The sun was shining and Bushy Park was awash with over 100 Collis Mums, Dads, dogs, water, medals and children all keenly anticipating the start of the inaugural Collis 5K Fun Run. After a few safety announcements, including beware of lively deer and especially stag parties, the horn was blown and off they went.
Swarms of children took the lead characteristically defying the advice to start slow – and bombing it to the 1K mark near Teddington gate, where a warm smile and pointed finger right was offered by Marshals Neil and Jo. Next the gruelling Teddington to Hampton Wick stretch that goes on and on and on. A lack of crowd support at this hidden part enabled a few younger ones to tantrum out of site, whilst some Mums and Dads thought they had hit the “Wall” (haven’t the energy to continue). But then at Hampton Wick, Marshal Amanda gave them a big dollop of encouragement along with a smile that she usually reserves for opening presents, that boosted resolve and got the pack turning right with a new found spring in their step towards the swings and slides of Hampton Court.
At this exact moment a sausage (pretending to be a Dad) crossed the finish line on 22 minutes and was greeted with cheers and awarded a medal from Mr Butterfield the Head and Jane Way the Deputy. When asked what class the sausage was in, he quickly moved aside to welcome the fastest winner of the race, Ellen, who crossed the line in an unbelievable 25 minutes!
Back to the main flock that were now jog walking past the swings and slides – “please Mum can we have a quick go”, “maybe after, let’s get to the finish”. Marshal Catherine met them with a gigantic smile, a big clap and a “well done that way” directing them around the wiggly bit of the course to Hampton Court gate where Marshal Jo gave them a knowing smile and wink that they were almost there and couldn’t possibly fail now – even if their parents were exhausted! 100 metres later, with them looking out for (Marshal) Linda, another uplifting smile and warm words ushered the herd of little and big feet to Marshal Maddy to whip up their fighting spirit for the final 100 metre dash to the finish line. Digging deep the rabble picked up their pace and crossed the finish line at an incredible speed that Teddington’s own Mo Farrah would have been proud of. Now, with everyone a winner after 5000 emotive metres, the Head David Butterfield, the Deputy Jane Way and the Chair of the CSA Jo Grieve burst into tears of jubilation and awarded the beautiful engraved medals to every finisher, and in doing so realised that they too can’t wait to run it next year!