The CATS 10K Challenge Review
Thank you everyone for taking part
So the challenge has now finished and what a finish. Over 60 people put their vests on for one last time on the final weekend of the challenge, a fitting and for me an emotional end to an amazing challenge. The final weekend really epitomized what the challenge stood for, why we did it, why it was so important, so special. People from all over the country, putting on the now almost famous CATS10k vest, walking out their front doors and running in the fight against Tay Sachs. So, whether it was a race, a country run or a jog / walk through their local town the CATS10k vest was everywhere.
And this is exactly what the CATS10k Challenge was meant to be. A challenge not just about raising money but about raising awareness, hundreds of people (strangers in a lot of cases) signing up and running for a cause most had never heard of before. A challenge that would capture the imagination and hearts of those taking part.
I could go on and on and on about how amazing this challenge was but when I was asked to write this review I immediately decided that the review shouldn’t be about one person’s view or one person’s story (most people know my story anyway) but it should be a collaboration of other people’s thoughts and feelings of why they took part and what made the challenge so special.
But before I say goodbye, in one year we have;
- Had almost 631 challengers take part and wear the CATS10k Vest
- Raised almost £10,000
- Seen the vest at various landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, The Forth Bridge, The Angel of the North, Caerphilly Castle, Brighton Pier (more than once!), the Summit of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons and at various road races, trail races & mud runners etc across the country
- Seen the vest in amazing places such as Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, Hoi An in Vietnam & Tarpon Springs in Florida whilst the vest was also seen in South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Portugal, Spain, Norway, the United Arab Emirates and many, many more
As always, peace and love, Brian Watson
James and Deborah Alford, parents of Isabella
James and I signed up to do our 10km challenges fairly early on after the event was launched. We have a very special bond with The CATS Foundation as our daughter Isabella has Tay-Sachs disease so we always try to support the charity and raise awareness as best we can. We chose to do our challenges during the very last week as we knew it would be a special time and also it would give James more time to train. He had not ever run 10km before and he wanted to build up to it at a steady pace. I’m afraid I never intended to run mine, but was always planning to walk and push Isabella along with me. As my 10km date approached I decided that we could help the event come to a close on a high by planning our own event around our challenge and so ‘Isabella’s 10km Day’ evolved.
We invited people to come and join us on our walk, to either go 5km or 10km and pay an appropriate amount for the privilege! We had a group of almost 50 of us on the day, many of them children! We carried orange balloons, waved our home made flags, sold merchandise and also had a licence to take collection buckets on our route through Thetford. We also asked the press to come along and succeeded in making the front page of our local paper. We walked 5km in the morning then stopped for a big picnic in the park for lunch and a brave little band of us in our 10km vests carried on and walked the other 5km in the afternoon. It was a fantastic day, we were supported by so many friends and as a result, ‘Isabella’s 10km Day’ raised over £650 and loads of awareness!!! For that I feel very proud!
After joining Bosh Run I found out about the Cats 10k challenge and began to read up on Tay Sachs and after hearing from Brian and seeing and hearing all about amazing Archie it really touched my heart and knew I had to get involved. The bravery of the wonderful children and their families amazed me; I ran 3 times and can’t wait to be able to help again. I often wear my CATS10k shirt even to then gym to raise awareness as I’ve found out just like myself before so many people don’t know about it.
Luke Ashton, ultra marathon runner
After seeing a few posts on our Bosh running group, I was curious to what the CATS 10k challenge stands for? After reading about the Cure and action for Tay-Sachs charity and what was involved, I really wanted to select a day to run for them. I picked an available evening in the summer and ran my favorite route in Brighton down by the cliff under path. Cool and clear conditions meant I could really race the 10k in aid CATS. As an ultra runner I rarely race this distance but it meant a lot to me and the charity to do this. It felt really rewarding. It’s been amazing following the challenge for the year and I would gladly run again for CATS!
Just thought I’d let you know what a privilege it was to take part in the CATS10k. I took up the challenge as it seemed such a great idea for such a great cause. Having read what CATS was about on their website it just seemed like the right thing to do. I ran mine in the gym, on the treadmill. Set a PB too! It’s actually very hard to put into words what and how I feel about CATS. Archie touched me, his FB page, his photos and little stories. Such a lovely chap, he melted my heart and I felt the need to do as much as I could to help. I still think about him, talk about him to people who ask what CATS is when I am out running in my CATS vest . My intention now is to do as much as I can over the next year, running, swimming, cycling basically anything that will help raise awareness and money for CATS ! I can’t wait!!
Being in the running community you always know of someone who is raising money for some charity or the other and you almost become immune to noticing these things. When someone posted about the CATS10k however this was different, an ingenious idea where each runner makes a nominal donation of £10 to run there own 10k race on a date of their choosing whilst wearing the CATS vest supplied. I signed up straight away for the 31st October, Halloween forgetting that I would be in Spain at this time on a track day holiday. In the meantime I learned more about Tay Sachs and the incredible life of the truly special Amazing Archie. Within my facebook running community word soon spread of the CATS 10k challenge and we all fell in love with Archie and his family. I ran my 10k in Spain in 30′ heat and every minute was spurred on by the fight Archie had for life. As soon as I had done this one I signed up again to run another, this one on 31st May, again forgetting this would be 5 days after the Edinburgh marathon, this one spurred on by the memory of Archie as he had lost his battle in March. As one last mark of respect for Archie at the end of the year of the CATS 10k challenge, my friends and I wore our vests again for 1 lap each of the Thunder Run. It has been an honor running for this challenge raising money for a very worthwhile cause and in memory of a truly remarkable young boy who touched the hearts of so many.
I wanted to run either a date in August/September because I was training for the Cardiff Half but as no dates were available I wanted a date that would mean something so I went for the 5th January 2013. This was the first anniversary of the passing of my Mum who died suddenly at the beginning of this year so it seems a fitting way to mark her memory and also raise some money and awareness for Archie and CATS. Wasn’t sure how I’d feel 5 days into the New Year after the Christmas and New Year celebrations but it’s events and moments like this which make you realise there’s more to life than work, work, work and I’m glad I could help in a small way. It was an emotional day but the thought of what you’re all going though and the anniversary of my Mum passing drove me on through the run!
After hearing from Brian about the CATS 10k Challenge I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with. I choose to do my 10K while on holiday in Devon in November. My wife also chose to do it with me. Unfortunately my wife was rather ill on the day and not up to it. I decided to both our 10Ks, a nice 20km around the country lanes of Devon. There were moments it was tough, but, I thought of Archie, his family and everybody else who has or is dealing with Tay Sachs. It got me through. For 20kms I was spreading the word to the good people of Devon, plus their cows and sheep. I will always feel very proud to have been involved with the CATS 10K Challenge!
Daniel Lewi, father of Amelie
When we put together the idea of The CATS 10K Challenge we never thought it would be as successful as it has turned out to be! We never doubted we would get 365 runners to take part, but to have nearly double that number join us and help raise awareness of Tay-Sachs has been amazing! I can’t thank everyone enough for helping us make the challenge such a success and we hope you will be wearing your running vests at any future running events.
For parents like us who have children affected by Tay-Sachs it really makes us proud that there are so many people out there who wanted to help raise the profile of the charity by taking part. Without your support the charity would not be able to do as much work as it can – so thank you again!
The CATS 10K Challenge Video – YouTube
The CATS 10K Challenge Video – Vimeo