1 October 2008


The following account was given of a fund raising effort by the Saint Lazarus Ladies -

St Lazarus Ladies at the Adidas Womens 5k Challenge

Hyde Park - 7 September 2008

We woke to the sound of rain beating down on the roof and the howl of an easterly wind.  Mentally rehearsing ever more unconvincing excuses “I fell down the stairs and broke my leg”, “the cat had eight kittens and couldn’t be left”, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and into the cold.  By the time we got to Hyde Park, things were looking a little brighter (at least the rain had stopped), and we all began to assemble at the meeting area under the “L to M” banner with, amongst others, Mental Health and so felt quite at home. Our intrepid band consisted of Helen Beck, Roz Chappius, Mandy Rush, Trisha Sheridan, Rosemary Waddy, Bridget Whiting and me. After pulling on our new St Lazarus T-shirts we picked our way across the, by now, rather muddy grass to the podium area to take part in the pre-race warm-up.  Fifteen minutes of contortions and arm-waving later, we felt thoroughly warm, a little exhausted and ready for the start.

It was now time to “hurry up and wait”.  Fifteen thousand women is a mighty number to squeeze through the starting gate and we rank amateurs in the “35 minutes plus” category were somewhere near the back of the crowd.  By the time we got over that start line the loudspeakers were announcing the arrival of the elite front-runners at the finish!

Although we St Lazarus ladies set off as a group, this did not last long and everyone found their own pace. The supporters club were enthusiastic in their encouragement and cheered us on from various vantage points around the route, the fitter amongst them running from point to point to wave us past. We all had a marvellous run. However, anyone who thinks Hyde Park is flat is wrong. A kilometre from the end and just to add a piquance of interest, a hill had been thrown in. This is just what we wanted after hurling ourselves over the last four kilometres. However, with brave hearts and a fixed smile on our lips we sprinted up the hill. Why? Because a camera was cunningly placed at the top. O, what relief, just 800 meters to go and we were over the finish line and being presented with our medals (for taking part) and a goody bag to investigate later.

None of us broke any records, but we were all safely home with a feeling of relief, and not too many blisters and aches – although they made themselves felt the next day.  After a quick wash and brush up, we rejoined our willing band of supporters to make our way to an excellent lunch.  Eighteen of us sat down for an excellent meal in the good company of the St Lazarus family.  A few glasses of wine and a hearty meal and body and soul were revived.   We could look back with a sense of satisfaction on a day spent in good company and having raised over £2,000 for the St Lazarus Hospice Association.

And now to plan next year’s exercise - another run or perhaps a cycle ride for all the family? All ideas will be gratefully received.

Susanna Morriss