Some 4 years ago Maria Sykes, a Trustee of the Foundation went to India and helped us develop a number of our strategic projects. In subsequent years she has made a huge contribution to the work of the Foundation.
In 2011, Maria ran the Auckland Half Marathon and raised over a £1000 towards our work in India. On October 12th Maria ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon raising funds for our crucial work in India. Starting and finishing in the stunning location of Hyde Park, she ran the 13.1 mile route through Central London, taking in the spectacular sites of the capital and the beautiful Royal Parks.
After months of training Sunday 12th October had suddenly come round. A low mist hung over Hyde Park as I made my way to the start line, nervous butterflies kicking around my stomach. A last minute banana and I was ready to go, along with 16,000 other runners. The first 5 miles passed with little trouble, a beautiful run past Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and down the side of the Thames before heading back to Hyde Park along the Mall. Entering Hyde Park at Mile 6 the cheering squads were out in full force and provided a real boost before it began to get really hard.
The next 7 miles weaved us round and round the park and it felt like it was never going to end. I passed so many runners who had started to walk but I knew if I stopped to walk it would be game over, so I kept going, with the motto “slow and steady wins the race”. My legs had turned to lead and I could feel the blisters forming on my feet. The crowds were amazing and intermittently gave me the boost I needed. A smile or a word of encouragement meant such a lot. And there I was with 1 mile to go – passed the Royal Albert Hall and the meter markers were in sight.
The tears were stinging my eyes and my breath was catching in my throat. As I passed the finish line I felt totally overwhelmed and burst into tears. I struggled to catch my breath and got swept to one side by a St John’s Ambulance lady. I heard a voice calling my name and turned to see my housemates Michelle and Gisela standing right behind me, both with tears streaming down their faces having watched me cross the line and fall apart. I feel so proud to have achieved this half marathon in what has been a difficult few months in the run up and want to thank wholeheartedly everyone who has supported me along the way.
I am delighted to have raised valuable funds for Kamla Foundation and know it will make a huge difference!”