On Sunday 11th May 2008, my husband Ken and my friends Jeannette and Yvonne (a manager at Fujitsu who organised the entries) arrived in Blackpool just 20 minutes before the beginning of the race. All the roads to the promenade were blocked off and the roads into town all had roadworks!!
The race is sponsored by the British Heart Foundation, which has links to CRY. There were 3000 runners and in the brilliant sunshine I was glad I wasn’t one of them!
John Wild, Neil Skellam and Ian Wood (all Fujitsu employees) together with Luke Wild (John’s son) and Matthew Atherton (Jeannette’s son) were in the middle of the pack as the race began. None of them had ever run before and although they had done a little bit of training they felt a tad unprepared compared to the running club racers (no excess fat and buns of steel!) who were placed at the front so they could try for the race record or at least a personal best.
There were, of course, the usual fancy dress runners: The Tiller Girls, dragons, St. Trinians Girls and Superman etc. There was also a troupe of army cadets in full gear with loaded backpacks and a fireman in full kit. Plus there were several other runners in CRY T-shirts and vests – which meant that even more funds would be raised for CRY at this event.
At 10.45am the tape was removed and those competitors in wheelchairs were the first to set off. Then at 11.00am the main race began. The record for the Blackpool 10K is 29 minutes and a few seconds, so we thought that we would be OK for at least an hour before our first team members put in an appearance at the finishing line.
We wandered down to the lower promenade and waited by the filter lanes that the competitors walk down once past the post. Unfortunately, the record wasn’t broken (it was probably too hot) but the winner, who also won last year, came in at just over 30 minutes. Next to arrive was the first wheelchair competitor and then the first woman.
In dribs and drabs, the club runners finished before the first ‘normal’ runners with a few more wheelchairs interspersed. Imagine our amazement then when Matthew Atherton flew past the post in 42 minutes and 27 seconds!!
I have to mention here that he is after all only 19 years old and a PE student, but he was out on Saturday night with his girlfriend at the movies eating an extra large bucket of popcorn and a seriously oversized coke!
Then came Neil in 52 minutes. Luke, who is only 18, finished in just under an hour. Both Luke and Neil are full on redheads and running in the heat must have been torture for them. The last one of our team crossed the line in 1 hour and 9 minutes.
Matthew Atherton finished in 42m 27s. In total the boys and men raised an amazing £1,270 for the Louise Worth Memorial Fund within CRY. Matthew has even said that he is now going to train and run a marathon!!
I want to thank all of them for taking the time to find sponsors and for actually running the race in Louise’s memory.