On my morning walks this week in Halifax I've seen Road Closed signs appearing around my old school. At first I thought perhaps there were going to be some roadworks which would produce muddy conditions on the roads, But no......
........this is an event - an all women's event, to support women by fundraising for cancer research and it will involve costumes, fun, running (or walking), games and obstacle courses IN MUD!!! Well, we had better go and photograph!
Team briefing - dirty tactics perhaps?
Within seconds I wished I had a pink t-shirt and a gang of friends and was taking part instead of taking photos!!!
It looked a lot of fun and the girls were laughing and giggling through their various tests of climbing rope ladders, jumping into inflatable baths of mud, scrambling under nets and playing on space-hoppers.
Getting up and over those ladders was a team effort - shouts from the ground and squeals from the top!
If they didn't get quite wet enough or muddy enough, there were teams of volunteers throwing mud or buckets of water at them and squirting them with giant water pistols!
Women had added to their event t-shirts tutus, shower caps, washing up gloves, ribbons, bows and flowers. There were screams and cries of laughter and shouts of encouragement from friends and fans.
The ultimate obstacle was the giant mud slide before a 100m run to the finish line. Teams climbed the ladders one side, straddled the ridge and held hands to slide into the mud bath at the bottom.
I love the idea of coming down into that muddy pool headfirst! Just remember to keep your mouth closed though! What fun, what a great event and what a great cause. Next year, count me in. Good on ya' girls!
Of course there's a real serious side to all of this fun and hilarity and there are many women here who have suffered from cancer and many more who are supporting a family member. Cancer plays dirty but so do the participants here. Pretty Muddy® isn't like any other fundraising event. It's a muddy obstacle course that women of any ability can climb over, crawl under, and charge through. Check Pretty Muddy Events for fundrasing events organised by Cancer Research UK.
This dis-ease is a dastardly thing. Who would have known that just days after the event I would discover I had breast cancer and we would need to take a diversion back home for a while for treatment. My heart goes out to anyone who has needed to deal with this and my advice to every woman is to be diligent. Check, check and check yourself. Catch it early if you can.
The Bear - nobody but nobody can prepare you for the shock that is cancer diagnosed to a nearest and dearest, whether they be family member or friend or even just your neighbour. I guess we believe for the most part that this is a disease that happens to "other people"....not in my backyard mentality is prevalent throughout society in general and so the shock is all consuming, especially when diagnosed in someone who is fit and healthy, has never smoked, drinks little alcohol and follows a strict dietary regime. Breast cancer has no special people in mind to pick out for its attention....one in nine women in the UK are now expected to contract some form of breast cancer during their lifetime....and the most worrying trend is that it is afflicting people younger and younger. Why? That is the big question, to which as yet there is no real answer.
Throughout the whole process from The Blonde's first diagnosis at the end of July this year, right through to where we are today in mid-November, we have met with nothing but kindness, great support and amazing professionals who are doing all they can not to just find that elusive cure but to assist people through this awful body and mind sapping disease. There are too many people to thank here right now and I know that The Blonde will address this more in another blog to come....but for now we are just so thankful to all of them for assisting us through this past 4 months.
The Blonde's prognosis is very good....she was congratulated by both the oncologist, the surgeon and our GP for constantly checking herself and when realising there was allbeit a very small lump (less then 1cm!) in her breast she immediately made appointments to have it checked out.....one of the unlucky ones? Well, no actually, because as it turns out, we have, with the help of so many others come out the other side of this as one of the luckier ones...a cancer survivor and also more understanding how important it is for all of us to follow the lead of so many of the women featured in our blog here dressed in pink having fun but also acknowleging their responsibilty to help and support others who are now going through this process or yet to be diagnosed.....or most tragically have lost someone dear to them.
For us, this "little diversion" as we now term it, has helped us take stock again of the wonderful and privileged lifestyle which we lead. It has if anything made us more determined than ever to seek out all the things we had set ourselves as achievable targets in our desire to drive around the world...we will be back on the road again very soon...and our new vehicle is sitting waiting patiently for its new owners back in Grass Valley, California, and we are so looking forward to taking "her" on new adventures.