London Volunteer, Emily, will be running her first marathon in support of the Choir with No Name! Here she reflects on her time with CWNN and her marathon training journey so far...
On October 3rd, I will be running my first marathon, the London Marathon, raising money for the Choir with No Name. As the days tick by, and the training runs get longer it is beginning to feel mighty real. Less than ten weeks to go now.
I have always wanted to run a marathon. I first donned my trainers in an attempt to keep my teenage anxieties at bay about ten years ago now, soothed by the repetitive meditation of it. As I grew older, the distances I wanted to run grew with me. Running has always been around, my grandad has run marathons all his life, even at age seventy. After getting a few 10Ks and a couple of half marathons under my belt, the marathon distance was always looming, a goal I wanted to complete but didn’t know if I ever would, or even could. I couldn’t find the motivation to finally commit and then I joined the choir as a volunteer and suddenly, 26.2 miles suddenly didn’t feel so far, not when running for a charity as wonderful as the Choir with No Name.
CWNN was first introduced to me by my parents who saw them give an unforgettable performance (as they all are) in 2018. As soon as I heard about the organisation I sent in an application to be a volunteer. What’s not to love; tea, biscuits and a natter, followed by a joyous singing session and rounded off by a volunteer cooked sit down meal. Bliss. With a background in performance and an emotional affinity with the mission of the choir I couldn’t wait to get involved.
Three years and a disruptive pandemic later, the choir has become a second family, a community made up of a broad array of different life stories. When I first moved to London, I found the city a bit overwhelming at times, lonely even. It’s a bustling, beautiful, brilliant city but also a bit brutal at times, I found it a bit hard to settle into and feel welcome. The Choir with No Name became this little haven, without wishing to sound too twee, it really is something special. A group of people who make you feel welcome no matter who you are, look after each other no matter what and spread joy no matter where they are. It is this which is going to get me through each and every step towards the finish line on October 3rd.
Over the recent months, getting back to outdoor in-person rehearsals in London has once again become the highlight of my week. I dare you to sing with our members and not leave with a beaming smile on your face, humming to yourself on the journey home. It’s not always easy at choir, sometimes it’s tough, really tough in fact, especially this last year. The difficult reality of isolation for our members was met with the difficult reality that we were limited in how much we could do to help.