Today I swam 2km in 1 hour 8 minutes. I did so raising money for Macmillan Cancer in their ‘All Out Swim’ event at my local lido. We’re very lucky where we live, a beautiful 50m outdoor pool is ten minutes walk away. In fact it’s the pool that many Olympians used for training in the run up to the 2012 London games. My effort was not quite Olympian standard, like, not even close! I came (out of the 32 people in my ‘wave’) 28th. My time is not a fast one. And yet, I felt on top of the world. I got a personal best, and I completed a challenge that a few months ago, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do.
What I love most about events like that, is the community of people who get involved in them, the participants, the volunteers, the supporters. There’s a real ‘community’ feel to charity sporting events, and I always love being part of them. Everyone always wants each person to do well, anyone struggling will always get a helping hand, and regardless of ability and where you are in your own personal journey, the atmosphere is a positive and generous one.
I had a team of seven, including a friend, my parents, my brother, my mother in law and my two daughters. And although it’s a cliche, every time I looked up and saw one of them cheering me on, it gave me that extra boost. It made the difficult bits easier. Then as an extra treat at the end, after quite a full on day at work, my husband arrived just after I finished with a proud smile, a cuddle and a coffee!
My youngest spent most of the time asleep on one of her favourites, and my toddler every so often would appear at the end of the lane with someone shouting ‘well done Mummy’, before running off back to the play area. But it really meant the world to have them there. In a few weeks, we’ll be doing a 10k walk with the girls (one being carried and one in the buggy, but they’ll be there!!) an event we did two years ago when Scarlett was a tiny baby, so ensuring her sister did the same first event seemed somewhat apt! And although they’ll make up their own mind when they’re older, my hope is that they will also love the community of charity sporting events. For me (someone who regularly played netball before the two pregnancies but is definitely not described as athletic..!!) charity sporting events give me several personal goals throughout the year, motivating reasons to head down to the open air pool even if it’s raining, or re-attempt jogging, or take part in a class. I’m never going to be a world renowned record breaker, but it doesn’t matter. I can sometimes break my own records if I want to, and take part in events for brilliant causes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being competitive, (when it comes to more academic matters I can be very competitive, especially when working on projects that could lead to being published if you end up being the worthiest contributor!) but when it comes to sport I’m just not up to a standard where it’s worth being worried about how I measure up to other people…! I take part, I join in, I have fun, and it keeps me active, and if my girls can join in with me as they get older, even better!
So today I swam 2km relatively slowly and not very impressively, but more importantly, as a community, as a group, All Out Swim raised over £21,000 for Macmillan Cancer! A huge well done to my fellow participants, a huge thank you to my supporters, a big well done to the Macmillan All Out Swim organisers including a massive shout out to all the volunteers who made it a brilliant event and thank you to all the staff at the Sandford Parks Lido; what a day! See you next year!
Photo from the Swim@Macmillan Facebook page.
For more information on Macmillan, see the following link https://www.macmillan.org.uk/