Race Day! I stood beneath the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels waiting for the race to get under way surrounded by eager bodies of all shapes (mostly fit and slim!) dancing on their toes. DJs, local celebrities and general cheerleaders kept the crowd pumped up as we waited for the *GO*. How great it felt see this day, this Team EMSP get together and Run for MS.
The crowd took off at a pace I’d not experienced before. I was pulled/pushed along as thousands of people went fast and steady up the inclines, raced down the slopes of the tunnels and glided along. The race route took us through the commercial centre, along the parks and into the suburbs before ending at the Grand Place in the centre of old city of Brussels.
My great memory is the Camaraderie of the Crowd, stepping into stride with a stranger, someone I might only share a bit
of the journey with but it was enough to keep us going, to keep them going and for me stay in the rhythm long enough to glide onwards. I listened as friends chatted their way along, family cheering on their loved ones, people annoyed at the inconvenience of traffic diversions, children with homemade signs for ‘Mama’. There were a few lonely stretches where no-one was cheering and I’d play through some memories/stories/songs in my head, enjoy the new sights and run.
Mostly though, it was just me, my body, no thinking. With more 5 miles to go, I slowed down with aching cramp and resistance my legs. I managed it by stopping, stretching and walking/edging on. There were another two miles to go, I stopped- cramped and ready to walk the rest of the way. Then I heard a beaming “Allez! Tout en descente! Allez!” from a fellow runner- with his medal! He was so encouraging, telling me it was all down hill from here…I could do it! He flashed his medal for emphasis. I made it home to the finish line in abut 2hrs 30.