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WNAA Air Ambulance Heroes Run 2012.

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As I woke this morning and tentatively opened my eyes, I soon realised that today would be amazing. The room was awash with a golden glow and the birds sounded very pleased with themselves. The sun, rarely seen over the last few weeks, had decided to make an appearance; just as it did for the Heroes Run last year. I knew from that second that today would be electric. Naturally I reached for the nearest Apple device and checked Twitter to wish all a good morning. It was apparent that everyone else in my timeline was not only as pleased to see our long-lost golden friend as I was, but they were gearing up for the Heroes Run too. Suggestions of breakfast menus and travel arrangements littered my Twitter feed, and a quick check of the Heroes Run hash tag (#heroesrun) revealed we were not the only group looking forward to the run.

Prising myself from my iPad, I got myself together and checked I had everything in order... including my race number which I left behind last year! I devoured my breakfast much to the amazement of a few tweeters who thought 400g of porridge and 4 boiled eggs was excessive  - gotta love a breakfast twitpic! I was keen to get to Warwick Castle early and welcome our team, some of whom I had never met before.

Arriving in Warwick I got that feeling I always get when the town is bathing in early morning sunshine, that butterfly flutter in my belly; the adrenaline rush of the potential, and the feeling of immense emotion at the possibilities of the day ahead. It's hard to explain but it's the reason I love early mornings - I can tell it's going to be amazing in a certain space but I'm the only one there; I feel very privileged to be there alone when later it will be buzzing. I feel like I've found some exciting news that will change peoples' day, but nobody is awake to hear it.

As I pulled into Warwick Castle, I was greeted with bright hi-vis signage and I followed it through the winding road sheltered by trees with the sun glistening through the gaps in the lush green leaves. I really couldn't wait to get onto the field at Warwick Castle and see and feel the energy of the Heroes Run event. From the peacock entrance the field, drenched in sunshine, lay out before me and the instantly recognisable peacock chorus echoed around the park. The rumble of voices provided an energetic backing chorus. Yes, today was going to be amazing.

Slowly WarwickTweetup members arrived and I convinced them all to wear our new blue WarwickTweetup T-shirts. We really stood out from the crowd and I felt an immense sense of pride to see the blue shirts dotted around the yellow... 'that's our team - they rock!' I thought to myself. Naturally photos were soon the order of the day and Karen Massey (WTU co-founder) was again the official snapper. We all gathered for our group shot near the start/finish line, a sea of blue under the yellow WNNA arch. Following a great warm up by Barry from Smart Therapy, the whole park was warmed up and ready to run. In no time at all, it seemed like we were all stood poised and ready at the start line. Joking and  team banter aplenty in the queue was the order of the day, then suddenly we were off... heading towards the conservatory at the top of the hill. It was show time!

Last year at Stoneleigh Abbey most of the course was in fields and around the back, but this year was different. Around the track we were ushered into the courtyard of the castle and we circled the lawn where many a battle had taken place. Looping down to the dungeons, then up and out of the gates, we were soon running out towards Warwick. As we came out of the gates and turned onto Jury street I realised why I got that feeling earlier. We were the amazing thing that would happen today, we were the buzz and the excitement in Warwick town. 100s of runners engulfed the pavements, and weaving around the roadworks we made our way towards the brow of the hill... and then we were gone. Like a burst of potential energy; a sea of yellow and blue pounding the Warwick pavement.Initially I thought we were simply going to run all the way to the Stratford Road entrance, but we headed back towards the Castle Lane entrance, in through the small gate, and were once again running in the amazing surroundings that Warwick Castle has to offer. With bridges, moats and the odd peacock, it really was an experience to be enjoyed.

I ran the majority of the run with Sian (@SianyShoeShine_) who although I had spoken to on Twitter many times, I had met for the first time just before the race. After setting a blistering pace and chatting her poor ears off, I was given permission to leave my new wingman and head off into the distant trees alone, accompanied by the Rocky soundtrack I had preset on the iPod. In my head I was running now not with Sian but with Apollo Creed on the beach...
until I too hit the wall of my fitness. The last 2k were hard but the sunshine, the Castle views and the amazing marshals (most I believe volunteers) kept me going. Soon the sprint finish was all that lay between me and the pre-decided collapse! Jo Payne (@airambird53), who did an amazing job on the PA, welcomed me to the finish as she did with all the runners, and I felt an amazing sense of achievement. A special mention goes to Richard Burling (@DrDickieJim) who was the first WTU runner to cross the line, and Mr Hatton (David @HattonHarding5's Dad) who ran the entire course with us, amazingly good for his age.

The Air Ambulance do a fantastic job, and it was reinforced to us by the very fact that patients and air crew ran the race with us. Indeed, a young man whose life was saved by the Air Ambulance told us his story on the stage prior to the race - he was there because of them - simple. Every time they fly it's with money raised through events like this... We did something amazing today; we helped them to continue to save lives.

Special thanks to everyone who ran today in a WarwickTweetup shirt, all who organised,and of course to the amazing Jo Payne whose energy and enthusiasm keeps us raising money and telling everyone about the WNAA. You can donate here to our team Just Giving page and help us to help them continue the incredible life-saving work they provide to Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.

 Pictures from the day can be found here...

Many thanks to Recognition Express Warwick for producing our T-shirts and to Goldstar media, Dafferns Accounts and Liquidblu design for sponsoring them.

Proof read by @pinky_princess

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