(#TeamSense London Marathon runners before they took on their 5km around Finsbury Park)
Last weekend, I went to the London Marathon training day, with some of the people we support from TouchBase South East. This April, #TeamSense will be taking on the 2019 London Marathon, to help us support children and adults with complex disabilities, including those who are deafblind, to communicate and experience the world.
When I first mentioned the training event to the people we support, there was bubbling interest that raised lots of questions. Who is running? Why are they running? Questions that I certainly did not have the answer to. It was decided that speaking to the runners in person would be a much better way to not only find out more about them, but also to support them and show our appreciation.
Graham, Nasrin and myself supported Kevin, Michael and Tony to the World’s End pub, to find out more about the London Marathon and why people were choosing to run for us. The journey took longer than expected with some travelling in from Stevenage, but we arrived eventually in time for the Q&A session. The runners had just come back from a 5km run around Finsbury Park.
(From left, fitness trainer Phil Roberton leads the runners on their run)
Fitness trainer Phil Roberton and Chartered Physiotherapist, Lucy MacDonald, boosted the confidence of the runners, provided nutritional and training tips and answered questions on any niggling injuries. This provided us with the perfect opportunity to sample the buffet. We could sense that the runners were thanking us for ridding the buffet of some of the less healthy options.
After the talk, we all had a chance to chat to the runners and discovered something very special. Everyone had their own individual reason for running. Other than their desire to run 26 miles (which is awe inspiring in itself) everyone was happy to share their desire to be under the #TeamSense umbrella. For some, it was because a family member is or was supported by Sense. For others it was an opportunity to raise awareness for an organisation that has been an integral part of their local community. There was a sense of connection felt by the runners, the people being supported, the staff and me.
(One of the London Marathon runners in the middle of a conversation with Tony (middle) about football and rugby)
As a runner myself, I found the whole day very informative but the most exciting part for me was seeing these amazing runners deep in conversation with some of the people we support. The conversations after the talks were varied and interesting. Tony had a great time chatting to Steve about football and rugby. Michael was talking in depth about his experiences of rock climbing and Kevin found a kindred spirit in Kirsten (both being huge ABBA fans). The only lull in the conversations, were when the plates were empty and a commute to the buffet table had to be made.
(London Marathon runner speaks to Kevin (middle), supported by Graham, from TouchBase South East)
As the afternoon began and people started to leave, Kevin, Tony and Michael had a better understanding of the huge sacrifice the runners were making for Sense. Not only that, but, the runners had a better understanding of the impact of their support. As we left the pub and made our way home, it was hard not to have the feeling that we are all in this together and we all impact each other’s lives. Kevin, Tony and Michael had an incredible time meeting the runners and will be there to support them every step of the way.
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