Last week I published a roundup explaining what we had been up to over the last few weeks. The roundup covered everything from a CCU stay, a hospital wedding arranged in four hours, lost teeth, car breakdowns, a bunch of lycra-clad young men running half naked around Richmond Park and a camping trip. You can catch up on it all over here.
Lycra-clad young men running half naked around Richmond Park?
You may well ask.
And you probably are.
Oh yes, readers. I can’t explain it half as well as this guy can, so I’ll hand over to my brother Jimmy to take over the story…
Yesterday saw the inaugural Wrestler 10k run around Richmond Park. A concept conceived by my very good friend and old university alumni, Joe Williams. The shout went out around the old uni boys and very quickly, a Whatsapp group buzzed like a chainsaw as the opportunity to have an good old fashioned sporting get together for a great cause.
You see, Joe wanted to help. He knows everything we have been through lately and the run was set up to raise funds for the Royal Marsden hospital. I’d not long been out of critical care and the incredible people at the Marsden brought me back from the brink of death as they balanced between treating my very aggressive cancer (AML) and my liver failure. For some reason, I managed to scrape through and reduce my resting heart rate from 161 beats per minutes. Considering an average resting heart rate is approximately 60 to 100 beats per minute, the rate I was hitting whilst sleeping and immobile was not good, to say the least.
Analysing the Whatsapp group, I learnt so much about life after university.
- Everyone still knows you by your nickname
- Everyone still remembers that time you done that thing. And you are going to get ribbed for it
- When there is a call for action, it happens.
- The ones that can’t do the activity do everything they can to support. Just like back in the day sports matches. Or carry you home from Fez/Bop/Ponana etc
- We could have been back at uni planning tour/summer ball/sports fixtures
On the actual day of the run, there was an initial step into memory lane. Emily and I got there early and clearly the Bop was on last night. You could tell because the floors were sticky and everywhere you looked was a sign saying “I ️ The Bop”.
Now back in the day, the Bop was the sort of place you go out with a tenner in your pocket, end up with eight quid and go home smashed (if one were so inclined). It was also the place where I first stole a kiss off of my one day to be bride.
Slowly, they all turned up. Each donning championship winning attire. I didn’t know how the day was going to go but as soon as I saw people getting changed in the boots of their cars, it was going to be just like any other sports event. All out, watching each other’s backs and ready to have a great day.
The race became a group run. A couple of mini wrestlers were taken along in a buggy.Someone brought a step ladder so of course that had to go. Lads, lads, lads. It could have been 2004 all over again.
As the years have gone by and we have all grown into old men, life has affected all of us. A little look around on the day at all the WAGS and nippers show that responsibilities have increased. Nunners smashed out his run to return to his three day old twins.
The nerves on the Whatsapp group about fitness was all underselling judging by the number of six packs on show yesterday.
Over a decade of being tainted by real world life. The mix people had moved into following their degrees. Public and private sector, degree related and non degree related careers.
I’d forgotten exactly what uni life was all about due to being in the real world for too long. For one day, we all got to time warp back. And the only thing that had changed is that we got better at what we do and there was a hell of a lot more love.
Nobody spoke about work, or bills or money. There was just a lot of hugging and wind ups and a small bit of organisation until, finally, they were underway.
So just in case you ever come across a group of thirtysomethings (or more) dressed as wrestlers, here are some rules:
- They will stick together and look after each other so don’t try and steal one from the pack
- They will stop for photos any time because they look bloody awesome. Take advantage and have a story for your friends
- If you feed them, like any wild beasts, they will return for more
- If you are a cyclist, don’t pick a fight. They might be grown up now, but they haven’t forgotten how to hurl abuse like in the good old days.
I ducked out early after the runners returned as I know how emotional it was going to get. I left them all safely at the bar, you’ll be pleased to know.
It was a magical day for so many reasons. raising money for a great cause, catching up with great people, getting great photo opportunities. What meant the most to me was a reminder of what life was like when we could just be lads.
Even for the day.
If you do find yourself with a couple of quid spare and you want to donate to the Royal Marsden, please hit Joe’s link.
And always remember, stories are the currency of life.