HOOP member Cathy’s fantastic fundraising by completing Greenwich Park 5k run

A huge thank you from HOOP UK to member Cathy for fundraising by running her first 5k at Greenwich Park. A great personal achievement and inspirational story. Keep it up. 

I found out about HOOP (UK) agreenparkbout 18 months ago after watching Fat, The Fight of my life (the first episode I saw featured our lovely Beth Clegg). This series left me feeling so inspired, todiscover that there is hope, if others have overcome obstacles then so can I! Since then I’ve been trying to challenge myself because if nothing changes – nothing changes!

Last October I completed my first 5k at Greenwich Park. I almost backed out at the last minute due to nerves as I thought I was going to look silly in front of all those professional runners. I’m so glad that Sharon Pritchard talked me out of it! Her words of wisdom of aiming to complete, not compete is something that I’ve held onto ever since. I did complete it and I also raised £285 for HOOP (UK).

About six months ago, my friend suggested that I might like to take part with her in The Thames Bridges Challenge, a 20km trek from Putney Bridge to Tower Bridge crossing 16 bridges along the way. This little voice within me came from out from nowhere and said ‘Yes!’

Over the summer months I started walking, just short walks at first and each time I tried to walk that little bit further. I’d have a walk around the local park, into town, in the countryside – sometimes with friends as it’s nice to walk and talk, and sometimes alone where I could think about things. I took part in a couple of 5k Race for Life events at Epsom and Hyde Park and had a couple of longer training walks
The challenge day arrived – again I didn’t feel prepared! The day started with a rain shower, my journey to the start was a challenge in itself due road closures and missed train connections – but I didn’t give up which put me in good stead for the actual event itself. The clouds disappeared, the sun came out and after our Zumba warm up off we walked. It was tough and I had to grit my teeth at times to get through it – I had to stretch out a calf cramp I got up a flight of stairs at Waterloo Bridge, dodge the busy crowds at the Southbank and the shoulder ache from my rucksack on that final stretch. The strange thing is that even during these uncomfortable moments I did enjoy the experience and would do it all again! Walking with others made it a pleasure and they really helped me focus on the good things going on when I needed it.

The best thing about accomplishing something outside of your comfort zone is not just the happiness and buzz you get, but also knowing that at the same time a great charity like HOOP (UK) is also benefiting. At the moment I’ve raised £300 for this challenge.