On the 8th September 2019, I will be running the UK Fast City of Salford 10k with friends and family in aid of Brain Tumour Research.
It’s going to be an incredibly proud day for me and my family as I run in memory of my mum, Julie, who we will have sadly lost 10 years ago on the 5th September and Pidda our much loved family friend, who we also lost this year after his own 10 year battle with tumours.
I’ve got roughly 10 weeks to get into shape for my first 10K (I’m currently running 5k’s, but more on that later) and TQUK is showing their support along the way as well – some will be running, some will be sponsoring, some will be sharing their story.
10K for 10 years seems fitting.
Brain Tumour Research
The running team and I are raising money for Brain Tumour Research as it’s the horrible disease that kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. And yet historically, surprisingly and alarmingly, it only receives 1% funding of the national spend on cancer research.
Brain Tumour Research aims to find a cure for brain tumours, simple. They are the only national charity in the UK that is dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours and they lead the call for greater support and action into what scientists have called ‘the last battleground against cancer.’
I started my training a few weeks ago, increasing lung capacity, getting the legs warmed up and learning some new routes around the TQUK office for after-work runs. Now it’s game time. Over the next few weeks, I aim to, with the help of the team, keep you up to date with training, sponsorship targets and thanks and get prepared for what will be an incredible day on September 8th.
This is for you Mum.
Week 10 – Salford 10k
Final week preparations got underway with skipping our weekly run for a well-deserved rest day, great start! This involved a quick trip to the local pub to make sure we were carb-loading correctly for the main event. This would allow us to avoid any last-minute injuries, overstretching and helped to build a good team spirit. I was very appreciative of a low key week in the run-up to the big day.
Charity Sports Day
The long-anticipated Training Qualification UK charity sports day finally arrived on the Friday before the run. A selection of indoor activities from beanbag throwing to ladder sprints was on the cards, and the competition was fierce. It was really great to see the whole office up for it and getting involved in such a good cause.
Of course, in true TQUK style, we had a ‘sports’ dress down day theme and everyone contributed with all funds going to Brain Tumour Research. I managed to come out on top with some impressive speed work in one challenge but my beanbag throwing wasn’t so great. Ash came in 2nd place overall with Natasha in 3rd.
I woke up too early on a Sunday for my liking, pre-match nerves kicking in. I picked out my running gear, sleepily put it on, and headed over to my sister’s house to meet up before the event. I was in the zone whilst heading over, not thinking about why we were running but just concentrating on putting my best effort it. When we arrived in Salford, we met up with my sister’s running group before making our way through the crowds to the athlete’s village which was packed full of people dressed up for a variety of charities and groups of nervous runner’s drinking water and having breakfast.
The atmosphere was building nicely and we couldn’t have asked for better weather (well it could have been a touch warmer but blue skies above us was a great sight!).
And then, a sight to behold. Our very own Head of Operations Tom Costigan in his finest running gear, a glass of prosecco in one hand, chicken tikka mayo sandwich in the other. Breakfast/Running preparation of Champions.
Shortly after, the rest of the TQUK running team arrived including Andy, Nathan, Ash, Katherine and Frankie. Everyone was in good spirits and looking forward to the run. We took a few pre-run photos and joined the crowds ready for the warm-up.
We headed over as a group to the starting line up, the Salford 10K had finally arrived.
We stood at around the 1-hour mark so we could start the race together, as a team. However, as soon as the gun went, it was every man for himself, with team spirit being temporarily left behind at the starting line in favour of a fast(ish) finish. Paul was like a blur, Me and Andy shot off like rockets, Ash and Nathan (clearly using their pacing tactics) set off at a fair speed, Katherine and Frankie were skipping along excited by the atmosphere, and Tom (no training mind) started at his desired pace holding up the rear of the team.
The run itself was around Media City in Salford and it was amazing to see the number of people that turned out to support the runners, they really provide you with a much-needed lift around the route. It’s a strange feeling running with a crowd not only watching, but shouting your name to cheer you on. The atmosphere through the run really helped spur us on, or it certainly did for me anyway! The weather was beautiful. It was a lovely crisp but sunny day, making even the sight of Old Trafford coming round the corner, look beautiful (hard for a City fan to say) but, again, it spurred me on further to run away from the stadium as fast as I could!
The final stretch coming over the bridge back to the starting line was incredible, what an atmosphere to finish the race. The crowds were cheering you on and everyone put in a final sprint to the line. It was such a good feeling crossing the finish line and finishing my first 10K.
As soon as I crossed the finish line and my competitive edge subsided, the emotions of the day hit me like a runner’s wall. I felt immensely proud of our achievements and the money we raised for such a good cause, I was instantly thinking of my mum and how proud she would have been that my sister and I ran this for her.
Paul and Andy had already finished so we met up to cheer the rest of the team on going over the finish line. Ash was next, followed closely by Nathan, then Frankie and Katherine who in true team spirit ran over the line holding hands (with Frankie just beating Katherine by 0.01 of a second!). Tom arrived at the finish line to a big cheer from TQUK, looking as fresh as when he started! Here’s the runners times, a tip of the hat to everyone that ran with me and Sarah- you all ran an incredible race.
It’s been a great experience and I’ve really enjoyed having TQUK behind me the whole way, helping support my sister and me. It was great to have as many runners as we did from work and I’d like to thank everyone that donated and took part. We’ve been able to raise £2000 towards Brain Tumour Research which was double our initial target. The money we raised means that we paid for a day and a half’s worth of research towards Brain Tumour Research which is a fantastic achievement and made the aches and pains after the race entirely worth it.
Now to sign up for my next 10K and beat the time!
That was for you Mum.
Thomas Concannon (TJ), TQUK Junior Graphic Designer