Pretty Muddy = Pretty Awesome!

Yesterday was a pretty fantastic day 🙂

Race for Life is always an important day for me, and I’ve been doing it for 9 years now. Every year there are more people in my thoughts as I do it, as more and more people seem to be affected by cancer.

Last year as I was undergoing chemotherapy, I walked the 5k with a great group of friends (Alice’s Barmy Army!) who had all supported me throughout, we were virtually last but it was a day to remember. This year I knew when the registration for events went live I was going to step it up a gear! Treatment would be well and truly done with by the time race day came around, and you know me, I like a challenge! So along with my friends we excitedly signed up to the 5k “Pretty Muddy” event! I planned to increase the group to full Barmy Army numbers on my return to work in March. Too slow!! It was all sold out, obviously a very popular choice!

Last week I returned from holiday (Disneyland Paris – amazing!) to the realisation it was only a week until the big day…I hadn’t run for some time! So I dragged myself round my old, hilly running route (1st time in about 18 months!) in very late preparation. It just made me realised how under prepared I was but nevermind!

I was asked if I would go on stage at the Race for Life 5k run in the morning, before my event in the afternoon, and speak a little bit about my experience with cancer. Well anyone that knows me will understand how daunting I found the prospect of being in front of thousands of people and er, talking! But I said yes. I know, surprised myself! We met up with the lovely Cancer Research crew and I very nervously went on stage, with Tom, Patient Liaison Manager, who has known me and my family for years now and been a great support to us all. I spoke about my 2 run in’s with cancer and no my mind didn’t go completely blank as I’d feared! (My memory is really bad these days, chemo fog??) It was a wonderful sight to stand there and see all those ladies, a sea of pink, all with their own special reasons for being there. The word inspirational doesn’t really do it justice.
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So that was that all done and over with. Well not quite, I was absolutely thrilled to receive my Flame of Hope Special Commendation Award, a total surprise! So many amazing people do so much for CRUK I feel very honoured to have been recognised in this way.
Thank you Cancer Research UK.
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After joining in a bit of the warm up, we headed to the finish line, where Macie and I were given the fantastic job of holding the finish line for the first runner home to cross! Not one but two girls crossed together, hand in hand, really lovely to see and epitomises the day really, everyone joining together for a great cause.

Next stop the finish funnel giving out goodies to the all the fantastic ladies and children that had run, jogged, walked in 25 degree heat, it must have been a very long hard slog for them! An incredible achievement for everyone.

Time to get some shade and lunch before my event. I met up with my friends and we were pretty nervous about Pretty Muddy by now! We headed for the start line, the first wave of the first ever Pretty Muddy in Wales! The warm up was, er, very warm! I was tired by the end of that alone!

We decided to stay together as a group of four, it was about having fun and doing it together. So off we set, headed for the first obstacle…inflatable pink tubes to haul yourself over in whatever manner you could! Then came a bit of that dreaded running stuff, through Bute Park, the shade of the trees was much appreciated at times!

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The next obstacle was climbing over a barrier and into a pool of mud. Yes! Bring on the mud! Closely followed by two sets of rows of tyres to run/jump through. As I headed for them I said “I am bound to fall over here” Yep, I most certainly did, right in front of the photographer…

Closely followed by cargo nets to crawl under…with mud underneath. Whilst most took the approach of bum up, least contact with mud the better, we opted for the run and slide through tactics. SO much fun!! We were plastered! There was a bit of mud throwing between ourselves too just for added messiness! Some of the other participants thought we’d lost the plot.

We headed for the tunnels, 4 in a row so we all went through in a line together, with more mud slinging as we exited them! We were delighted to hear we were past half way at this point and headed on to the next stop. As we worked our way through the ropes (didn’t fall over this time) we heard “You lot are the dirtiest by far” which we were pretty proud of!!

Across Pontcanna Fields and back to the scrambling net climb, which I failed 😦 😦 I got to the top and my pathetic fear of heights sent me back down the same side, had to pass on that one. All the others managed it though, well done ladies!

Over the bridge across the Taff, which looked mighty appealing as we were now incredibly thirsty and caked in drying mud! Now we were back in Bute Park, it was great to see and hear the crowds of supporters! We approached the penultimate obstacle, basically a mud bath, with men there shovelling extra mud over everyone in case they weren’t dirty enough. This made sure even the cleanest runners were top to toe filthy afterwards! It was absolutely hilarious fun! As I got out the other side I fell again!! Went down with a right thud slap bang in front of friends and family watching!!

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We were done in as we headed for the big pink inflatable slide of awesomeness. Weighed down by heavy wet muddy clothes we looked a sight! We all hit the slide at the same time, climbed the net to the top, joined hands and…..whooshhhhhhh, down we went…into the final mudbath, heads under and everything!! Came up laughing our heads off, ran to the finish line holding hands and big smiles across our faces. Pretty Muddy complete!

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We LOVED it! All of us will definitely be back for more next year it was brilliant!
On a personal note, yes I found it tough, but as I keep having to remind myself, only 5 months after a year of hardcore treatment – not bad. Thanks to my lovely friends Clare, Sue and Emma for being total nutters and making it so much fun!

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A fantastic day was had by all 🙂

Oh, and that research we were all fundraising for…well we raised over £400, thanks to all who donated!
THIS is what research does…12 months later, look at me now 🙂
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