RACE FOR LIFE Rochester 

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On Sunday 17th May 2015 I took part in the Race for Life, Rochester to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  I lost my Dad to Cancer on the 24th March 2015 so this was my motivation to lace up my trainers and give it my all.  Events like this are vital in funding Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work into preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. 

The race was at 11:00.  I arrived at 10, as instructed, to enjoy the warm up, soak up the excitement and be inspired by survivors stories.  As I arrived at the castle grounds I was quite overwhelmed to see a sea of women dressed in pink.  The pink army ready for battle.  It was estimated there were 2000 participants!  It had been an emotional morning and I had put off writing my back sign as I knew it would be tough.  My dedication was made to my Dad, Ray.  I was a bit of an emotional wreck until it was time to actually run.

  

We were all gathered on the grass in the glorious sunshine in front of the Rochester Castle, really fitting for the pink army.  There was a stage with a Heart FM DJ gearing everybody up.  A survivor was invited onto the stage to share her story and a minute of silence was also conducted.  A few dogs chose not to participate.  We were also told to turn round a read the message on the person in fronts back.  This set me off again.  It makes you realise that everybody at some point in their life will be effected by cancer.  

  

I took part in a pre race warm up which involved dancing, and anyone that knows me knows I love to dance, however my son was not amused.  I didn’t realise I was already an embarrassing mum!  

It was almost time.  We were asked to decide if we were runners, joggers or walkers.  I had been training for a couple of weeks prior to the race so thought I’d take up the challenge and join the runners.  

  

We then headed to the start line.  I made my way to the front with my fellow runners.  I felt nervous, again overwhelmed but determined, I was ready.  The countdown began 10, 9, 8…….GO! I began to run along the cobbled high street, the faster runners speed off.  It was very warm and after a few minutes I began to get comfortable with my pace and my breathing, then the course began to climb up a hill, I had read there were inclines along the route but the hill was never ending and hid around the upcoming corners, I still kept running, when the course levelled out and began descended down hill it gave me time to catch my breath, we were back near the castle.  The cheering clapping crowd were great motivation.  I started to recognise the route now.  First lap of my 5k was done, oh no I’ve got to go uphill again I thought to myself.  I was dreading climbing those hills again.  I was so determined not to stop and has trained myself to run the whole distance without stopping, but three quarters of the way up the hill I reached a point where I had to stop the hill was too much, I needed to catch my breath.  I sipped some water, reached the summit, composed myself then went for it, all the way to the finish line. I passed my husband’s parents with my son cheering me on, that brought such a smile to my face, then on the last climb up the hill into the castle grounds I spotted my husband and my daughter.  That was the motivation to run the last few metres.     I crossed the finish line!  A huge wave of pride swept over me.  I did it!   I claimed my medal, my pink army dog tags!  I managed to run the race in 31 minutes.  During training my best time was 33 minutes.  I used an app to track my race it actually only recorded a distance of 4.75K.  Guess the track divisors were more lenient because of the hills?! 😉 

  

I raised a total of £323, which I am really happy with considering my target was £100.  I am very proud of myself and all my generous sponsors, some of whom were people I had never met, it’s so overwhelming that strangers will dig deep into their pockets to help fight for a cure for cancer.  Thank you to everyone that helped me raise money to support Cancer research UK.  I raced for life and showed cancer that hell hath no fury like a woman in pink!

  

For my next race for life I will be upping my game and taking part in the Blackheath 10k on the 5th July.  Please sponsor me and help me smash my previous target by donating to my just giving page, just click on the link.  

http://www.justgiving.com/samanthaharding20


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