Firstly let me apologise for waiting over a week to write this, but as I’m sure you all know life gets busy at times, whether you have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) or not.
I’m very pleased to announce that last Sunday, the 2nd of October, I completed my 5k Run!!! How about that?! Without ending up in hospital, or being stretchered over the finish line. This is most definitely a big personal achievement for me. Having AS certainly didn’t make my training any easier, nor did the sprained ankle which has blighted me for the last few weeks. This made the accomplishment even more of a personal victory, and something I am very proud of.
As you know this was about more than my personal goals, this was a charity run. With a clear aim to raise as much money as I could for a charity, that has already given me so much, yep, I was running for the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS). Throughout my time training and preparing for the big run they have shown me great encouragement, and I would like to thank them for that, it certainly helped me through the hard parts of the run. My aim when deciding to do this 5k run was to try and raise £250 to help them carry on doing the amazing work they do. To date, adding together my online and personal collections I will have raised almost double that!!! I will post an exact figure when all monies are collected, but to this point the total stands at over £450!! That is far much more than I thought I would raise, and the generosity shown by everyone has astounded me. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
The Big Day
For those who live in the UK will know that last weekend was an absolute scorcher! It’s suppose to be Autumn, yet the skies where clear and a beautiful shade of blue, but more importantly it was 29°C (84°F). For a pale English man that’s pretty hot! My lovely wife (she made me write that) accompanied me to the big day, as did my good friend and his girlfriend. My friend was kind enough to run the race with me, to help me keep pace, and to spur me on through the tough times. So armed with my own little cheering section I was ready for the task ahead. Prior to starting the race the organisers gathered all the competitors together for the ‘big warm up’. This was not what I was expecting at all. A warm up to me is a few stretches, and maybe a quick jog on the spot. This was not what happened. The best way I can describe it was a 15 minute aerobic exercise! I was tired before I’d even crossed the start line!
I was under no illusion that this was going to be very hard, but during my training I was covering the distances with out too much drama. The heat however made it doubly harder than I was expecting, with muscle fatigue setting in much earlier than I had hoped. I was determined to not stop during the distance, and to keep going at all costs. After the 4k mark I will admit I did slow down to what can only be described as a brisk walk, but in my mind I have convinced myself that doesn’t count as stopping, and I am claiming another personal victory on that one ;).
All in all it was a truly tiring and emotional experience, although I was too tired to show the emotion. I am very glad that I decided to do this run on behalf of NASS. I hope I have proved that even though AS puts up hurdles for us, with the right motivation and right preparation we can jump those hurdles, and achieve things that we thought might not be possible. If I have inspired you to do something for charity, or set yourself a challenge that you wouldn’t normally think possible, that would just make this whole event even more worth while.
Before I go I’d to thank a few people:
- Thank you to all those that showed their kindness and support, by sponsoring me and donating to NASS.
- Thank you to NASS for providing me with the support and information I needed to achieve this.
- Thank you to all my Spondy’s (people with AS) who have inspired me and given me so much encouragement.
- And last, but far from least, a special thank you to my wife. Who has encouraged me, and supported me through the ups an downs of my AS so far. As well as helping nurse my ills after my training runs and the race itself. Without you I wouldn’t have made it over the finish line. Thank you.
I hope you enjoy the photos of the big day. I’ve now set myself a benchmark, so next year I will have to come up with something to top this. So until then, enjoy.