I mentioned in Wednesday’s post that we had a really good weekend.
It was one of those weekends where all the social buses come at once and we had to decline about 3 invitations to a wedding, a party and a fantastic free opportunity for my work. Having declined these invites we were still left with a very hectic Saturday of juggling and getting different family members to the right place at the right time.
The two hobbies that B really enjoys are running and playing his clarinet with the local junior training band. So, it was a bit of a pain when we discovered that the Music Centre Jubilee summer fair fell on the same day as the annual Metro Sports athletics games. And then an even bigger dillema emerged when, having committed to the games, and Daddy had secured a guide runner and had been training, we discovered 5 weeks before the event that my foster brother had decided to get married on that day.
The metro games is an anual event, which has, apparently been running for about 30 years. In its hay day it was a national championship type event for visually impaired athletes and many athletes who went on to compete in the Paralympics would compete in the Metro games. Now it is a much smaller event. I may at some point talk about some of the reasons for this, but this post is about our weekend. So the relevant point is that the event is not large, there were about 100 competitors registered to compete, which is enough to make it a good day.
So, to cut a long story short after family discussions we all agreed that it would be a shame for D and B to miss their running, particularly as D had organised for a friend to run with him and we had agreed to take them out to dinner afterwards. However, the number of competitors is also relevant because it played a part in informing our family decision. Not only did D and B want to run, but as well as the 2 of them M was registered to compete, so was my Brother and my Nephew, so if all of them had decided to go to the wedding it would have meant the withdrawal of 5 competitors in one go. As M wasn’t so keen on the athletics she decided to go to the wedding, my brother felt he should attend the wedding and my Nephew chose to go to the games. I have to admit that I would have done either, but B wanted and needed his supporter in chief for the athletics:)
Sorted, Myself and Daddy would take B and his cousin to the athletics while the rest of the family went to the wedding. - Oh no – it couldn’t be that simple! Along came the jubilee fair and the chance to play clarinet with the band for captive mums and friends whilst they purchased raffle tickets and admired elaborate cup-cakes. “Ok”, I said, “it’s a shame its the same weekend, but you’ve done a couple of concerts recently so perhaps you’ll have to give it a miss this time” - That didn’t go down too well. B wanted to do both and he can be VERY persuasive. He set about telling me how I could get him to band and what time we would leave how we could get accross London and meet up with Daddy. Daddy and cousin could make their way to the athletics and collect all the registration stuff. B worked out he would probably miss the first race, which he didn’t want to do anyway. So how could I refuse? It’s also nice to support him in something he likes doing.
Saturday morning dawned, M was escorted to Grandma’s dressed in her finery ready to attend her first wedding. B and I set off for the music Centre and Daddy and cousin embarked on a trek accross London, which was a first for my 10yo nephew, having to guide his Uncle across London and to find the Sports stadium at the other end:)
The first success of the day was B’s band. They played 3 tunes, including Land Of Hope And Glory. I had never heard it played quite like is was!! – but given that until Saturday morning they had never played it before I think they did a brilliant job.
B was incredibly pleased that we had gone to the fair and that he had got the chance to perform. And I have to admit it is lovely to watch them and to see how much he enjoys being part of the band.
We then made the long journey across London and met up with Daddy and cousin at about 1.00pm. As predicted B had missed the first race, but he wasn’t bothered. B is like his dad and prefers to run long distances. He regularly runs a 5km run with his dad on a Saturday morning. These games were on a running track and are subject to different rules. I’m afraid I don’t have a clue about all the different athletics bodies etc. but is was explained to me that rules about track running are different to the rules for road races and cross-country running. Anyway, the result is that for this competition, as B is under 12 years old he is only allowed to compete in a 60m race, a ball throw and a standing long jump. He had missed the 60m race! It wasn’t a big deal for B, but when we discovered that his cousin had won I felt a bit bad that we hadn’t been there to cheer him on.
The afternoon progressed, the boys made a friend and they competed in the ball throw and the standing long-jump. Cousin came second in the ball throw and B came 4th. For the standing long-jump it was a very close contest between B and his cousin. B did a fantastic jump, but unfortunately on his best jump he stepped backwards with one foot, so they had to measure from the back foot. For the other jumps both boys were within centimetres of each other. Cousin won by about 3cm and B came second. But the most important thing was they had a lovely afternoon. One of the highlights was that Mandeville, one of the Olympic Mascots was there. This event was part of the official paralympic festival.
They ended their competition with a fun relay race, where they formed a team with the friend they’d made and D’s guide. All I can say is that the 4 by 100m relay was not their strong point!
Having finished all the other races the final event of the afternoon was the 5000m, which is Daddy’s event. He trains regularly on an indoor machine and goes out running with one of our neighbours or a friend when he can. This is the 3rd year he has competed in this race and on all the other occassions something has conspired against him, so this time he was determined to get a good time.
And get a good time he certainly did! – We stood on the trackside cheering and shouting and they seemed to come round each of the 12.5 laps in ever faster times (I don’t think they really did, it just felt like it). They had lapped all the other competitors and won the race. Not only did he win, but he managed to achieve a personal best time and got a time of under 20 minutes. Which is fantastic:)
The day finished, as all good championships should, with the medal ceremony. Silver medal and certificate for B, 3 medals for cousin and, not just a gold medal, but the senior mens trophy for D.
As this was an official part of the Paralympics festival they were also all presented with a limited edition official Paralympics pin.
So, all in all, it was a great day. The children had lots of fun. Its a chance for people to compete with other visually impaired athletes and for young visually impaired people to meet other young people and adults.
The numbers of people attending these kinds of events are beginning to fall as many young people now attend mainstream schools and colleges fewer people know about these types of opportunities. It would be lovely to share these sorts of events with schools, specialist visual impairment teachers, PE teachers and parents of visually impaired youngsters.
Thanks to all those at Metro Sports for organising another fantastic day.
And thanks to all of you for reading. Please share this and let others know about Metro and the Games. xx
PS D is running the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on 7 October to raise money for the National Autistic Society. I will write some more about it nearer the time, but if you fancy checking out his fundraising page please have a look. If you can’t donate, then please share to raise awareness of the great work they do.