Did they find Jo’s trousers?

So on Tuesday 19th May I got to attend a very exciting media launch in London’s beautiful Hyde Park, courtesy of Helen of HelBels who managed to get me invited along for which I cannot thank her enough!!! I also got to meet the lovely Adele – find a link to her blog here

Hyde Park, Helen and Adele
Hyde Park, Helen and Adele

The media launch was for the Run It campaign by Join In.  It was the first time I have ever attended an event of this kind and I was super excited, probably a bit over excited to be honest!

Courtesy of Join In. https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/
Courtesy of Join In. https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/

So what is Join In? I hear you cry, well I will tell you (even if you didn’t actually cry out or haven’t clicked on the very helpful hyperlinks above! ;-))  Join In are a charity whose mission is to encourage people to volunteer and help support their local sporting groups.  It is a London 2012 legacy charity (thank you very much the Olympic games :-)) which is funded by government grant and their official partners BT and Intersport.

The Run It campaign, to put it simply, is to get more people volunteering specifically in the area of running! Be it for informal running groups (e.g. Parkrun), athletics teams or marathons.  None of these events would be able to take place if it weren’t for people volunteering to help out – in whatever capacity that they are able to – marshalling, coaching, painting the club house, making sandwiches, taking subs… literally, the possibilities for volunteering are endless and make such a huge difference!!!

Who is this half person?
Who is this half person?

This was an amazing first event to attend, even though I personally have nothing to compare it to, I felt it was a very friendly, sociable and inclusive group.  It was fun and informative.  After initially arriving and milling around meeting people and saying “hello”, receiving our very lovely purple Join In t-shirts, there was an introductory few words from Join In’s Director of Sport and former 5km world record holder David Moorcroft.  He brought across just how important volunteering is and one sentence which really sticks in my head is “If you love running, help others run”

David Moorcroft - "If you love running, help others run"
David Moorcroft – “If you love running, help others run”

Supporters of the campaign, who were in attendance, were 10,000m 2014 European Championships Gold medal winner Jo Pavey (a massive inspiration to me!) and second fastest British female runner over a marathon Mara Yamauchi – both again highlighted just how important it is to have volunteers in the sport, without volunteers neither of the them would have had the amazing sporting careers and achievements that they do!

 Jo Pavey is supporting 'Run It' a campaign from charity Join In to put more volunteers into grassroots running. For more information visit joininuk.org/run-it

Jo Pavey is supporting ‘Run It’ a campaign from charity Join In to put more volunteers into grassroots running. For more information visit joininuk.org/run-it

After the initial chat, we couldn’t go to a running based media launch without actually doing any running could we?  So we ventured outside, where fortunately for us the weather held out! Here I got to do the most exciting thing which was take a photo of Mara Yamauchi and Jo Pavey together, for Mara on her camera!!! I hope it was in focus!!! Slightly overawed!

So our warm up was led by Carlos from Intersport – this *ahem* gentle warm up  was quite intense for the likes of me your amateur jogger, but was good fun! Then we headed off on a 5km run around Hyde Park – I kept at the back with Helen and a few others and the ’35 minute pace setter’.  There was a couple of people marshalling (see – good examples of volunteering!) but somehow Helen and I managed to get a bit lost and we’re positive we did about 5.5km – but hey ho whatever I WON!!! No – not like that, I was never gong to beat the likes of Jo Pavey was I? – What I did win was a fun little competition. We had to guess how long it would take us to run the 5km, I said 00:34:30 and it took me 00:33:57 – so only 33 seconds out and the closest guess! Go me!!! So I won the bragging rights there – I know how slow… I mean how fast I am!!! 😛

Helen and I after our 5.5km... :-P
Helen and I after our 5.5km… 😛

Afterwards I got to chat with David Moorcroft, who is lovely and friendly, and I mentioned my interest in running – and volunteering – and it’s ability to help those of us with mental health issues.  He introduced me to Will – who discussed with me Hidden Diamonds – Uncovering the True Value of Sport Volunteers.  It is quite overwhelming the difference that volunteering can make – not only to a community but to individual people. In some cases it can be literally life changing!

Volunteering Boosts Happiness and Wellbeing
Volunteering Boosts Happiness and Wellbeing

Right at the end we did get a few minutes to say “Hi” to Jo and we quickly discussed kids and running, but her taxi had arrived and she needed to go, but she was kind enough to have a photo taken with me.

Jo Pavey and me (looking slightly overexcited)
Jo Pavey and me (looking slightly overexcited)

All in all – it was a brilliant event and I am so pleased that Helen was able to take me along.  It’s definitely made me consider volunteering again soon – at the moment my aim is to volunteer at Parkrun each time I complete 10 runs – I’ve currently run 16 so only 4 more and time to volunteer again.  The whole thing is brilliant, as volunteering inspires people to run and vice versa, this leads on to making friends and becoming part of a network of people and the running community.

