Supporter Kirsty Herrington sends us this report from the British London 10K fundraiser.
Whilst the majority of the UK population were soaking up the sun in mid-July, a team of SA-YES supporters were out in full force for the annual British London 10k. A team of 11 runners – Andy, Celly, Chloe, Christian, Claire, Kirsty, Natice, Pauline, Petra, Sabine and Sarah were supported by Julie, Catherine, Cathy, Clare, Kasia, Keith, Lena, Murph and Nicole – armed with banners, pom poms and loud voices - all endured the hot weather on Sunday 14th July in the name of a very good cause.
The weekend kicked off with a mid-afternoon meet and greet on Saturday, where the majority of runners and supporters were introduced to one another, race packs and SA-YES supporter packs handed out and a refreshing drink consumed by all to cool down (that was our excuse anyway). Then after a catch up, it was time for dinner (for Chloe) and an early night for all (in theory) before the big race.
Sunday was an early start for some and an even earlier start for others making their way into London from outside of the city. By the time we all met at 8am sharp, the sun was already out and temperatures high. A lot of photos and videos were taken before supporters made their way to find their cheerleading spot, and the rest of us joined thousands of runners in heading to the start line.
The course itself, beginning at Piccadilly, took us close to some of London’s most iconic sights, including the Ritz, Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square. Streets were lined with supporters all in fine voice, with some happy to throw bottles of water over runners, which was very much appreciated as the temperatures rose. We were lucky to pass the very vocal team of SA-YES supporters twice during the route, and their cheering spurred us on to the end.
Despite the heat, runners for Team SA-YES made it across the finish line all in good time and, armed with our medals, complimentary bottle of Gatorade and impressive t-shirt tans, found the rest of our team at a nearby public house. Once the pub opened, we all enjoyed a refreshing drink before we posed for more pictures – complete with medals and bigger smiles this time – and Julie helped spread the word of SA-YES to fellow customers.
The team came together once again Sunday evening for a well-deserved meal – and enough garlic bread to feed the entire UK population – and a drink or two to celebrate our achievement. Once we could eat no more, we headed outside where Nicole and Celly were busy adding the final amount raised at that point onto the Team SA-YES banner (£3,400), and posed for more pictures. Then we embarked on a mission to find a pub open in London on a Sunday evening. Later that evening, after a LOT of laughing, it was time for the team to say their goodbyes and agree to meet up soon for the next fundraising event, which we all hope will be soon.
Below you’ll find a selection of quotes from just some of Team SA-YES who made the weekend so enjoyable…
“Even if running is much about convincing your mind that your body can make it to the finish line, all the help and motivation that you can get from fellow runners, supporters, and givers makes a huge difference. Once the finish line was behind me, I knew I wouldn’t give up on helping SA-YES anytime soon. I now feel better about myself, and I believe again that we can change the world. Indeed, I met beautiful people on Sunday: their smile and their concentration of good humour for SA-YES were bliss. I will deeply miss these people till next time. Team SA-YES is really the best”. -Celly
“I thought I’d say how much I thoroughly enjoyed supporting SA-YES and believe me, it takes a lot to persuade me out of bed at 4:30am! I couldn’t have hoped to meet a more open, generous, fun and friendly group of likeminded people! In short, everyone and everything was fantastic! And so much money was raised for such a good cause! (I’m still in awe of all those who ran in such fierce heat! Hat’s off to the runners – serious commitment!)” -Catherine
“Big congrats to all the people that took part, I had huge admiration for all of you running in that heat and keeping such good spirits. Of course us spectators endured big challenges too; carrying the banner, deciding where to hang the banner, figuring out how to hang the banner etc! A wonderful day for a wonderful cause.” -Cathy
“It was lovely to meet everyone and I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone again for the next event. Every single person was such fun, runners and supporters, we all did an amazing job. I hope by the next event everyone will be accustomed to my ‘food swings’ too, ‘I’m not rude, I’m hungry!’ Sorry again!” -Chloe
“A fab day filled with fun, laughter and lots of sweat from both runners and supporters alike – boy, was it hot! Hats off to the fantastic people running for a great cause, you guys were amazing.
It was an excellent way to spend a Sunday, a huge pleasure being among such great company and I’m looking forward to doing it again!” -Lena
“SA-YES changes lives. Not only in South Africa by helping people but also those who support the charity. It definitely changed my life in an amazingly wonderful way. Thanks to Julie for this awesome idea and for organising it, and many thanks to all my sponsors! Thank you for this opportunity, which made me so happy and continues to motivate me to run the next British London 10k for SA-YES! I’m so glad I participated in this event – thank you”. -Natice
“It was a pleasure to meet everyone, I think I got round to speaking to you all at some point (if I didn’t then I’m sorry). Hopefully the next event will not only be a chance to raise more money for a great charity, but to also to forge stronger bonds within a great group of people. You can always count on my support in the future”. -Murph
“That was an amazing experience, running for a charity, in the middle of this gorgeous city that is London. Getting to meet you all, put faces to names, share these emotions and this happiness, it wouldn’t be worth it without you. I feel like I owe something to SA-YES, like I didn’t give any support and they gave me so much in return, is that weird? I keep thinking about what Gillian said once ‘There is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need’, she was most definitely right, I felt like I could run 10 more kilometres at the end! I never thought I’d enjoy running as much as I do now and I hope we can do it again next year. I’m so glad SA-YES will be able to invest more into the future of these young people”. -Pauline
“I was thrilled to meet so many like-minded people who knew why we spent that memorable weekend in London, and that was to raise money for SA-YES. I hope this was just a start to more successful and fun fundraise activities. A huge Thank you to Julie who did a great job organising everything – as always”. -Sabine
“Thank you all so much to those who answered my request for runners and supporters. Without you there would not have been a Team SA-YES, and we would not have raised the fantastic amount of £3400 which we have so far, with more to come I believe. I had a really fun day, and I hope you all did too. It was a pleasure to spend the weekend with such kind and generous people in aid of SA-YES. I look forward to seeing you all again at the next SA-YES event…. Hopefully not in the too distant future…..” -Julie
Finally, on behalf of the team, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to support us and donate to SA-YES. If you haven’t and would like to, it’s not too late – please visit our JustGiving page and give anything that you can. THANK YOU.