Why I did a 5k run for charity?

Why I did a 5k run for charity?

Turtle Finisher

It is not every day that I’m greeted just before 12 noon on a Saturday to the sight of someone in a  penguin costume doing face painting and another person dressed as a carrot but then that is runNTU for you

 The runNTU is now in its third year and the 5k run (or the shorter ‘fun run’) is now an established annual fixture in many peoples calendars. Since last year fancy dress has not only been welcome but highly encouraged, hence the fact that you could be walking around the Clifton campus and see the Village People, some mini Ninja Turtles and even someone dressed as a giant flip flop, all casually mingling alongside those in the more normal running shorts and pink runNTU t shirts (yep, you got my colour right this year, guys)

After registering we were treated to the first of 2 sets of acoustic music by Yasmin Issaka and my colleague, Anwyn Williams.  They both did exceptionally well especially as they were competing with the glamorous Ipswich vs Burnley match which was being shown on the TV in the background.  Yasmin played a great cover of Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’ while Anwyn’s finished her set with her own track ‘Going, Gone Away’ which was going round my head with it’s incredibly catchy chorus.

The run began at 2pm after a warm up routine from NTU’s athletic society which was a welcome way to blow off the cobwebs and to bond with the other runners. Then, after a quick briefing, we got into position (serious runners at the start, fun runners at the back, me mingling around in the middle) and it was ‘on your marks, get set….’

The route is from Nottingham Trent University’s Clifton campus around the nearby lake, which would have made a lovely scenic walk if I wasn’t trying to keep my pace and avoid bits of my ninja costume blowing off (yeah, did I mention that I was dressed head to toe in ninja?). Towards the end of the run is the dreaded ‘hill’ which catches everyone off guard every year (we came down it, so you would think we would realise that the only way back is up), I decided to switch from sprinting to ‘power walking’ for this bit as I had horrible visions of collapsing at the finish line.  When that was out the way I saw the gates to the Clifton campus looming in the distance and, for the very moment , that not particularly exotic location was the most welcoming sight I have ever seen.  I managed to do the run in just over 28 minutes which was a great personal achievement (and a huge surprise as that gentle jog down the hill seemed like a whole lifetime ago).

The run attracted a wide range of people of all ages and abilities from serious athletes to Nordic walkers to those who just wanted to do their bit and have fun (and not just limited to staff/students of the university). It is nice that it is being built up into more of an ‘event’ with bouncy castles for kids (and big kids), face painting and live music, all which really helps create a lovely atmosphere.

Back in ‘The Point’ (the student union bar), the event concluded with a presentation from my colleague Steve Knott and Professor Bob Rees from the cancer research centre. They presented awards to the fastest male and female (both who ran the run quicker than it takes me to make a cup of tea), for one lucky person whose name was pulled out the hat and won a IPad mini and (obviously) for best fancy dress (where you could imagine the judges had their work cut out).  They also talked about the good work the cancer research centre is doing, what research they are focusing on and how donations like the sponsorship money raised from the day is being spent.

It was the little moments which attracted the event to me and made be proud of myself for being involved, from joking with the stewards as I’m sprinting around to comparing ‘horror stories’ with the other runners when we were back in the comfort of the student union bar.  It is also the fact that I am part of something special and, no matter how relatively small the contribution seems, I was still helping with the ground breaking research which is being done by the John van Geest centre.  You just have to watch a few minutes of Professor Rees presentation to see how dedicated and passionate the team are about their work and it is heart-warming to feel that you have somehow been involved with that.

The event finished with more beautiful acoustic music from Anwyn and Yasmin and then the crowd started to slowly disperse to go home and have some hard earned rest and recuperation…or stay in costume and wander the streets of Nottingham (hey, each to their own).

By Rob Johnstone

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