On Sunday I ran my local Race for Life to raise money for cancer research. The race is popular in the UK; apparently women love to dress up in pink to walk or run 5k. I signed up with basic knowledge of the event: Busy. Far too much pink for my liking. And it would be silly...
We stood beneath a cloudless blue sky, on a heath thirsty for green. The weather grasped the body like a hot second skin. Thousands gathered in pink t-shirts, hats, tutus and feather boas, bunny ears and fancy dress.
Attached to the back of every person was a sign which read, 'I race for life for...' Before me were thousands of doors to thousands of lives. Some raced for mums, dads, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters. Friends. Others raced for themselves, or for someone known by someone else. We were strangers bound by one common thread.
Perhaps the cause was still raw for me but I had never felt so moved. My surroundings were immense, the horizon tipped far and endless and the people ant like and tiny. It was like I had floated up and out of my body and I was privy to a weird giant puppet show from above.
And in that moment, I walked to the start line aware of my own insignificance- my own mortality. How trivial matters had been given the right name. How grateful I was to be there. Sure, I was boiling hot, sweaty and aching before the race had started. But I was hot, sweaty, aching and alive.
It's amazing how these things hit you in the strangest of places. Particularly when you're sandwiched between two women dressed like Betty Rubble from The Flintstones. Well. I did say it would be silly.