“’Ey up! T’wer a reet grand day out” as a stereotypical Yorkshire local might have said (but didn’t.)
The first Yorkshire Marathon took place on Sunday with a Team CAFOD presence of five runners.
At the CAFOD cheering point, we had arrived early to make sure we saw each of our runners. We set up our sail banners and gazebo to make sure we were visible but when we were asked if we were an “official charity partner” we had to come clean. We could keep the banners but the gazebo had to go. Luckily for us and the runners, the rain held off, so no harm done.
The gun set the 6,000 athletes off at 9.30am and just after 11.30am, the eventual winner, Kenyan Edwin Korir was moving effortlessly past the CAFOD cheering point at 24 miles. He looked barely out of breath as he continued his 5 minutes per mile pace with his countryman John Mutai following a minute or two behind. Tomas Abyu was the first British athlete to pass who went on to finish in 3rd place.
A short while later, the first woman to pass was Helen Kostie, another Kenyan, with the two British women, Holly Rush and Philippa Taylor in pursuit.
All the children were keen to wave their CAFOD flags as the runners started to come past in greater numbers and the cheering team grew as our office volunteer, Luke and his mum Linda, came to lend their support. One by one the Team CAFOD athletes went past, each one getting a loud cheer and some much needed encouragement. Shouts of “Only two miles to go” were greeted with a smile, behind which seemed to be a tortured body saying “But I’ve already done 24!”
Nick, another volunteer dropped by with a couple of friends, so the cheering became even louder and eventually all five of our athletes had gone past.
The Team CAFOD runners were James Corr, Fr. Paul Dowling, Graham Trory, Nick Gunson and Andrew Charles.
We have already received an email from one runner who wants to sign up for next year!
When we speak to people overseas who are living in poverty, they seem to imagine that CAFOD supporters are rich people who donate without any effort on their part. We explain that our supporters are people who will run 5, 10, 13 or 26 miles and really put themselves out to help them, they are amazed and very grateful. Although they have very little materially to give, they often tell us that they will pray for CAFOD and its supporters.
Perhaps that’s what kept our runners going into those last, long and seemingly endless two miles. Not our cheering and shouts of encouragement at all, but the power of prayer.