Wheezing my way around Arthur’s Seat on Saturday 27th May, I ponder why I am doing this. Six miles across unseasonably scorching tarmac, with admittedly tremendous views, I run as fast as my wee legs can carry me. The cheerful tone of my running app lady tells me I’m doing not too bad considering, my beetroot face says otherwise though.
The excitement in the air as the starting countdown begins, reaches my section towards the back (easy now) and fills me with even more determination. As we begin there’s a new-found sense of camaraderie among the fellow smiley strangers that urge each other on, especially when ‘that’ hill appears at the 2k mark. It’s infectious.
The lull of laughter eats into the croon of Paolo Nutini as he waxes lyrical about growing up beside me. He didn’t grow up beside me but his chocolate voice calms my nerves and lets me find my pace. I chuckle as the oohs and aahs from those taking part that are new to my city, filter in through my ear phones as they remark at my taken-for-granted skyline in the blazing sun.
I’m lucky, I nearly shout. I get to live here and see this everyday!
Buzz Lightyear runs past me smiling as he gathers pace, never stopping even when he needs to raise the mask he’s wearing for some cool air to help him along. I salute you my fine out-of-this-world friend. I then spot what I can only describe as a nutter in a cow onesie, the spotty pattern makes no meals of how perhaps another non-fleecy outfit choice should’ve been made. But then we don’t normally get weather like this in Edinburgh.These amazing humans I’ve met along the radical road are what this is all about.
Toto, we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.
It’s roasting. I’m a bit emotional, as I always am when I do something like this, but it’s all for a good cause, right?
Right! It certainly is.
I’m raising money for kids, so I channelled my inner-child (not difficult because I can be very silly) and wore a tutu. I have to admit, in that heat, I was glad I was a fleece and acrylic-free zone. An assortment of netting, ribbon and colours of the rainbow caught my eye every time I raised a knee and why not.
It was light enough to not wear me down and it brought a smile to the championing crowd as I ran/wheezed past them – a win in my eyes. Donna Summer crooning in my ear, I smile and wave back enjoying the cheery faces urging me on. ‘You can do it’ I lip read over the 80’s mix of nonsense blasting in my ears.
I want to thank the MacMillan guys at the mini roundabout on the last 1k, you have no idea how much I needed your ‘high five this board if you need more power’, the finishing line was just ahead and the magic of cardboard certainly bestowed its powers on me. I owe you a debt of gratitude and a cold beer.
I can’t complain about the fracture in my elbow or my recovery from a trapped nerve when I’m running for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity. When I just can’t take one more step, I think of the Clown Doctors making their way around the wards cheering up all the children, the famous panto guys taking time out of their schedules to visit toddlers and babies on beeping machines who just need something else to think about for a minute or two, or the visits to Edinburgh Castle for patients and their families to enjoy – a respite from their daily life of looking after their seriously ill children. I might be biased because I work for ECHC but the effort and unrelenting passion the staff have for the cause is just fantastic.
That’s what I think about when I run.
I think about what else I can raise funds for to make these children still feel like children even when the sun is shining but they can’t go outside the wards they call home.
Words can’t really express what I want to say to everyone who donated towards my run. The generosity and enthusiasm for my mad dash around my beloved city has been emotionally overwhelming and slightly surreal. A mere thank you just doesn’t really do it justice but that’s all I have right now.
I just want to make a difference, no matter how small. And you can too. Run and become that person that gives a little back.
Child first. Patient second.