to 5k’ programme. The week before race day, I had significant concerns about how to get through 10k when I’d only just managed to reach 5! But nevertheless, I arrived in Scarborough at half past 8 on a sunny, chilly, October morning with my number pinned to my chest and determined to make the best of it. I got through thanks to the support of everyone who sponsored me; good wishes and encouraging texts from family and friends; my fellow runners, and the race marshals. I’d like to take a moment to say a huge thank-you to everyone who sponsored me and sent messages of encouragement.
What surprised me most during the event was the way everyone cheered each other on. I had imagined that everyone would be in their own headspace and running their own race. But throughout the course, volunteer marshals were applauding and cheering runners along. If people had their name on their shirt, the marshals made a point of calling out their names to encourage them (because I had borrowed a Restore branded top from our administrator Becki, I did get “come on Deano” yelled at me from the sidelines a few times, which was quite amusing!). What was more surprising than the marshals’ encouragement though, was that of the other runners. There were points where the course was two-way, so runners on the outward 5k were on one side of the road and those on the return leg were on the other. The people on the earlier sections of the course were calling encouragement to those on the latter stages, willing them to do well. I think I would have been less surprised if it were the other way round; the faster, fitter runners helping to spur on those struggling. But I was heartened to see that everyone, whether seasoned runner or not, received the same encouragement.
It reminded me a lot of our residents and the community they are building among themselves. Recently some former residents, who are now in their own properties and receiving follow on support, came along to a social with current residents at a local pool hall. The same mutual support and encouragement I felt at my race was evident among the residents too; everyone wanting each other to progress on their journey, irrespective of what stage they have reached upon that journey. The opportunity for former residents to encourage current ones helped not only those still with us, but reminded those who have now moved on of just how far they have come and how much they have to be proud of in themselves. As I thought about that during the 10k, I like to think it helped put an extra small kick in my step.
One final story to share from run day which I hope you will find encouraging. During the week before the run, when I was worrying about whether I would cope, I asked the staff team to pray that God would send encouragement my way. Fast forward to somewhere around the 2k mark, when my legs were already in agony and I was certain I would end up walking the remainder of the route and be overtaken by the children participating in the fun run, which took place later that morning. All of a sudden, I felt a tap on my right arm. “Excuse me,” said a voice, “I noticed your t-shirt. Are you running for Restore?” I confirmed that I was. It was a former Restore trustee, who was also participating in the race (though not, on this occasion, for charity). She and I had not met before, though we’d emailed each other several times, and it was lovely to put a face to a name and support each other on that part of the race. I genuinely believe she was the answer to my prayer request for encouragement, and I am so grateful to her for taking time during her own race to come speak to me and spur me on.
Maybe running is not your thing but reading this has encouraged you to do something, both to challenge yourself and to raise money for Restore. We welcome any fundraising efforts from our supporters and would be delighted to help and support anyone taking on a challenge on our behalf! You could walk, cycle, or swim. If physical activity doesn’t appeal, why not do a sleepout, or try to go a day without your mobile phone? If it’s a sponsored event, head on over to our total giving page and set up a fundraiser. Once you’ve done so, send us an email with the fundraising page link and a bit of info about what you’re doing, and we’ll help you by promoting your efforts on our social media channels.
If you would like to know more about the work we do, please check out our Facebook page. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter. If you would like to support our work financially, please donate here. Thank you.