Vicki Brammall is part of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir team running for BrightSparks, which helps provide children access to London Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts – and their first taste of Classical Music.
My training for the Virgin Sport Westminster 10K did not get off to the best of starts.
I’m not exactly a seasoned runner – although I enjoy a nice jog in good weather I’m not particularly fast and months can go past without me lacing up my trainers. My last proper stint of running came a few years ago when I was still a student and working at my current company as a summer intern, but since graduating and entering the world of full-time employment my running habit could be said to be “infrequent” at best.
All this considered, I figured that getting back into my local 5km parkrun would be a good way to get the ball rolling again. 9am on a Saturday morning came round and I drove out to the local woods, hoping to get a faster time than my previous visit back in February where the course was more mud than pathway.
All was going well – I’d started off at a reasonable pace for me, clambered up the hill near the beginning of the course for the first time (aptly named “Achilles Hill” by the resident runners) and was heading back out of the woods to start my second of three laps through the trees.
It was then that disaster struck. Running through woods makes for a scenic parkrun, however downhill stretches and tree roots are not the best of companions, and it was there that my family disposition for weak ankles reared its inconvenient head and nearly sent me flying over the aforementioned tree roots.
Despite almost falling flat on my face I managed to finish the course, surprisingly in a quicker time than my last attempt, however the resulting swelling and lack of mobility in my left ankle quickly became apparent and put my training to a firm halt!
So why did I put myself through this ordeal in the first place? A handful of us from the London Philharmonic Choir have bravely agreed to join up with fellow runners from the London Philharmonic Orchestra to run the Virgin Sport Westminster 10K on the 9th July, raising money for the LPO’s school outreach programme BrightSparks.
BrightSparks provides thousands of students from across London and further afield with the opportunity to attend one of the orchestra’s live school concerts, for which many of them it will be their first taste of live classical music. Concerts include free INSET sessions and resources for teachers to prepare them with information and activities to do with their pupils before and after their concert visit.
Funding for arts education has taken a large hit over the years, so initiatives like BrightSparks are more vital than ever in giving young people the opportunity to explore live classical music and even participate in it themselves! One teacher involved in one of the sessions had the following to say about BrightSparks:
“This offers something we can’t in school – most children would not have been to a concert except for BrightSparks. The supporting creative composition resources offer a way to get started simply in class.”
If you’d like to support Team LPC in raising money for BrightSparks, please donate to our Virgin Money Giving page – every £9 raised allows a child to attend one of the many concerts that the LPO put on especially for the programme.
And so what now for my ankle? Fortunately, it’s almost back to normal now and, at the time of writing, there are still over eight weeks until the big day. According to the thorough research I undertook to find a 10K training regime (i.e. a quick search on Google) that’s plenty of time to get “match fit” for the race, so I’m keeping my fingers (and not my ankles) crossed that all will be well for the day of the race!