As you will know if you’ve seen our Twitter feed or read this blog over the last few days, we had a mega weekend last weekend! We were at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. It’s a big deal – a great event and a big part of the Festival of the Outdoors which takes place across lots of events all over Sheffield during March.
As well as that, the best running festival I’ve ever been to, The BIG Running Weekend, was taking place in Ecclesall Woods and RAR were very involved in that too.
As you might’ve already read on my other blog, this is a joint blog! I’m talking about the BIG Running Weekend over there, and concentrating on ShAFF over here. It’s Friday evening and we’ve already heard about three BRW plogging runs, so let’s get that stand set up ready for ShAFF…
I’ve got to say I was pretty proud of the stand. I realised I couldn’t be around all weekend so tried to make it as engaging as possible, with quizzes to do, stickers and badges to take away, and even sweets. It’s not perfect, but I hope we can get a lot of life out of it! If you came and saw us at the festival, let me know what you thought.
With the stand set up, on Saturday morning I headed to Ecclesall Woods!
Welcome back! After an awesome morning on the Black route, I was back at ShAFF by lunchtime and it looked very different to last night – people and stands everywhere! I had a little wander round, met my friend Tom at the GoodGym stand and the lovely people over at Climbers against Cancer, amongst others.
ShAFF is such a busy event, there are always about five different things going on at once! I spent the afternoon talking to people about (inevitably) litter and running, and met some wonderful people. Everyone seemed to agree that things are gradually starting to change – picking up litter is becoming more normal, and dropping rubbish is becoming more and more socially unacceptable. This is what we are trying to achieve, and I felt really positive to hear it’s not just me that can see things starting to move.
But no time to dawdle in positivity, I’ve got to give a talk at the BIG Running Weekend at 7:30! Before I left I just managed to catch my friend Alex taking part in the Howard Street Dual…
The great thing about giving a talk twice on the same night is that you get a chance to perfect it! Two hours after my talk at the BIG Running Weekend, I was at ShAFF for a film screening session called “Run for your Life”. After a few tiny technical hitches had been ironed out we got the audience (hundreds of them – terrifying!) into the cinema and I stood up to begin my evening as compere. I don’t think my heart rate dropped below 150 till the end of the last film, but it was great. I introduced RAR and our purpose once again, then led into the films and my fellow presenters: Tom from GoodGym, Marcus Scotney, and Fiona Oakes. If you don’t know about her, Fiona is a pretty incredible woman! There’s so much I could say we would be here all night, but for someone to run a 2:37 marathon yet calls themselves “not a good runner”, and to win races all over the world yet still view running as a means to an end, takes a pretty rare person. I’d suggest you watch her film if you ever get chance.
Speaking of films, we’re in the middle of watching some at ShAFF aren’t we… I reviewed them a few weeks beforehand and they are all great, but I particularly enjoyed two films: “For the love of Mary”, and “One mile an hour”. Have a read of my reviews here and watch them if you get chance.
With the screening done and having not got anyone’s name wrong or fallen over, I joined Jane (who was instrumental in getting everything that happened at ShAFF off the ground) and the other hard-working volunteers and staff for a beer or three before heading home…
After the Running with Poles session at BRW I was pretty much finished, so headed back to ShAFF for the remainder of Sunday. We had a big event planned – the Pocket Park cleanup!
The Porter Brook Pocket Park is a little green oasis in the middle of the city, but it’s been a bit neglected and needed a bit of help. At 2:45 on Sunday, myself and a gang of children and parents (including the ever-energetic Jane, her son and partner) headed down to sort it out. We had Roger with us. Roger is a remote control wheelie bin, so adventures like this are right up his street.
The children were awesome. As adults we very rarely get so caught up in something that we forget everything else and just throw ourselves wholeheartedly into a task, but that’s exactly what these guys did. It was amazing, and of course the only thing to do is to join in! I was in the river helping the children pull out huge bits of plastic and tins, we climbed all over the park picking up the tiniest little bits, and we filled bags and bags with disgusting rubbish before we even got there!
I’m going to end it there, because this is the perfect note to do so on. We spent about an hour at the park, and at the end it was spotless. We even pulled a tin can of paint out of the river. By the end of the weekend I was totally knackered, but the energy of the kids who cleaned up that park on Sunday was totally inspirational and is my abiding memory of ShAFF. Writing about it now makes me want to go out and do it again!