New York – 5k and volunteering

As part of my recent obsession for running, whilst I was in New York I decided to take part in the 5k ‘Dash to the Finish’ and volunteer during the NY marathon. The 5k race, the warm up event for the NY marathon, started in Central Manhattan and ended up in Central Park and was a great opportunity to run around NY city and see the sites.

Having ran the London marathon this year I really appreciated the time and the effort put in by the thousands of volunteers. So when I realised that I was going to be in NY during the marathon I immediately thought about whether I could volunteer and was delighted at how easy it was to sign up.

I decided to go to the 16 mile point and hand out Gatorade. 16 miles is a really significant point in a marathon as most of the runners have previously only ran a few miles more than this so this is the point when it really starts to hurt. We started at 7.30am, split into teams of 4 and began setting up our tables of Gatorade. The atmosphere throughout the day was amazing (although not as good as London) and we had a particularly vocal team around us. The thing that really struck me on the day was the appreciation that the runners had for the volunteers and how they expressed it. Us Brits, whilst equally grateful, tend to mutter a thanks to the volunteers or maybe give a quick thumbs up or nod. The Americans, even the quick ones, pause to acknowledge the volunteers and say things like ‘you guys are amazing’ or ‘we couldn’t do this without you’. We ended up finishing around 4.30pm, during that time we witnessed the elite athletes all the way through to those or just wanted to complete 26.2 miles that day.

It was a great day all round and I’m looking forward to more volunteering, possibly at London next year.

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11th challenge completed – Badminton

What I originally thought was going to be a relatively easy challenge to complete, ended up being a little bit more difficult. As with most of the sports that I’ve already tried at some point in my life, I was keen to make sure that the challenge involved taking part in a competitive/organised match.

So despite playing a couple of times in a social environment, I was struggling to find a competition that I could enter. There are loads of events for experienced players and social meet ups but unlike Tennis their aren’t many beginner level tournaments around. It looked like the only way to complete this challenge was to utilise the Badminton element of Racketlon as described in a previous post.

However, by chance I came across Battle Badminton, a Badminton England initiative to encourage participation and competition. So I registered on the site, set up a profile and began challenging people to a game. Unfortunately I didn’t get too many responses until today when a fellow player challenged me to a game at Brentford Leisure Centre.

I was slightly nervous that I was going to be thrashed as despite playing now and again, I am essentially a beginner relying on my hand eye coordination developed from Tennis. Luckily I played quite well and there wasn’t a huge gap between us. We played 5 sets in total and I only lost 3-2. Not a bad start but a defeat all the same. Hopefully I can get a win soon to post online.

http://battle.badmintonengland.co.uk/

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9th and 10th challenges completed – Greco Roman and Freestyle Wrestling

I recently completed the wrestling challenge. Again, as per weightlifting, I wasn’t really sure where to start, but after a few google searches and looking at the British wrestling homepage I came across a club in West London.

I didn’t know what to expect and was hoping that there were going to be others in a similar situation to me, trying out the sport for the first time. Unfortunately, everyone taking part in the session was relatively experienced and I felt a little bit out of place. Overall I found the experience quite strange. The warm up involved practicing flips, fireman’s carries, forward rolls and cartwheels and there wasn’t much guidance as to what I should and shouldn’t get involved in as a first timer.

We were then paired up and started to practice the techniques of both forms of wrestling. Although I didn’t really enjoy it, I did get an appreciate of the strength and agility required to be successful at this sport. Can’t see myself carrying this particular sport!

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