Yesterday was our big day - Team Donna Ida took part in the adidas 5k to raise money for Jeans for Genes, the charity which supports children with genetic disorders. It's been a long process - preparations started in January this year recruiting runners and supporters to the cause and we ended up with a 130 strong team. The Team Donna Ida runners were made up of friends, customers, friends of friends and family.
Let's start with saying I'm not a runner. I don't mind exercise - until I'm actually doing it - but running makes me want to cry. It's one of those things that I know is good, and will make me feel great, but it's not high up on my list of priorities. But pair it with charity, and specifically Jeans for Genes, and I'm suddenly quite keen. Last year when I ran the adidas 5k for Jeans for Genes I was so nervous I felt sick for a week and on the day was in a cold sweat from 6am. This year, however, I was totally calm.....until I found myself with Donna Air at the very front of the starting line, with all the professional runners, athletes and celebrities. I have no idea how we got up there but when I wanted to go to the back I was told it was too late and I had to run for my life.
Claire Etchell, our PR Manager was with me and said 'well come on darling, run!' when I panicked and tried to push her into the gutter to stop us both from being trampled. I had no choice - I had to keep running. I reckoned I could probably do 2 or 3kms with the full pressure of 5,000 women chasing me, but I knew I'd start to buckle at around 4kms. I have to be honest here - there were a few tiny little walks. Bits where I grabbed Claire's arm and said 'stop just for a second, I can't breathe' and she jogged on the spot next to me, chatting and smiling, blonde ponytail bobbing happily. I wanted to pull it.
Then I started to notice all the banners, the groups of people cheering us on, and more specifically the pictures and messages on the backs of t-shirts - 'this is for my lovely Mum, I'm running for my sister, for my Dad who I miss every day'. I felt awful. I read the banners - the Stroke Association, Breast Cancer Research, MS, and on and on. I kept thinking I'm lucky, I can do this, the people who are no longer with us and are the whole reason why we're doing this can't. So I kept going, saying repeatedly 'come on woman' to myself, and also thinking of David Walliams who would laugh his head off if I said I struggled to do a little 5k. A lot of people run 5k every day after all.
I had one small burst of energy when I saw Catrina from Scout For Fashion, who we buy James Jeans and Doma from, standing on a corner waiting to see us pass. I couldn't bloody believe it - I had to keep going! I was at one of my little walking points and having to keep going so she didn't see me slow down was a moment of sheer force of will for me.
Soon the Finish loomed, with just a small badly placed hill (ok, an incline) just before the very end, and then we were down the last slope and at the end. Hurrah! I bent over, I actually thought I was going to be sick twice (like I said, not terribly fit) then went to meet the Speedy Gonzales' who had beat us there (and kind of rudely taken me over shouting come on Donna you lazy cow, I went to a wedding last night and I'm still outpacing you!) and smugly greeted the rest of the team who were bringing up the rear. I glossed over the fact that I had a massive head start, and was all but dragged on a leash the whole way, and only one or two of them mentioned it.
Our supporters were waiting for us, as was a big Hoxton Gin bar, about a thousand Love Bakery cupcakes and more M&S sandwiches, crisps, fruit (pah), Nestle water and Kit Kats that you could poke a stick at.
Look at us all! I had to have my face airbrushed at the office this morning. That was a whole shade of red you didn't want to see. Everyone else is in their natural state, no adjustments necessary. And see those fabulous t-shirts that got us so much attention at every point of the race? Donated by Enza Costa, printed by Simeon Farrar.
To help us out for our last push please go to www.justgiving.com/teamdonnaida and donate! Just £1! Thank you!