Running for Rett

Last Sunday didn’t start out as they usually do; not getting up too early, enjoying a long morning in bed followed by coffee and pancakes. Instead, we woke up with the sunrise and were ready (or actually not so ready, half awake and blurry eyed) for an active Sunday morning running 5k.

Nowadays it is common that many events that support good causes are combined together with some kind of physical activity, and I think it is great. Any kind of nice physical activity helps us to feel good about ourselves and helps our mood as well as helping us to stay fit and healthy. It’s true that the good feeling doesn’t always come when you are sweating, breathing hard and have aching muscles, but it definitely kicks in later. When you can combine that with the good feeling you get from actually taking part in something that is giving to or making a stand for a cause you believe in then it is double the fun.

These kind of runs are not normally events for people who are seeking a perfect sports result, except maybe in our own imaginations. Instead, they are events that unite people to help and support someone or something, while you get to enjoy yourself and pretend you are a real athlete as you run through the cheering supporting crowd.

Lately we have been trying to get in shape and doing more regular physical activity than we have for a while, so we decided that it would be fun to take part in the 5k colour run here in Tijuana. The run is supporting families with kids who have Rett Syndrome. The truth is that we had never heard of this syndrome before, but now we know a bit about it, so I’m going to share some of that info with you…

Who, or what, is Rett?

“Rett syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects brain development, resulting in severe mental and physical disability. It is estimated to affect about 1 in 12,000 girls born each year and is only rarely seen in boys.”

National Health Service UK

Sadly, there is not yet any cure for Rett Syndrome, but there are ways to help manage symptoms, to improve quality of life and to prevent complications. These can include medication, physiotherapy, neuro-rehabilitative therapy, speech therapy and nutritional support.

Every kid with Rett Syndrome is unique, just as we are all unique. They need help with daily life activities, but they are still able to develop independent skills and to learn from new experiences. There are augmentative communication devices and other technologies that can help a lot. They help kids to to communicate with friends and family so that they they can interact, continue learning and enjoying life. The kids can express a wide range of emotions, show interest, be social, and take a full part in their family and community. They just need to be accepted as an equal and a little bit of our understanding and support!

Getting back to Sunday morning

Ah yes, coming back to the run…

Somehow John had never taken part in such an event, this was the first organised run that he had actually laced his shoes up and hit the streets in. Of course, it wasn’t the most professional or competitive run but still we are both quite competitive and definitely didn’t want to be anywhere near the last people to cross the finish line. Actually, our results were quite good, so we were pleased with ourselves. We enjoyed the run, had fun, became a little bit colourful, got some instant pictures and of course the medals to remember this nice event by. Probably we will do such things more regularly, starting with another 5k in a few weeks!

It might have been small but the event was well organised and everyone could take a part, including kids, people pushing baby buggies and even some running walking with their pets! One slightly weird moment was that just before the start ladies were asked asked to stand on the left side and gents on the right, then everyone started at the same moment and merged together after a couple of metres. Maybe there was a point to that, but I was too busy running to try and figure it out 🙂

Since it was a colour run, there were plenty of (non glittery and eco friendly) coloured powders flying around, which are always fun and make for some much more exciting photos.

If you feel like supporting a good cause, or just getting fitter by taking part in a 5k or longer run, then I definitely recommend going for it.

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