As hundreds of walkers gathered in the grounds of Wollaton Hall, there was a definite upbeat feel. We were all there for one cause, to help raise money for the Prostate Cancer UK.
Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men, with over 47,000 men diagnosed in the UK every year. Every 45 minutes a man dies from prostate cancer, that’s more than 11,000 men every year. With 1 in 8 men likely to be diagnosed in their lifetime, there’s an urgent need to raise awareness of this form of cancer.
As we assemble, many are going through the ancient ritual of applying the war paint before a great battle, albeit under the guise of T-Shirts, caps, ban-banners, wristbands and the like, all adorned with PCUK logos. The compere starts the motivation with the count down to the off. Introducing one of the Directors to PCUK, who gives thanks for all those taking part in the day’s events. – More rousing words of encouragement.
More of a sombre moment as one of the fallen takes the stage to really remind us why we are there. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and immediately started his treatment to fight the disease. As is sometimes forgotten, the problem is a big part of the close family and love ones around them. Too many times we all fail to see the help and guidance that is given when we are at our lowest. This man stood in front of hundreds, told of how he was given the all clear after an operation, knowing that he will always have the nagging doubt of the cancers’ return. Knowing that his sons’ odds of risk had been increased. Knowing that he owed an immense debt of gratitude to his partner who helped him through. – And that’s why we are here – to help in anyway we can.
More motivation, this time physical with the ladies from a local fitness center as they took us through some warm up exercises, – the clock was ticking. Time for us to split into our different distance groups. A quick count down and we were off. We ascended towards the Hall with more of an amble than a walk, but the shuffling crowd turned into a line as people found their stride. Twice around the Halls grounds was the objective, but with the day rapidly warming up, this felt like a long way off. The first lap felt slow, people coming from all directions from their various routes, but this gave us plenty of time to take in the wonderful grounds and some of their inhabitants.
Now remember it wasn’t a race! But…you can’t help seeing the 9 people in front of you as a challenge. Two were running, there may have been more, but I had my sights set on the walkers. 2nd lap, I’d got my pace, taken on some water, time to push. The first couple were easy, they slowed on the hill, rookies mistake. Next was the elderly couple I’d been watching from the start. They kept an incredible pace, my self-esteem was knocked further once I’d caught up with them. I praised them on their efforts only to be told that they normally run greater distances. Refocused I pursued my next quarry, a woman that had surged pass me half way around the first lap. No time to stop and talk with this one. Revenge – albeit not severed cold on this hot sweaty day in June. Onward. I was soon in the wake of a well seasoned couple. Once again I joined them for idle chatter. As they told me of their previous year’s endeavours, by keeping their pace at 4mph and that there was only the slow incline to the finish they were well in on their previous years record… not good enough for me… I was off again. The finish was in sight. As I pushed on down the hill to the inflated Finish Arch there was cheering, even though many had been through before me I still felt a winner.
I will now have to spend two weeks in intensive care with exhaustion and dehydration – worth it!
That said…. I wish to thank everyone that has donated towards Prostate Cancer UK. – AND GENTS, KEEP ON CHECKING.