If you’d have gone down in the woods the other day you would have had quite a big surprise. A dozen men and women in bright red fundraising t-shirts gathered around a six foot fibreglass bear preparing to run a 10k trail in the summer sunshine.
To explain (‘bear’ with me on this one…haha, there’s plenty more where that came from, sorry to say), this was a community event organised by the borough council and businesses, including where I work at the local building society.
We were promoting the launch of the The Big Sleuth, a public art trail in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The premise is simple enough – sponsors pay for the commissioning of professional artists who create unique sculptures around a set theme, in this case the sun bear.
More than 100 have been painted and are now in residence in public spaces across the city. When the trail ends in September, each piece gets auctioned off and the proceeds go to the hospital. Paw-fect!
And so the Sandwell Sleuth 10k was created – a run from bear to bear (six in total) led by Black Country fundraising legend and endurance runner extraordinaire ‘Bind Dave’ Heeley. I’ve mentioned Blind Dave before in my blog and, before you ask, yes he is blind and no he doesn’t mind people calling him ‘Blind Dave’, in fact it’s something he’s freely adopted himself.
The man is incredible – he’s ran seven marathons in seven days across seven different continents, he’s completed the gruelling Marathon Des Sables (the first visually impaired runner to do so) and this year he is running all 25 Great Run events in support of the Albion Foundation.
I couldn’t think of a better running partner for this event and I enjoyed chatting with him and his sight guides who, of course, have to be just as fit and committed to the cause, as we made our way around the route.
When the run finished in West Bromwich town centre, next to the bear my company has sponsored, we were made to feel like heroes and greeted by 30 screaming school children, photographers, a TV crew and even an orchestra! A fantastic day and another reminder of why I love to run.
There’s also a video of our antics here if you fancy a look:
In other news, well all the above shows you that I’m back out running again. I took a week off after my thigh injury flared up again and then got back on my marathon programme last Monday. Short mileage, with an 8 mile long run on the Sunday.
I’d be lying if I said my thigh wasn’t sore, both while running and resting, but in no way is it debilitating. This week it’s eased off a bit more, which is encouraging, and only this morning I tried going running wearing a thigh compression sleeve to see if that makes any difference.
It sure is a snug fit, but did a good job of trapping heat and keeping the muscles warm. I don’t know if it will aid recovery or stave off any further damage, but I’m willing to give anything a go. The big test will be this weekend and a planned 12 mile long run. Slow and steady, fingers firmly crossed.
I’m still dead set on running the Birmingham marathon come October and will be super ‘grizzly’ if my thigh can’t ‘bear’ the strain.
I’ll get my coat…
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