|Mile 21 Cheer Zone - Cheer Dem Crew in action - London Marathon 2018|
Its been about 2-3 years since I made the life changing decision to try to meet up with running crews in London. Initially I was too scared to approach any of them, as I thought my slow pace and non-athletic figure would make my introduction the most anxious horrific experience ev-vah.. Slowly I have found myself fully accepted in the belly of the beast of both Run Dem Crew and Chasing Lights Collective. And what an enormous belly of love I have found.
This year was my 2nd chance to help with Cheer Dem duties at London Marathon and I was given the full pressure of ensuring the road for our cheer zone ahead of Mile 21, was as colourful and as welcoming as possible. A task that I would have assumed to be way out of my league, if asked previously. With a few cans of chalk spray, plus some encouragement from Charlie and Sanchia, the road was closed, our stencils went down and our colours went up.. All early morning crew pounced, with placards, banners, big heads and our cheer zone became a reality.
I am slow to realise that at some points in your life, when other people have faith in you, its much easier to deliver the goods and create something that you initially doubt you are capable of. This is also hardly ever achieved as a lone individual. We are all capable of hitting the high and low notes, but only when we mix our skills together, can you hear the full combination of notes to enjoy the songs of the choir.
Cheer Dem is as important to Run Dem Crew as the runners.. There has been a tradition over the years, that the RDC crew members who are not running the marathon, must come to the Bus Stop by Limehouse Town Hall, to cheer, scream, encourage, fix-up, or smile at all runners who pass them by, just ahead of the official Mile 21 marker.
But it starts way before Marathon day and it's an all encompassing collective of people, designing motivational posters, cut and stick masters gathering to make signs for pushing up along the course, glue gatherers and logistical resourcer's. There are teams of Midnight Ninja's to fly post them around the city and not forgetting the early morning crew, who arrive in time for the road to close and the joy of Mile 21 to be spread, sprayed, decorated, posted, dressed and ready to receive the first of the elite runners and keep them going until the last runner has passed by.
|Midnight Ninja Team 3 - Ready for action|
Without doubt, there are a core selection of people who put this all together and who work for weeks to get the prep sorted out for this cheer zone to have become a major highlight on many London Marathon runners experience of completing the course. I thank them for letting me join in the fun and help with the bits that I can fit in amongst work.
I worry that if I mention these wonderful humans individually, I will unfortunately miss someone and I do not want to make this mistake.. however the effort that is spent on creating this behind the scenes is massively underestimated for all their time and experiences created. So - to the folks in the hardcore Cheer Dem crew - "I love every minute of what you create and I hope to be able to help you make this all happen again some time soon".
|The early morning crew - Photo by Simon Roberts Photography|
These are the people who inspire me to keep working on Community projects, who make me want to pitch in and do what I can to make other humans feel the warm fuzzy feels of being included, valuable and needed in the pack..
You have made me smile at times when I was trying to squash down the lump in my throat and keep the water from my eyes.. You remind me how to make other people feel special - you are all priceless and the world needs more people like you, to help it keep turning around with superb smiles, the joy and the thing..
So.. when can we do it all again? xx