Our fab sports massage therapist Lauren shares her profound experience volunteering for Tommy's charity at the London Landmarks Half Marathon and the joy and hopefulness that she took from this life affirming event in aid of a charity that does vital work for people in life challenging situations.
The London Landmarks Half Marathon was set up by Tommy’s charity to boost their fundraising efforts and provide a celebratory run following London’s landmarks with the strap-line, ‘The Grand. The Quirky. The Hidden’. It is such a fun event and this year the team have reached out to brilliant performers, volunteers and community groups around London to entertain and support runners along the route, making this year a true celebration of London’s culture and heritage. Tommy’s charity does important work in supporting mothers and babies, funding research into miscarriage, still birth, and premature birth, and provides pregnancy health information to parents.
I had the privilege of volunteering for post-event massage back in 2018 at the first ever LLHM event! Tommy’s did a wonderful job of organising a beautiful space for us to treat the runners and I still remember the brilliance of the day. The atmosphere in the room was absolutely buzzing; you could almost feel a physical energy to it. Congratulations never ceased and every time someone came up to me, no matter how exhausted they were, they had a smile on their face and such a sense of pride in what they had just achieved. Not one person was moaning or grumbling about any pain they were in, their achievement seemed to lift them above it.
Since then I have also volunteered at the London Marathon and more locally at the Windrush Aquathlon. At events I mainly treat through or around clothing as the treatment areas are not usually private. I can still gain great results from several techniques this way, using compressions, soft tissue release, and involving the runner actively using muscle energy techniques to help relax and lengthen muscles. It is quite a tiring day massaging runner after runner - at a busy event I probably get through about 20 or so people, each runner receiving 15-20 minutes of treatment.
All the massaging aside, the main thing that struck me on the day was the atmosphere and humility of everybody that I met. Even though these people were taking on a tough physical challenge, the positivity was contagious. It was clear that they felt supported, valued and proud in themselves and their achievements for the cause. Due to the nature of Tommy’s charity work, perhaps some of the people that I met had had an experience with miscarriage, still birth, or a premature birth in some aspect. By running the half marathon they were taking positive action and helping to support themselves and others. It truly inspired me.
Even though it was a long and tiring day, I went home ecstatic and full of inspiration from everybody I had met, runners and volunteers alike. Just knowing that I had helped some of those amazing people in some way gave me my own sense of pride and achievement.
If you ever get the chance to volunteer with a charity at a sporting event, DO IT. And if you’re running the LLHM or another race coming up soon (Brighton and Manchester I’m looking at you), then good luck! You have come this far and getting to the start line is 75% of the challenge. Massage can be very beneficial both pre and post event as well as helping you to maintain fitness and form throughout training. Come and see me at West Norwood Therapies on Wednesdays or Sundays, I’m here to help you be your best.
Blogs from the WNT team. For our blogs from before June 2020 please see individual profile pages - it's a good way to get to know practitioners too.