It was a remarkably different end to my weekend on Sunday 27th October and mainly because of John Brookes, a great fella from Teeside.
For breakfast I had rose jam on quark and a slice of gluten free toast with butter before heading to meet John at the Complete Holiday Services where Süleyman Çardak had provided a free wheelchair for John to ‘run’ the Caretta 5km race in. John had been entering on foot before he broke it in nearby Ortaca rendering him unable to walk and so had been fortunate to be the only competitor on wheels. He was also doing this to support the local animal shelter including collecting donations from as many people as possible.
We were early but I pushed John from Süleyman’s shop to sit nearer to where the start line was and it was very apt that two dogs came to him for some cuddles. Captain Caveman came to see us off, took a few photos and had agreed to come back after nipping to the shop and getting the dinner in the slow cooker. There was a lot of people taking part and there were 3 stages which we were starting at the very end of.
We set off, slowly but surely, with a guy called Sam next to us (and his wife), this guy had suffered a stroke only a month ago and was determined to finish the race. I also didn’t want to let John down and so was equally focused on completing the course. The 5km route was flat but there were differing road surfaces of block paving, tarmac and concrete. John was so nice and he even kept his supporters informed with live posts on Facebook, encouraging more donations, as we went along and it got warmer. In some ways it was easier than I thought as once the wheelchair got going it could go fairly well but I had definitely worn the wrong shoes to do anything more than walk and push. John was in a good position to do selfies and he certainly got some cracking photos of us at a crime scene, wondering if we would need the ambulance and wishing there was tequila to spur us on!
At the halfway mark I had trouble doing a turn and knocked over the marker while we both sung (we’re half way there, whoa) Living on a Prayer, badly. We had water and also oranges at half time – Sam even started telling some jokes. John also realised I might need to wear his gloves to help with the vibrations and we put things in perspective as we passed a poor guy doing the race on crutches.
By the time we were ready for the finish line it was definitely getting tiring and I looked out for Captain Caveman while John had a call from his daughter. I hung back to make sure we were all ready to cross the finish line, live on Facebook but John struggled to get the camera on selfie mode and Captain Caveman wasn’t there. We made it over the finish line in about 70 minutes, just behind Sam and his wife, so we were relieved and happy about that. Captain Caveman arrived 5 minutes later and was surprised to see we had already finished and had picked up some snacks and refreshments.
John had been given a much deserved medal and so we went off in to the square to take some photos. Sam brought me over a medal too and I was really chuffed, John was pleased too as we agreed it had been a great race! Next year we would run it together but for this year we were grateful to have been able to finish the race with both us and the chair in tact.
We had a cup of tea at Bistro Blue before John and I went back to drop off the wheelchair and him pick up his mobility scooter, which he gave me a lift back on – wow, they are whizzy little things. Süleyman was there to congratulate John (and me) and we were both grateful for the loan of the wheelchair!
Back at Bistro Blue I had lunch with Captain Caveman while he watched the rugby. I also managed a cider before my steak and blue cheese salad plus 2 glasses of red wine. Back home I had some snacks as I was still hungry and had a loll about after my shower.
We stayed in for dinner with brisket, carrots, potatoes, onions and mushrooms, done in the slow cooker.
Photo credit includes Captain Caveman, John Brookes, Ingrid Uzun, and the official Caretta Run photographers.