Jo Sopala is Director of Health Professional Programmes at the MS Trust. She has signed up to run the British 10K in July and is still trying to decide if running is her new-found lifelong passion, or just a slightly strange midlife crisis!
Here she explains more about her road to the 10K and why she wants to encourage others to get involved.
Run with me!
I’ve got to be honest, these are not words I ever thought I’d hear myself utter. Until last June it had been over 30 years since I’d even attempted running. I’m afraid I was one of those girls who got teased in PE at 11 and then just stopped trying, to avoid embarrassment. And now, here I am trying to cajole you into dusting off those trainers and joining me in running the iconic British 10K straight through the heart of London.
Apparently this is the only 10K where you'll run across Westminster Bridge, and with no traffic or buses to get in the way of the sights. Although, I’ve got to be honest, as a relatively new runner I’m still focused on trying to stay up straight, shoulders back, breathe deeply and, oh yes, put one foot in front of the other!
If you’re worried that you’re not much of a runner, or that it has been a while since you last ran 10K, or even that 10K sounds too much and you can only manage 5K, please don't be put off. Let’s put this in perspective. Yes, there will be some super fast runners there and they will run the course in the time it takes me to run less than 5K, but what running has taught me in the last year is:
- Everyone is running their own race
- As fast as you can is fast enough
- There’s no shame in coming last – actually you get the loudest cheer because everyone else is back before you!
- The running community are an immensely encouraging bunch
And most importantly, if you’re part of the MS Trust team, you’re doing something incredible to support people with MS, so whether you run it or walk it is irrelevant!
So I’ll be there on Sunday 15th July. I’m running with a special team of friends from my running club and we’ll all be wearing tutus, even the very good natured male member of the team, Stu! We still have 30 places left on the team, so why not sign up and join me? I promise you, no matter how hard it is, we’ll feel fantastic when we finish. We’ll have done something wonderful to help raise awareness of MS and funds for the MS Trust, and we can all have a drink together to celebrate at the post-race reception at the pub!
The registration fee is £25 and we’ll all be rewarded with a lovely medal at the end. The MS Trust is asking for a minimum sponsorship of £150 each (or a reduced amount of just £500 for a team of four). We’ve been raising our funds by running cake sales and a quiz, as well as asking for sponsorship. People have been incredibly supportive and we’re close to our £1,000 target already! If it all sounds a bit daunting don’t worry, just have a chat with Claire in our fundraising team who can share lots of fundraising tips and advice to help you along the way.
I really hope to see a few of you on the starting line!
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