I often wondered how I would apply the things that I have learnt from the classroom in reality, especially when things in real life can be so unpredictable. A few months ago, I was working on a case study and came across an interesting story. It is about a man with physical disability who wanted to participate in a running race with his father, so they did it together with the help of a purposely built wheelchair. The things that I find the most interesting is not so much about the special wheelchair, it is how this man with physical disability was able to be part of the race and experience the atmosphere.
In my previous blogs, I have mentioned one of the things that I enjoy the most (beside baking) is running. For me, it’s a meaningful occupation that helps me to relax, get healthy and allow me to collect my thoughts. In the last few years, I have participated in a few big races, which included the 2017 London Marathon and I loved it. But unfortunately, I have to miss the Britain’s Ocean City 10K in Plymouth because of an injury that I have picked up earlier in the year. The decision to skip this year’s 10K race is not an easy one, but I had to rest in order for my body to recover.
Nonetheless, I volunteered to be part of the marshal team for the race. Little did I know that was an absolutely brilliant experience! It was an early start to the day, at 7:30am, and I was already at the Guildhall to collect the radio and the volunteer packs that I needed. Just before the start of the race, I used the radio to check in with the control team. I seriously cannot tell you how important I felt when I said “Marshal 18 is in position” 😎
It was amazing to see all the runners with different abilities heading in the same direction (well, I think they had to because the marshals were doing a great job! 🤣), the atmosphere was fantastic. Although I did not run, I was able to give the other runners the encouragement to carry on. Their sheer determination to complete the race was a privilege to witness.
Throughout my time at the University studying occupational therapy, I was taught that even though I might not necessary be able to change a person’s circumstance, it does not mean it has to be the end of the story. In this case, my volunteering experience with the 10k race has provided me a great deal of joy, and as I was cheering on all the runners passing me, I was even more motivated and optimistic to get back into running in the near future. Of course, my situation is different to the man with a physical disability that I mentioned earlier, but I can relate to what he was feeling when he completed the race with his dad. I believe when you can connect to other human beings through a mutual and meaningful occupation, the positive feelings often outweigh the negative thoughts that we felt at the time. No matter what life may throw at us, we have the ability to be the shining light to those around us.
“You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are, change the ending” – C.S. Lewis