So last weekend was all about Sport Relief. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is a charity event that takes place every other year, bringing together the worlds of sport and entertainment to raise money. Out of the money raised, 50% is used to help people here in the UK and the other 50% is used in some of the poorest countries. They have used the public’s donations to support many wonderful causes such as bicycle ambulances in Zambia and bereavement and mental health charities here in the UK.
This year Sport relief have so far raised £56,984,007! This is an astonishing amount of money which will be used to help many different people around the world. You can find more information about what Sport Relief is and the work they do at their website here – http://www.sportrelief.com/
This year the main celebrity event taking place was Eddie Izzard running 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa; so far he has raised £1,648,087. This is an absolutely amazing achievement, especially as he spent one day in hospital so had to run 2 marathons on the last day to hit his target.
However, the highlight for me this weekend was a very different challenge completed by a very normal celebrity – Jo Brand’s Hell of a Walk (shown on BBC 1).
Jo Brand’s challenge was to walk across England, from Humber to Liverpool, within 7 days. This would involve walking for 14 hours every day for 7 days covering 20 miles a day. Jo was doing this challenge for Sport Relief and “on behalf of portly middle aged women in the country, who need to get up off their bums, get a bit more exercise so they can bicker with their husbands a few more years, shout at their kids and eat more chips!”
Jo wasn’t exactly speedy on her feet and suffered with health problems throughout the week. She was also plagued with bad weather, being knocked over by Storm Jonas at one point and footage showed her battling up to 50mph winds and torrential rain in dark gloomy conditions.
Despite her grumpiness, Jo stopped for a chat plenty of times throughout the week with ordinary people from ordinary places. People, who had gathered to support her, people who found her an inspiration. If Jo can do it anyone can!
My favourite quote from the programme was “When I woke up I felt really terrible and I thought right, I’m going to have to go home and go to hospital…and then once I got up I felt fine. I can do another day without crying.”
This quote has stayed with me over the past few days and I have thought about it a lot. I’m sure most of us have felt like that for many different reasons. Waking up and feeling like you can’t move, you can’t get up, you just can’t do it. But if you just get up and face the world you will realise that actually you are ok and you can get through another day. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
Jo completed her challenge, despite being cut short on a couple of days due to bad weather. So far she has raised £1,159,220 which is fabulous and will make such a difference. To find out more about her challenge or sponsor her here is the link to her page https://www.sportrelief.com/whats-going-on/jo-brands-hell-of-a-walk
My second highlight of the weekend was a more personal one. Mike completed a 3 mile run for the Sport Relief Games. Mike has recently decided to run a half marathon this year so jumped at the chance to take part in a race to get a bit of training in. Having not run at all for a few years he was understandably quite nervous.
The race pack said to arrive at 10am for the warm up and the race would start at 10.30. We were slightly early and as we walked to the Riverfront Theatre where the race was beginning, we became concerned. There was nobody here! No crowds of people, no marshals with buckets collecting donations, no John Bishop at the starting line ready to greet the runners (ok that one wasn’t very realistic, but you never know!) After the extravaganza that was Friday night’s show on BBC1 this was underwhelming to say the least.
We approached the theatre and this is where the runners were hiding. We were directed to the university campus further down the road as this is where the warm up would be taking place, so we headed that way. There were 3 girls in fluorescent workout clothes on a small stage desperately trying to motivate the small crowd of runners and spectators. As the start time of 10.30 drew nearer the crowd grew bigger but it was nowhere near as busy as we thought it would be.
Unfortunately it was not very well organised. There was a small banner indicating the start line and the people running 1 mile were running a different route to the people running 3 or 6 miles. This was confusing for everyone as the routes were not sign posted and no one seemed to know where they were going. There was also no clear finish line so I had no idea where to wait. I was a bit disappointed with it to be honest. As an event for a charity whose main focus is sport, I expected it to be much more organised and professional.
There were a lot of families with young children taking part, walking the mile route and watching Mollie join in with the group warm up I wished we had signed up to do it as well. I was even more jealous when Mike finished the race in 29.17 and collected his medal. So next year we will all be signing up as a family to do at least a mile but hopefully 3 miles. Though I think we might try the Cardiff event as unfortunately the Newport one just didn’t have much of an atmosphere.
Did you take part in anything over the weekend for sport Relief? Would love to hear what you did and what the events were like in your area.