Big-hearted Brummies cheer on RoSPA runner

It’s easy to be cynical when there’s so much suffering in the world, isn’t it?

photoYet what I experienced during the Great Birmingham Run last Sunday was something wholly uplifting.

Uplifting because of the suffering – not in spite of. Almost every one of the 20,000 runners who took to the streets did so with the name of someone they’d loved and lost pinned to their top – yet it was the feeling of hope and humanity that pervaded.

And it wasn’t just the runners that inspired. The people of Birmingham proved how big-hearted they are as they lined the route to offer high-fives, drinks, sweets, songs, applause and encouragement.

They were a true source of support when the going got tough…which, for me, was on the pretty steep approach to Five Ways, just a couple of miles from the tape.

As a campaigner and a fundraiser, I learned many lessons on the day. Giving all you’ve got can be its own reward – but that is multiplied a million times over when it’s shared by many for a common purpose.

These were my thoughts as I hit Calthorpe Road and pushed past RoSPA House with the red flag flying high.

It might sound a bit Chariots of Fire, but I mustered as much strength as I could for a strong finish, as the field doubled back on itself to attack Broad Street, and “home”.

Michael's nephews and brother-in-law show their support at the six-mile mark.

Michael’s nephews and brother-in-law show their support at the six-mile mark.

Crossing the line after 13.1 miles was like nothing else – you’re filled with an enormous sense of wellbeing that you want to pass to others. And I suppose that’s why I love working for a charity – and for RoSPA, in particular.

It’s that desire to be part of something bigger than yourself, and to bring wellbeing where there is suffering. And, let’s face it, there’s still plenty of suffering, as accidents continue to be the top cause of early, preventable death for most of our lives.

If you want to be part of our fight to keep families safe, there’s still time to show your support by visiting my JustGiving page.

At the time of writing, I’m just a few quid shy of £600.

A big “thank you” to everyone who has already chipped in. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

Michael Corley, RoSPA’s head of campaigns and fundraising

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