by Shamala Kandiah Thompson
Diamond jubilees are rare. Great Britain has only had two monarchs who reigned for more than 60 years. Running a race for me is almost as rare an event. But against the odds on Thursday evening I found myself running 6 km (one for each decade of the Queen’s reign) in the Great British Run.
Two of my colleagues Nick Walbridge and Paul Romita were running this race and my plan was to cheer them on, take some photos and enjoy a bit of Little Britain on a balmy New York summer evening. (Paul was in Vienna and was missing out on a chance to run for Queen and country though this week-end he caught the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and Diamond Jubilee Concert in London)
The bandshell area in Central Park was littered with iconic British symbols – red phone boxes, lots of Union Jacks, rugby games led by coaches from the Premiership Rugby and a Beatles tribute band, BritishMania belting out a string of Beatles hits.
Nick and Paul R. kindly kept me company throughout the race. We were running at such a relaxed pace that it was possible to make the occasional wise-crack. Paul R. even had enough lung capacity to belt out the opening bars of Chariots of Fire whenever he felt we needed inspiration.
I was grateful that the organizers had picked one of the least hilly 6 km routes around Central Park. And even more grateful to Nick and Paul R. for sticking with me. After a relatively comfortable first half, the second half was a bit more of a struggle. My stomach reacted to the nervousness that I thought I’d outsmarted and I started feeling nauseous towards the end. Having the two boys running alongside kept me ticking along at at a steady pace just when I felt like walking. We came across the finish line together with our arms raised aloft. We may not have won any prizes but it was a victory of sorts for me just to have run a race.