It all started very early indeed - I had asked all my helpers to be up there by 6am.
Registration was starting at 7am and we had to get it all looking as shipshape as possible.
I had been up to the hotel the day before to make sure the seedlings were there, that the mbaulas had been delivered, to get the key for the room we had access to and to generally try to reassure myself that we were organised.
And we were... ish.
We were a bit nervous as we had no idea as to how many people were going to turn up. Over 140 had signed up online but we were aware that many Malawians would not have that facility and lots of non Malawians didn't think they needed to and were just going to turn up... BUT in terms of goodies to be given to the participants, I had planned for 150 t-shirts, mbaulas and beer coolers. At the last minute, I had asked Esela from Mai Pai to organise snacks for an extra 100 people and Casa Rossa kindly helped with the wrapping of 300 seedlings but there was no way I could organise extra shirts and beer coolers in time! All that to say, that should there be more people than expected, we were going to have to manage the distribution of goodies fairly.
Everything started off well: we got the tables up, Carrie organised the helpers and gave out instructions as to how the registration was going to be set out and the ladies duly took their places ready for the participants to arrive.
I was running around headless, probably being highly inefficient and certainly feeling highly inefficient!
I got tied up with the marshalls with whom there was some confusion as to who went to which marshall/water point – I got so embroiled in this that I didn’t notice that the cups had not been given to Castel to be taken to the water points, neither had the bins been given, or the emergency contact number sheet- I found them all sitting tidily by registration when it was far too late to do anything about it :/ I think I must have been moving in a little cloud, only emerging now and then to take stock – On one of these occasions, I looked at my phone and thought: oh gosh, the 10k runners need to go, it is 8.32! So I spoke to the MC and he called the runners to the start line and someone came running over to tell me that the 10k runners had left on time, a couple of minutes ago :/// Ahemmmm!!
There was a scramble for the t-shirts, a curfuffle for the beer coolers, the mbaulas all went, as did the seedlings. There were some grumblings about the lack of available t-shirts and we had to simply say that that we will do better next time :)
We also had a hiccup with the 5km mens’ run as the leading pack took a wrong turn so the prizes for the mens’ 5km had to be cancelled :/
But despite all that, despite all the things we were supposed to do/have and didn’t – the participants seemed to think that it was a very successful event and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I must admit that I was surprised about how much positive feedback we got, but so thrilled that it all turned out so well.
All in all, there were 305 participants: 141 non Malawians and 164 Malawians and including the sale of the raffle tickets, the event raised just over £3,000!! What an amazing day!! Hopefully, everyone went home happy, a bit tired, and with a thought about the issue of deforestation...
Just as amazing: the fastest 21k runner made it back in just over 1h23 min and the fastest 10k runner in just over 34min – when I think that my 10k takes me an hour?!! Well done to all of them :)
I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all my helpers – you know who you are and you know that without you, there is no way this event would have been as successful. I am so very grateful to you all for your time and patience :)
Next year, we will be making it bigger and better – watch this space :)