Community Spirit at Ruach Karate
Here at Ruach Karate we have over the decades (now I feel old) supported good causes close to our hearts. Raising money by various methods including sponsorship of students and Instructors as well as holding a fun fete afternoon at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre with live music, face painting and students throwing wet sponges at Sensei Ronnie in the stocks, expertly produced by Sensei Kevin from Stratford upon Avon a very talented guy who at the time worked for Ragdoll Production (and yes he was once a Telly Tubby). Sensei Jim Malik was instrumental in organizing the event and his hard work paid off.
As Instructors we always liked to challenge ourselves and push the boundaries of our endurance and back in the 90’s we decided to do a charity relay run from Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre to the Houses of Parliament in London. There were to be five runners a support van and a driver. I was involved with the second time the Instructors had completed this task. So to prepare ourselves we would all meet at Cocks Moors woods for a nice long run together at least once a week. Now at the time I enjoyed running and would be out early morning doing five miles, then again at lunch time another five miles around Solihull from Norman Green Athletic Centre finishing the day with another five miles when I got home. This was my routine every day for months in preparation through spring and summer. Needless to say I was the fittest I’d ever been and was very confident heading into the night of the run. It was a Friday evening we met at Cocks Moors Woods just after five o’clock on a fine autumn evening, still light with a crispness in the air, the sort of conditions that’s great for running in. So, Ronnie, Dave, Lloyd, Stefan and myself set off with I believe Ronnie running the first five miles. The runner changed every five miles or so. The route we took saw us travelling down the A34 towards Stratford upon Avon on towards Oxford and then down the A40 to London.
Now I know there are runners reading this and if you have ever taken a route around Birmingham you will be aware that for the most part it’s fairly flat. Unfortunately the rest of the Country isn’t! Going down hill towards Henley in Arden in the early evening was bliss as you can imagine. But climbing up the Cotswold Hills brought home the need for proper preparation. As the night drew in the temperature plummeted and the icy rain turned from sleet to snow. It was whist climbing the Chiltern Hills I began to doubt my own sanity. It was pitch black the snow driving into my face and the hill I was trying to run up was getting steeper and I was getting slower! The drop to my left descended into the blackest of holes and I tried to avoid looking at it. All I could think about was the additional three miles I needed to complete once I reached the top, would my legs still carry me? Did I even care at this point? I somehow reached the top and after about half a mile came upon the support vehicle and swapped to get a well-earned rest, hot drink and dry clothes.
Every runner took their turn jumping out into the freezing night to complete a section of the relay. Soon the gloom of the night gave way to a fresh bright sunny morning, which lifted our spirit and drove us on towards the center of London and the end of our adventure. About a mile from The Palace of Westminster we all disembarked the support bus to complete the run as a team. With the end in sight a spring returned to our step and a sense of achievement flooded our veins. More important to us was the fact that with the help of all the students doing sponsored events we raised the much needed funds to help the charities of our choice.
Those good causes have included over the years the following: Acorns Children’s Hospice; Cancer Research, Macmillan, Help for Hero’s and a host of smaller charities that have meant something to either a Student or Instructor. We seek to do at least one event a year but we are not limited to that, so if you have a passion close to your heart why not suggest it to your Sensei and it may become our chosen charity fund raiser.