Nadia’s reflection of the Marathon de Paris
Monday 16 April, 2012: Today I am recovering from the Paris Marathon; it was my second marathon ever and also my second marathon in five months. Our team of runners gathered in the bar last night, adorned with their medals to share stories of how they shivered on the start line, battled the freezing cross wind, tore muscles and took on the mammoth 42.195km (that is now thankfully behind us!).
The Inspired Adventures team that ran in Paris represented a number of amazing charities:
- ChildFund Australia
- Australia’s CEO Challenge
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance
- The Stroke Foundation
- The National Breast Cancer Foundation
I feel privileged to have shared in so many of their challenges and to now have the opportunity to share in the joy of completing this immense achievement.
For some the run was far more than just 42 kilometres; they also had a fundraising target to meet that varied from $6,000 to $10,000 for the charities they represented. Many had to overcome injury and illness to get themselves across the finish line but some had even greater challenges to conquer. Throughout my dealings with this extraordinary team I have been overwhelmed by the courage of not one individual but of a whole family. Jennifer Reid, who is recovering from breast cancer, saw the Paris finish line as the start of a whole new life for her and her family. Jennifer saw it as an opportunity to put behind the pain and trauma that her and her family have been through since she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
As I stood on the start line with this remarkable woman, prancing around in an attempt to warm up, it really struck me what it meant for her to be here. To set the scene, we were amid layers of plastic macs and standing right outside the Luis Vuitton store on the Champs-Élysées. Jennifer had not only raised over $15,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, she had also bought her whole family to Paris to share in this new beginning for them all. Like the rest of our team, Jennifer was also haunted and troubled a fellow team member was missing from the starting line. Sam Naudin signed up to the challenge late last year having been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had been active and enthusiastic on the team Facebook page saying how she was looking forward to meeting us all in Paris. She was excited not only for the marathon and the destination (Paris!) but also excited about contributing to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in their commitment to see no deaths from breast cancer by 2030. Tragically, Sam never made it to the start line in Paris; her life was taken by the disease she fought so hard to conquer, leaving behind her family and two young children.
It was a sombre moment as I left my bag on the start line, amidst the mass of jumpers and energy drinks. “Remembering Sam Naudin” was pinned to the front of it. Sam’s motto was ‘NEVER NEVER GIVE UP!’. I had written this motto on my arm and, as the pain kicked into my legs at 30km, I glanced down and ploughed on with Sam in mind.
Jen too never, never gave up. Her family joined her en-route and her sister, who had planned to walk the last 5km with her, showed up early and conquered a massive 25km of the course. It is family that got Jen through her illness and supported her in training and fundraising. Last nights, we had a lot to celebrate and celebrate we did! Sore and exhausted we had come to conquer and indeed we did just that. Jen has taken inspiration to new heights and has also pledged to raise the funds that Sam never got the opportunity to do.
For me, this trip has been about far more than the 13 team members who wore race numbers, collected medals and fundraised extraordinary amounts of money for good causes. For me, it has been about the families and friends and the partners and children that got them here. A mass of supporters lined the streets in the freezing cold, for hours on end, waving the Australian flag and provided smiles, waves and cheers of support. It has been an epic journey – and I am lucky to have shared in it with them.
Well done, team – you (and your supporters) are truly “inspiring” adventurers!
Inspired Adventures has a number of international marathons coming up… View our Adventure Calendar to find more information on the Australian Outback Marathon, the ING New York marathon, and Dublin Marathon.