Some of you regular fans of Parkinsons.Me maybe familiar with a madcap group of people known collectively as ‘The Wolverines’. We get muddy together, that’s the foundation of our group. I know what you’re thinking, shouldn’t supporting P.Me be the foundation of our group? You’re probably right…but to be honest…the mud sort of came first. Let me tell you about it.
About a year ago my Dad was asked if he would be interested in doing a Wolf Run, to help support a guy called Ewan with Parkinsons disease who wanted to complete one. It was a bit of a personal challenge for Ewan (who trained at the same gym as us) and it was thought that a team of experienced mud runners would be good to help him and his other supporters get round if things got tough. Dad had seen a few videos on Facebook that had been posted by this guy Ewan of his training and Dad thought it’d be good fun to be part of the team.
This was the birth of The Wolverines.
The team would meet on Sunday mornings for a little training run around the village, a reasonably paced 3-5k usually. We knew Ewan was in the early stages of setting up Parkinsons.Me but by the morning of the Spring WolfRun it had been granted registered charity status – it was official! As the convoy set out for the Spring Wolf (via Costa Coffee) the pack had already grown to include various friends/family/children/partners etc to support, babysit, cheer, get their faces painted and feed the runners.
I remember the team shivering their way back to where we supporters set up base – elated and, in some cases, bordering on hypothermic (Read Ewan's blog). Ewan could be heard muttering the words ‘I’m glad I’ve done it, but I’m not doing it again’. This was short lived, it was not long before these words were replaced with ‘I want to be an Alpha Wolf’.
For those not familiar with the Wolf Run let me explain. There are four Wolf Runs in a year: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. If you run all 4 in the same calendar year you qualify for ‘Alpha Status’. Ewan wanted to be an Alpha and he wanted to bring as many people along for the muddy ride as possible.
This is where I started running with the pack. Being so inspired by how well everyone did at the Spring Wolf and by having a whole bunch of eager mud running friends encouraging me, I decided I would join them for the Summer Wolf. I won’t lie – it wasn’t really my thing, especially the near panic attack caused by getting stuck in the mud (after a recurring nightmare to the same effect in the week leading up to the run). But in true Wolverine spirit I was never left alone, I had a shoulder to cry on when needed and there was always a muddy paw to pull me out. And that……right there is The Wolverines through and through, and…Parkinsons.Me. There is a reason P.Me uses the hashtag #strongertogether. Because we are. Stronger. Together.
I may not get muddy with the pack now but I still run with them (most) Sunday mornings. I have attended every Wolf Run (I like to call myself an Alpha Supporter) and I will support at every event I can with this amazing group of people…for an amazing group of people. I knew very little about Parkinson’s prior to getting involved with P.Me, and I still don’t know a lot but I know a lot more than I did. I see how wide reaching into family and friendships Parkinson’s can get, how earth quaking the diagnosis must be, how hard to get your head around for both the sufferer and the people who surround them. But I have also seen, first hand, how positive that far reaching effect can be! And that is the beauty of P.Me – P.Me IS that positive effect. They know that dealing with Parkinson’s isn’t easy, that not every day is a good day. That sometimes, you need that muddy paw to pull you out, or a shoulder to cry on, or just to know you have that person on the sidelines cheering you on. I am proud to be playing such an active part in supporting an organisation that wants to be that support crew. We have become like a little family.
Roughly 15 people started the 2016 Spring Wolf, roughly 50 crossed the finish line at Winter 2016. By the time we complete Winter 2017 we will have 11 runners achieving their Alpha status…2 of those also getting Double Alpha… that’s a pretty strong pack mentality. We have even got the cubs involved (technically, you could class me as a cub, my Dad is one or the ‘original’ wolverines and my Mum is dedicated supporter and muddy kit washer but at 33 I think calling myself a cub is a bit of a stretch). We have had our Cubs run in Tough Mudder Mini Mudder, they have joined us on the Boxing Day Family Fun Run and we have a load dying to reach an age where they can hit their first mud runs (crazy lot). And this is the beauty of the pack – we are all inclusive, big, small, young, old, runner, non runner.
It doesn’t matter. We really are #strongertogether. I am proud to be part of the pack. Interested in finding out more about the Wolverines? Why not chat online with them at the Parkinsons.Me forum. Click the link and sign up today ->