Heroes don’t just wear capes

Joanne Perry (No 1091) was part of Team Sherrards.

Joanne Perry (No 1091) was part of Team Sherrards. - Credit: Archant

We may only be a few days into 2018 but Rennie Grove Hospice Care is already seeking participants for this year’s Herts 10K which takes place in Harpenden on Sunday October 14.

Herts 10K hero Tom Abbott.

Herts 10K hero Tom Abbott. - Credit: Archant

Booking your place now gives you plenty of time to train and there’s an added incentive of an early bird discount on the entry fee.

The Herts 10K is Rennie Grove’s biggest fundraising event each year. It provides a great opportunity to join with thousands of others to complete the course whilst experiencing a wonderful feeling of community in a genuinely supportive atmosphere.

Joanne Perry was part of a team from Sherrards Solicitors that ran the Herts 10K in 2017.

“I’m not quite sure what I was thinking. I hadn’t even run for a bus before but somehow found myself agreeing to enter a 10K run as part of Team Sherrards.

Sherrards has always been an ardent supporter of Rennie Grove Hospice Care and has regularly entered teams of runners in the Herts 10K. Having literally never done any running before, I invested in a 0-10K app that involved increasing my running distances over the course of a 14 week period. They were 14 weeks of pure agony – I am definitely not built for speed!

“The day of the race came and I was absolutely terrified. My colleagues were extremely supportive and encouraging. The atmosphere at the start line was incredible and I found myself chatting to various people in the starting pens, all of whom had their own stories to tell.

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“As I passed the 9K mark, I wasn’t feeling too bad. I could see a line of runners snaking ahead of me, around the field and then through a gap in the hedge to what looked like the last stretch before the finish line. Once I had gone through the hedge however, I realised that I had further to go than I thought. I’m not sure what happened then. I think I panicked. All I know is that my feet decided they were going to stop and I was struggling to breathe. I couldn’t do it. It was as simple as that.

“Then came my knight in shining armour. A man I didn’t know ran to me and told me that I was not going to walk that last bit of the race and that he would run with me. And he did. All I can remember is his calm voice telling me to keep going, to keep my head up and to keep focussed on the finish line.

“I’m so grateful to that man, who made more of a difference than he will ever know. He saw me struggling and came to my rescue and helped me to cross that finish line running by my side.”

Joanne’s knight in shining armour was Tom Abbott from Harpenden.

Tom said; “Last year’s 10K was my first competitive running event since the London Marathon in 1999 so I was nervous but also looking forward to seeing if I could still do it and do it well. The 10K is not a competitive event for most of us, but more of a personal battle with our own challenges and demons and all for a very good cause that’s particularly close to my heart

“I noticed a runner ahead of me at around 9K and I realised as I drew close that she was beginning to struggle and looked to be having a problem. As I drew up alongside Joanne, I struck up a conversation about what hard work I was finding it and that I hadn’t done anything like it this century! I told her that I knew it wasn’t far to go to the finish, it was downhill into the park and we would do it together and she would go through first. We turned the corner into the park and both had the reward of seeing the finishing line with spectators cheering everyone through. I think we were both overjoyed to have made it, it was a shared experience that I am sure was repeated many times that day with runners and walkers, all with different personal and sporting targets perhaps but a common goal to help a great cause.”

If you want to experience the unique atmosphere and camaraderie of participating in the Herts 10K challenge with thousands of others whilst raising much needed funds for an important local charity then please visit www.herts10k.com. Take advantage of the early bird discount by booking your place before 28 February 2018. Good luck!