959 sticks – only one strong bundle

On Sunday, 14 members of Stoke F.I.T. and it’s 2 qualified running leaders took on the massive challenge, along with 943 other runners from all over the country of running a hard horrible wet cold muddy race called Hell in the middle.

Over the 7 days of the week before, emails went back and forth so that every team member was completely prepared.  Everything was covered, from pre-race nutrition, what to wear, what not to wear, what to pack for after, how to look after themselves in the week following and most importantly how to work as an effective member of a team.  Every body was paired up with their buddy who was their lifeline and was to become their best friend for 3 hours!

On the day, we split into groups of similar abilities and tackled it together, as a team.  We got each other round the course.  When one team member was hurting and in a dark place, every body else stepped up and helped them out.  They didn’t stay hurting for long!

Without disrespecting any body else there that day, I only ever saw team work from our group of heroes.  They got each other – and complete strangers safely round the course, giving help and encouragement to everybody and everybody, even when they were hurting.

Where else would you see the instructors running between each sub group of runners giving out mars bars, water and other nutrition such as chocolate raisins and energy gels out to team members to keep them fighting fit.

When it was called for, we had our first aid kits with us in our bags.  When a complete stranger who one Stoke F.I.T. team had adopted because he was suffering with injury needed it, we had pain killers at the ready which helped him through to finish the race.

When strangers needed first aid advice, both instructors – one first aid trained and the other a first aid instructor were there with a helping hand.

When strangers and friends from other running clubs were hurting and suffering, we were there to give out energy gels and bottles of Lucozade which we had carried round for the whole race.

14 heroes finished the race that day, all happy, all hurting and all part of the biggest, strongest and best team there that day.

There were 959 sticks there that day, but 14 of them teamed up to form a bundle.

Sticks on their own are weak and vulnerable.  Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.

This is why Stoke F.I.T. are the best at what we do. Stoke F.I.T. went to hell that day – but we all came back smiling!

Well done everybody who was there that day!!

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