Now before I sign off, you may be wondering about the posts title, well as we were getting ready to leave Jo was asking the event organisers if they’d seen her black trousers – as like most of us she’d layered up and worn other trousers over her running ones as it was quite chilly, so one of the last things I heard before I left was “has anyone found Jo’s trousers?” and indeed I still don’t know… 😛

There are currently 4,000 opportunities to volunteer on the Join In website – go look now – watch the video – be inspired!!!

Summary of contact details for Join In and their Run it campaign

Website Join In – https://www.joininuk.org/
Website Run It – https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/joininuk
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/joininuk
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/JoinInUK
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/joininuk/

Also, if you’re looking to setup a club Join In can help with that too! Check out Club Hub!

Thank you for reading – please like, comment and share this post – it’s so important to keep getting the message out there! Let’s get more people volunteering! 🙂 xxx

Some images courtesy of https://www.joininuk.org and the rest are my own

Polar Bear Hugs and Snow!

Today I was lucky enough to run the Cancer Research UK London Winter 10km run! What an amazing experience it was too. Especially as the night before I wasn’t sure I felt well enough to even walk the course let alone run it and getting there looked like it was going to be a mission as the trains were going to Cannon Street and none to Charing Cross. On top of that the Blue One woke up in a right tizzy, waking his sister in the process, and it took some time to calm him down which did not bode well!

The morning of the run I was waiting for the 07:34 train to London Bridge when I got a message that the friend I was going to meet couldn’t make it anymore as she had a bad ankle and she was completely right that it would be silly to run and do any further damage.  So I was having a think as I really don’t like going to these sorts of events on my own when I remembered one of my other friends (My Godparents son) had said he was doing this particular run. I sent him a text, to which I got no reply – so did one better and text his wife! Got a reply that yes he was running and she and their kids were coming too and we could meet at the Warm Up Zone which was near Downing Street. Huge plus point to this meant I didn’t have to try and navigate the Bag Drop or go back after the run to pick my bag up my friends family kindly looked after the bags!!! Yay!!!

London Scenery
London Scenery

Feeling more confident now that I knew I was meeting up with people I enjoyed the rest of my journey to the venue, getting off at London Bridge and then getting the RV1 (which is a Hydrogen Bus) to just by the London Eye and then a pleasant if rather chilly walk across Westminster Bridge. Beautiful blue skies and nice views.  I then waited for my friends – during this time I used the portaloos which weren’t too bad at all and the queues moved quickly. I had my first Polar Bear hug! Then I was getting rather cold standing around so went for a walk to see if there was a shop I could stand in and defrost – my toes and fingers were numb – instead I went down into the tube station – which was exceptionally well timed because within 5 minutes my friend and his family came through the barrier!

Check out that Bin Liner
Check out that Bin Liner

After stripping off my superfluous layers (my goodness it was cold without them) and donning my very fashionable bin liner my friend I made our way to the start.  There we waited for about 10 minutes, doing warm ups, as they needed to space out the waves of runners.  Then with a bleep of a Garmin we were off! I waved to my friend as he was going to be considerably quicker than me.  I settled into a pleasant jog listening to my playlist and enjoying the beautiful London scenery. Slight panic when I looked at my Garmin about five minutes in to see I’d only run 0.5km and I usually do 1km in about seven minutes – then went passed a sign which said 1km and with great relief realised my Garmin was in miles! Phew! Slowed my pace back down!

I plodded along quite happily, being overtaken and personally overtaking the occasional walker. I told myself once I’d run 5km I could have a walk, but I reached 5km and felt good to keep running, then I made it to 7km and felt I would be cheating myself if I walked but my pace was slowing. Though running through the zones of fake snow was quite fun! What didn’t help was that my music stopped with 3km to do. I was concerned the battery had died on my phone, but when I crossed the finish line it still had 50% left – so who knows!?!

I did chat to a nice lady for the last kilometre as were both jokily complaining that there’d been a sign to say ‘chill you’re near the finish’ to then pass the sign that said 9km!

Rounding that final corner and seeing the finish line was overwhelming – I was muttering to myself – “Come on legs you can do it” – unlike my first 10km there was no massive sprint finish, though I did go a bit fast for the last few metres and then finally it was over! I felt rather emotional – I’d done what I set out to do and run the whole 10km and according my Garmin (which I initially forgot to stop) said I’d run 10.10km in 01:09:20 – which was faster than my first 10km, just the icing on the cake! I got some cartons of coconut water, a polar bear hug and much wanted finisher’s medal!

I made it!!!
I made it!!!

A fabulous day with a great atmosphere and really great meeting up with my friend and his family. Met up with them after – felt great getting my layers back on – and he kindly treated me to hot cuppa and chocolate chip cookie, which was very kind of him and much needed! We then went our separate ways and I travelled back to London Bridge and there I got myself a very healthy meal, to replace my lost calories of McChicken Sandwich Meal Deal, – Yum! Yum! Only a ten minute wait for the train and my lovely hubby collected me from the station! Just the perfect end to a lovely day!

Medal & Results
Medal & Results