Lydia Cole: Running London to Cardiff

Lydia Cole: Running London to Cardiff

Running London to Cardiff

This was penned on laptop on 12 th June 2018.
A few weekends ago, I spent approximately 25 hours and 48 minutes awake, in a minibus, with 12 sweaty betties,
running from London to Cardiff. And for a lot of those 25 hours and 48 minutes, I was smiling. I certainly wasn’t sleeping!
There aren’t many people that I could spend that amount of time with, getting increasingly smelly and tired, without
cracking. Even fewer that I would choose to be in that smelly mess with.

This 24 hour ‘race’ is one example of the many adventures I’ve had over the last three years with a pride of Project
Awesomers. There have been New Year’s Day sea-swims, marafuns along beautiful coastlines, hula-hooping
‘workshops’, muddy forest camp-outs, circum-cycling islands, midnight mass skinny dips in a November sea….to name
but a few of the wonderful weekends and stolen hours (at times of the day I didn’t realise existed before) I’ve had with
the peoples of PA. As well as a lot of coffees. And cake (thanks, Suzi).

It’s quite hard to remember what my life was like pre-Project Awesome. It was certainly richer in the number of hours
spent in bed, but immeasurably poorer in the number of random elements it contained.

But aside from the ‘organised’ (to varying degrees!) trips, the primary reason why I am grateful to be part of PA is the
incredible community of people it attracts. All ages (age being the most irrelevant characteristic of membership to this
pack); all abilities; all the fun. Everyone I have met through PA has inspired me in some way; to be more positive, more
confident, believe in my potential more, and be more aware of the potential for fun in everything! It has also made me
more vigilant of the challenges others might be experiencing, and how a smile and some random starter question about
the gorgeous weather (at 6:30am on a drizzly Primrose Hill) might go a long way towards making someone feel included.
The alternative way of fast-tracking inclusion is the humble hug. However, I remember being a little shell-shocked after
my first session in the Scoop, when a smiley man came over to me, wearing red ‘shorts’ and a buxom ginger beard (that
covered more of his body than his shorts), and gave me a smacker and a hug. I had no idea who he was. But I admired
his friendliness towards a shy stranger. I now feel honoured to call the maker of the magic, Danny Boy Bent, a friend.
Why ever did I even decide to get up at ridiculous o’clock that fateful morning? A common question asked to newbies!
It all started one summer’s morning, on a hill, a short train ride from the centre of London. I’d spent the night camping
out under a tarpauline with a dozen people I’d never met before. I got chatting to one chap as we headed back to the
big city after a beautiful dawn.

“Ah, you like running! Where do you run in London?” I asked in my slightly nervous, relatively-new Londoner way.
“I run with PA,” replied a less nervous, longer-standing Londoner. “Project Awesome!?”, he offered when I looked
entirely blank.

“What’s Project Awesome?”

And the rest is a brilliant history. Thanks, Mirko.

Since earlier this year, I’ve sadly been living a bit too far away to make it to the Scoop on a Wednesday, or Primrose Hill
on a Friday, even if I get up a little bit earlier. But I am in discussions with another recently-relocated PA chum (the
unstoppable Alice of the Many Marathons) about starting up Project Awesome Liverpool. TBCo-erced.
To end, I shall take an excerpt from my Facebook review: “I’m not quite sure what the exact mix of magic is, but Danny
Bent, has managed to create the perfect one in Project Awesome.” True story.
Long may the fun (and hugs) continue.

****
Update on 30 th July 2018….

Project Awesome Liverpool is GO! Friday morning, 6:30am, outside the Museum of Liverpool. We’ve had two sessions
so far, dancing around the dockside with the Beatles and a bunch of brilliant new individuals. BOOM!

 

Lydia
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