Half Marathon in aid of Richmond
What am I doing?’ I thought as I stood on Sliema sea front at 6.30 one cold, dark, windy morning in February waiting for a bus to head up to Mdina to begin my first half marathon. I thought this again as I stood in the bitter cold at Mdina waiting for the run to start. And then – out came the sun, the band played and off we went. This is great, I thought, Malta looks beautiful today, the spring flowers are out and everything is glistening from yesterday’s rain. Two hours and 47 minutes later I crossed the finish line exhausted and in agony – I was dehydrated and was suffering from severe cramp. It took 3 days for my legs to stop hurting!
So what was I doing and was it worth it? I started running seriously in April 2010 – my aim being to do one of Cancer Research UK’s Race’s for Life and raise some money in memory of my dad who died of cancer. All of a sudden, I got the bug – I was running 3 times a week or more and loving it. I found running 6,7, then 8 miles wasn’t a problem. In October 2010, I ran my first 10K again raising money for cancer research. One day, mum, who lives on Gozo mentioned there was a Marathon in Malta – so I looked it up on the internet. There was a half marathon course and most of it was downhill – interesting I thought – so I entered. Then the problems started, my knee began to hurt every time I went running and my feet began to get serious cramp. I went to see a sports injury specialist who told me my legs were a mess (too much running, not enough stretching) and suggested I stopped running for a time. I did stop for a short time, did all the exercises I’d been given, joined the gym and tried to stay fit but still the knee kept hurting. Eventually, I realised I wouldn’t be able to run the half marathon, but I would be able to walk it and maybe run a few kilometres. So that’s what I did, I ran about half the distance and walked the rest – and amazingly still finished about half way through the field.
But I still haven’t really answered the question why did I do this? I did it to raise money – for two charities, the Richmond Foundation and the Anglican Cathedral Organ fund. The church played a major role in Dad’s life (as it continues to in Mum’s). I hope that one day the bells of the Cathedral will ring out across Valetta, but that can’t happen until the fabric of the building is secure and other important work, like the restoration of the organ, is completed. The Richmond Foundation is a special organisation that supports people with mental health difficulties. Over the years, in my private and work life, I have been blessed by the amazing abilities of people who give time, hope and life to people suffering from mental health problems. In my experience, services supporting mental health suffers don’t get the funding they need due to the stigma and fear people feel when confronted with mental illness.
I thank all those who sponsored me and supported me. I hope the money raised is used for the good of the people of the Maltese Islands. Was it worth it – yes it was. God bless. Annette