Charlie tells us what inspired her to take part in Willow Warrior in 2015.. and sign up again this year, too:

Running and Mud. Not something I would have thought I'd ever associate myself with. I genuinely don't like either. The last time I'd been covered in mud I was three years old and, not liking a dress my mum had made me wear, I went in my back garden and literally rolled in the flower beds. Now, 40 years later, I was going to recreate that memory. Except this time in an outfit I was proud to wear: my Willow running vest.

Willow is a charity that is part of my family. A charity that at a dreadful time in my life, provided myself and my family with a Special Day. A day that reconnected my family and provided us with everlasting memories. So when my work friends mentioned there was a Willow mud run it was easy to be convinced it would be 'fun' and we should all sign up. My training started and before I knew it I was running 5km around my local streets. I used an app on my phone and went out in the evenings after work. It wasn't always easy but I kept reminding myself that I always felt great at the end of a run for getting out there and doing it. That helped keep me motivated.

On the day of Willow Warrior I still couldn't really believe I was going to do it. I was going to get mud on my face! I nervously set off and at the first obstacle I tried to run around the edge of it. I skipped over puddles of mud in a rather delicate, 'girlie' way. Suddenly I reminded myself I was a warrior. I'd been through worse and proved how strong I was. So I embraced it. I embraced my inner three year old self. I waded through muddy water, crawled army style under nets in mud and slid down a water slide. Was it fun? Oh it most certainly was! I was a child again.

It was an easy decision to sign up again this year. I cannot wait to experience the laughter and camaraderie with all the other runners. This time I will embrace it from the start. Tips I picked up were to lace trainers well. Loose shoes may come off in the mud as you pull your feet out of it. Also, help one another. It's so much more rewarding to help other people over a wall before you move on. Don't take it too seriously; let go, laugh, smile and enjoy it. Mostly though I'd say don't forget why you are doing it. Get sponsored, raise money and raise awareness of the work this wonderful charity does.

Without events like this, the money it raises and all the wonderful people participating, Willow would not be able to provide people like myself with Special Days. Now that makes all the mud that was in my hair worth it!"

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