Friday, 11 October 2013

Well done to our intrepid runner Nicky!

Nicky Heyworth is one of our booking advisors. This week she ran her second Royal Parks Half Marathon, raising money for mental health charity MIND. Here's her story of the experience:

At the start of the year I realised I had developed a substantial "office bottom" and that none of my clothes fitted properly anymore.

Since January I've been eating fresh fruit and salads and averting my eyes from cakes,  walked to (and whenever possible) from work. We live about 1.5 miles away from Helpful Holidays, and my commute takes me across the fields, along the river, and up the hill into Chagford. Our Labrador Beau has been a major beneficiary - he is looking very trim and pleased with himself. 

Sometime in May I was late for work, and ran some of the way - and discovered that I was already much fitter than I'd realised. The running was fun, and meant that I arrived at work feeling fresh and relaxed. Since May I've run to work 5 times a week, and started running at weekends too - gradually building up to the point where I could run 5, 6 or 7 miles without journeying on.

I ran in the first Royal Parks Half Marathon back in 2008. I'd been whining about getting tubby after giving up smoking, and my daughter decided I needed a challenge and a goal.  She signed me up to run, and we ran the Half Marathon together, raising money for Help for Heroes. This time, when once again I felt tubby and disgruntled, I signed myself up to run for MIND. We have friends who've suffered with depression, and the Mental Health services are the always short of funds. 

I've shed a couple of stone, raised nearly £400.00 for MIND and had a wonderful time on running through the most beautiful bits of London with an astonishingly varied group of 16,000 strangers, united only by their determination to complete a personal challenge and benefit a cause dear to their hearts. 

It was an absolutely beautiful Autumn day and a wonderful atmosphere - bananas, Daleks, large men in tutus running beside people supporting a huge range of causes. It was very moving reading people's vests and realising how many people care passionately - for the old, the homeless, the ill, the young, the environment, education - and of course the Royal Parks - those wonderful green spaces in the heart of our capital city.