On a moments whim I decided to enter the Virtual Runner UK Poppy Challenge ! The overall collective team challenge is to run a total of 88,824.6 km between 1 Nov – 30 Nov, with a minimum of 33 km’s each to receive this beautiful medal. From your £12 entry fee, a 20% donation is given to the British Legion.
The challenge is to honour the British that fell in WW1 and a good reminder how truly lucky we really are today. On the days that you are inconvenienced in traffic, or your iPhone doesn’t work, or a multitude of other first world problems doesn’t compare to what they went through.
Simply put, without these heroes of the past we wouldn’t have the freedom of our lives today. How lucky are we to live in an affluent part of the world, with medicine, running water and everything at our fingertips. History could have re-written our story.
While I will be clocking in the km’s over that month I will be thinking of my Granddad who fought in WW11. Granddad, a fiery, dark haired Camden-ite was part of an anti-tank regiment – he fought in Europe and heroically took part in the D-Day landings.
He went missing in the Ardennes, presumed dead, but in fact had been shot and hid from the enemy, to be luckily found by British troops. My Nan, who without doubt had been in a hero back home, running with my Mum in her arms as the Dagenham docks were being blown up, was overjoyed to have her husband back, alive – what a miracle that was.
What they all went through at home and overseas will hopefully be nothing we experience in our lifetime or ever again. My Granddad didn’t escape much of the war for years after, however he found a lot of joy in his grandchildren and taught his eldest granddaughter, me, how to hand-jive!
I will be thinking of my Granddad throughout this challenge, especially the moments he must’ve felt scared, or that he would never see his family again, and the wonderful moments we spent together and will be forever in gratitude to him. I wonder at times what he would make of my life now, its so very different to how they lived back then and to even he passed away back in the 80’s.
I keep his war medals in a box at home and every now and again look at them, his photo will always be on display.
When I am much older I will pass my daughter my running medals, plus Granddads war medals. Both are worlds apart in achievement, but may be can both be linked by determination.
My Granddad, my hero.