My Run To the Beat Experience

A note from Julie Tomlin, who ran the Run To the Beat half marathon to benefit OTSK.

On 26th September, 13 runners, some experienced and some not, (myself included in the latter) joined forces to undertake the Run To The Beat half marathon to help raise funds for Off The Street Kids. The months leading up to event day involved quite a bit of organising, whilst we searched for runners to help form our team. Eventually, we were very delighted to have ‘TEAM OTSK’ in place and ready for action!

Months of training and healthy eating lay ahead for all of us, both of which I am not a natural at, but I realised how important it was that I had to be in reasonable shape in order to complete the race, and make sure I didn’t let myself down, and most importantly, didn’t let OTSK down. What we had been building up to for months had finally arrived. Event day was here!

On the morning of the race we had all arranged to meet outside the tube station entrance. There was adrenalin pumped people everywhere, all very excited and nervous to be taking part in this awesome event for their chosen charities. After a quick phone call to Michelle and a few of the runners, pin pointing our location, I started to see OTSK t-shirts emerging from the crowd. Michelle arrived offering a very warm welcome and heartfelt thanks to us all, which was lovely and greatly appreciated. It was a pleasure to meet some of our team before the race, but unfortunately due to tube delays we didn’t get to meet everyone, which was a shame. For those of us who won our battle with the tube, we assembled nervously and excited in anticipation of the start, whilst Andy took a few photos before the race.

The start time quickly arrived and the nerves were now being channelled in to energy. The gun sounded and off we went! The first few miles were amazing; I looked around to see masses of runners, most of whom were also running in aid of a charity. Five miles in, my knee decided it didn’t want to play anymore, it undoubtedly slowed me down, but the fact that complete strangers were spurring me on and telling me to keep going, and reminding myself why I was doing this, it inspired me to carry on. Seven miles in, I got chatting to another runner, spurring each other on, we shared our stories as to why we were running for our chosen charities. I turned a corner and read the street sign, ‘Ha-Ha Road’…..I turned to my fellow runner and realised she too had spotted it, both having a little laugh we decided that the person who had chosen the race route must have a great sense of humour!

As much as I had enjoyed (nearly) every minute of the race, the sign reading 500 metres to go was a welcome site for sure. I reached the finish and realised I had done it, 13.1 miles in Three hours Six minutes. All of ‘TEAM OTSK’ successfully completed the race and have collectively helped to raise much needed funds for OTSK. We are still waiting for the final figure raised, but are confident it will be a healthy amount. Thank you to all those who came down on the day to show support and to all involved, and to all those who sponsored one of OTSK’s runners. It was an amazing and unforgettable day…….Bring on the next event!

Posted in Fundraising
5 comments on “My Run To the Beat Experience
  1. Keith Shone says:


    Thank you for taking time away from your busy life to write and illustrate an account of the OTSK team’s splendid achievement in the recent “Run To The Beat” in London.

    Thank you to ALL members of the team for their selflessness, sacrifice and support of OTSK.

    I admire the discipline, devotion and determination of those who endure the discomfort and the pain of intense physical activity to the benefit of those less fortunate than themselves.

    To balance those positive “d” words I imagine that there must be times of negativity, of doubt, despair and dread as another practice session starts; the rain pours and the battery in the MP3 player succumbs miles from home at the moment when the need for music’s inspiration and encouragement is at its greatest. The loneliness of the long-distance runner.

    Judging from the weather here in Reading conditions on 26th were ideal for running; cloudy and reasonably cool. I hope that the sun had the good grace to show its face in recognition of your success at the finish.

    I regret that I was unable to sponsor every member of the team. As many entries in my school reports record, “Keith must try harder if he is to succeed”. Well I am trying harder and have my sights focused on next year’s London Marathon. I’m looking forward to news from Michelle and the team about the OTSK representation at an event that continues to amaze and move me. Sponsorship funds are accumulating steadily!

    Best wishes,

    Keith Shone

    Wednesday 13 October 2010

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Keith. OTSK would love to have had a place in the London marathon, but unfortunately none of our runners were given a place (that we know of), and the organisers have a waiting list for charity places to 2015! We didn’t think it worth it. Will you be running on behalf of OTSK?
    kind regards,

  3. Keith Shone says:


    Thank you for your reply and kind words. I was disappointed to learn that OTSK didn’t win a place in next year’s London Marathon. Maybe it’s time for two London Marathons each year – spring and autumn? There would be no trouble filling both events.

    No I won’t be running on behalf of OTSK. I walk more than a marathon to and from work each week and that occupies in total over eight hours weekly. No records broken there!

    The funds I am saving to sponsor an OTSK team will still benefit OTSK but without any of the treadmill training, tears and torn muscles!

    Best wishes,


  4. Julie says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thank you so much for your kind words, and thank you very very much for your generous donation. It is greatly appreciated.

    Yes, it was a little tough at times for all the runners I am sure….but it was worth the pain and suffering for the end result.

    Thank you once again!

    Best wishes


  5. Julie says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thank you for your kind words, and thank you so much for your generous donation, it is greatly appreciated! Yes, I am sure we all had moments of dread, doubt and despair at some point during training, and during the actual race. I know I had my moments! For me though, it was sheer will power, determination, and occasionally reminding myself of the reason why I was doing this, and who I was doing it for that got me across the finish line. Well worth it in the end!

    Thanks to all that helped form ‘TEAM OTSK’. Roll on next year!!

    Thanks again Keith

    Best wishes,

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