The sun shone through the streets of central London to spur on the runners of Team 999 Club in this year’s Vitality 10k event, on 27th May.
Wearing the bright orange and yellow t-shirts of the charity, the five runners raced through closed roads in Westminster and the City to raise thousands of pounds for people in South East London who experience homelessness.
So far, they have collectively raised nearly £6,000 through online fundraising appeals to friends, family, colleagues and clients. The money contributes to running the 999 Club’s emergency Night Shelter and its drop-in day centre on Deptford Broadway, which help hundreds of people a week who are homeless or worry they may become homeless.
Here are some of the runners’ experiences from the day.
“It felt like London was ours”
Romy Bracq, who is a manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Greenwich, ran the Vitality 10k event for the first time.
The 27-year-old keen runner said the chance to run on closed roads through central London was a real highlight.
She added: “It was absolutely amazing to run on the London streets, I run quite often but I never get a chance to do it in central London as it is always busy. It felt like London was ours! The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic, the crowd was constantly cheering for us.
“I love taking part in races, but when you do it for charity it makes it so meaningful. There are so many times in life where we feel powerless but in that moment, you feel like you are doing something, that you are part of something bigger than yourself. When colleagues and friends ask me why I take part in these events, I just tell them that this is something they need to do to understand.”
For Matthew Walker, a partner with US law firm K&L Gates, this was his first charity 10k run.
The 45-year-old from Lewisham said: “In the build-up to the event, I was a bit daunted at the challenge – I had never run 10km before. So I made sure I did plenty of training runs locally, past the 999 Club and down Deptford High Street because I wanted to feel a physical connection with the cause I was running for.
“The atmosphere on the day was amazing, and the 999 Club t-shirt was a big hit. The bright colours meant people saw it and were calling my name the whole way round, which was really encouraging.
“It was my first event like this, and I didn’t know what to expect. The adrenaline made me run a bit faster at first than I should have, and by 4km I was feeling it. But then I saw my family cheering me on at the half-way point and that took me through the final leg to the finish line.
“Although the run was hotter and harder than I imagined, I would definitely do something like this again, especially for a charity as meaningful as the 999 Club.”
About the 999 Club
The 999 Club is based in neighbouring Deptford, Lewisham, and has a 27-year history of working with people who have experienced homelessness. They provide a warm welcome for people who are often ignored, isolated or stigmatised, empowering them to gain the confidence, skills and support needed to transform their lives.