Set up in loving memory of Thomas, by Alan, Chris and Aimee Theyer (Thomas’s dad, mum and sister) the Thomas Theyer Foundation aims to increase the access children and young people with additional needs have to exercise, in particular, outdoor activities.
Currently, the foundation is raising funds to build two lodges in the Peak District. These Lodges will provide the opportunity for children and young people to enjoy an outdoor activity break with access to a range of managed outdoor activities. The Lodges would also be available for families and carers so that they can enjoy respite breaks too.
I was first introduced to this foundation earlier this year by Peak District photographer Phil Sproson and was keen to find out more about the amazing work they do and how I could get involved. As it transpired, one of the next events in their calendar was a fell race in memory of Thomas, who was an avid runner. So without further ado, I pencilled the date in the diary.
Soon the day of the race arrived, and I woke up to find the whole of the Peak District basking in glorious sunshine – perfect weather for a run! Arriving at Whitehall Outdoor Education Centre, the atmosphere was lovely with plenty of helpful marshals and eager runners ready to get out and enjoy the day.
After a quick registration and warm-up, it was time to gather on the start line. Then after some moving words from Chris, we were off! Starting on the road, the initial pace was quick, with the front runners sprinting off at a good pace. I settled into my normal speed ‘fast plodding’ and enjoyed the view. Off the road, we were soon on to more familiar territory – rocky limestone tracks and very muddy fields with some rather deep puddles. I decided pretty early on my feet were going to get wet so enjoyed splashing through these like a child!
After this section, it was time for a log but came a gradual but long climb on the country lanes before a fun descent down more rocky paths on to steep grassy fields. Although I was conscious of my recently recovered ankle given the holes hidden in the grass, this bit was so much fun, and it was great just to fly down it at speed. Luckily there was a nice bog at the bottom to slow me before the next road section.
A few kilometres off the end of the race my brain started doing a few calculations (this is a rare occurrence!) – glancing at my watch I figured, either I had done the maths wrong, or we had a very steep hill still to come… Soon it was revealed to be the latter! Looking up I realised this was going to be a bit of a thigh burner – so time for a power walk. However, despite the gradient, the stunning views and spring lambs kept the final push all very enjoyable.
I was not particularly ready for Phil with his camera at the top of the hill… In my head, I was like ‘I should run he’s taking a picture!’ but my legs were objecting a bit too much. However, hill out of the way they came back just in time for an attempt at a sprint finish. Finishing the race I felt so happy, more than anything it just felt amazing to be back running after so much injury time, especially on such a beautiful day.
Muddy but very content things only got better as I discovered there were tea and cakes inside (and not just any cake – the lemon drizzle was amazing!). All in all, it was such a brilliant day, the route was stunning, and it was great to chat with so many lovely people. I will certainly be running this race again next year. Plus in the meanwhile I will hopefully be telling you all a bit more about the foundation and their incredible work, so stay tuned!
For more information on the Thomas Theyer Foundation and how you can help visit their website here.
Finally, a big thanks to Phil for letting me use his beautiful photos – for more on his work do check out his Facebook page and website.