Leeds Support Group Coordinator, Merane Todd, shares her experience of completing sporting challenge Endure24

What a rollercoaster of emotions for my final event out of 10 challenges. The Endure24 is a 24 hour event with an aim to complete as many 5 mile laps as you can around the stunning trails of Braham Park. 

Often when I take part in an event someone will notice my tremors and ask me if I’m ok and need any assistance.  As the event put out safety notice asking runners to look after each other and report any concerns to marshals on the route, I envisaged people being concerned with my tremors.

There was a social media group in which to share info and tips for the event, so after a lot of thought I took the plunge and posted about my Essential Tremor and how it affects me, with a note to stand back from me at the drinks stations unless people wanted a shower.

The response of support was overwhelming; from people asking how they can support me on the runs, to wanting to know more about the condition.  When it came to event day from the first lap I had people running/walking with me and all the marshals helped me at the drinks station.  With my family based at the tent and finish of each lap providing food/drink and helping with kit change, cooling me down from the sweltering heat, emotional support and encouragement for each lap. I couldn’t have done it without them.

My goal was to complete 30-50 miles and I ran/walked/talked my way round 45 miles until 4:30 in the morning, where my head and legs gave up.  After a couple of hours sleep, breakfast, and some encouragement I surprised myself and my family and got back out there. I think the lack of sleep and adrenaline had truly taken over as I was singing and smiling around the course.

I crossed the finishing line completing 60 miles, with a big grin and a few tears from my inner pride.  I knew that the event would be tough, but the support from some amazing people helped me round.

I have learnt a lot about myself through my training and challenges, which impacts on my daily life as well.  I have good days and bad. On bad days it’s OK to stop, it’s important to take the time out and re-plan to ease back into things, trying to continue to do everything will only cause setbacks and a longer recovery period. 

It’s important to talk to others to make them aware of my condition, and accept any support instead of being stubborn and trying to do everything myself.  It’s also important for others to know about the condition so they can understand, I can’t expect people to be supportive if they don’t know what’s really go on.

My biggest lesson is slow down, in my daily life as well as my running. In running I have never been fast but always trying to chase times and although I enjoyed the social side of it and the satisfaction of finishing, I didn’t really enjoy it.  Now I have discovered that slowing down I get to appreciate more, meet others and actually enjoy the run and it doesn’t set my tremors off as much so bonus. My new motto is “slow down and just keep moving”.

If you would like to donate to Merane go to her fundraising page.