Another Relay for Life event has been completed, and boy, was it a wet one! It seems like we may have jinxed ourselves by choosing to dress up as Shrek characters, as Mother Nature did her best to turn Monkton Stadium into a swamp! But despite the challenging weather conditions, the team refused to let it dampen our spirits. They heroically walked, danced, and laughed, lap after lap, to complete our 4th Jarrow Relay for Life at Monkton Stadium.
Prior to the event, we were busy fundraising, and we are proud to announce that we celebrated raising £2,085 towards Jarrow Relay’s £85,000 total (to date).
The biblical weather severely impacted our total mileage. Between the rain, sleet, and occasional glimpses of sun, the team bravely battled through to clock up over 118 miles (190 km). We jokingly believe this should be multiplied by 10x to account for the harsh conditions, but alas, even Lord Farquaad wouldn’t allow it.
Each Jarrow Relay for Life has a theme. In the past, We’ve had ‘Christmas’ in 2018; ‘Teams’ and our Wacky Racers in 2019; ‘Memories’ in 2022 and this years theme was ‘hero’s & legends’. We thought most teams would jump at the Marvel and DC Superhero outfits and we wanted to be different! Our team Captain has long been the butt of friendly jokes for his resemblance to our favourite green hero. He suggested it would be funny to go as Shrek and before you knew it, we had the full cast, right down to the 3 blind mice.
It wasn’t mandatory for everyone to dress as Shrek characters, and our M.D. Eddie fittingly dressed as the Lone Ranger, hoping his cowboy hat would shelter him from the sun – though he’d have been better off going as Aquaman. Our Manufacturing Director brought Batman to life with his low baritone rasp, but we might need to stock up on halls soothers for him next week.
The fun began even before the event started, as we set up our tents and space for the following day. Setting up our Team Captain’s 12-man tent, which he fondly remembers from childhood holidays, always brings a laugh. The broken tent poles and bent pegs only add to the excitement for what’s to come at the Relay. We welcomed a new air tent to our basecamp to accommodate some of the team for the following nightshift. It was heart-warming to see the Cell Pack team bringing their families, partners, and friends, integrating seamlessly as one team. The Relay fosters great memories that extend beyond colleagues.
The Relay is not just about walking around the track for 22 hours. From a midnight quiz to Pass the Parcel and a Clubbercise class, there’s a jam-packed schedule of entertainment to enjoy. This year’s boxercise session wasn’t spared from the weather, but it didn’t stop our health alliance team from enjoying the session and setting a good example for the rest of us.
The Candle of Hope Ceremony is a poignant moment during the Relay, as it allows us to reflect and remember those affected by Cancer. Candle bags, adorned with decorations, are lit and placed around the track (though this year, they were placed in the main stand) so we can walk alongside our loved ones who couldn’t join us at the Relay. This year’s ceremony was particularly touching, with speeches and music preceding the lap.
“The usual middle-of-the-pack finish in the midnight quiz was no different this year, but a definite highlight was the hero’s round. We were given the everyday names of heroes, and we had to provide their superhero alter-egos. The usual suspects like ‘Peter Parker,’ ‘Clark Kent,’ and ‘Bruce Wayne’ cropped up, but then the name ‘John Reid’ rolled from the quiz master’s mouth. We all looked stumped and we were grasping at straws when Talia blurted out ‘John Reid Road’ (one of the main roads in South Shields). We all had a good laugh, and the quiz round ended with a complete guess for the final question.
The next bonus round was a bit of a disaster as we tried to regain our composure after the hero round. As the quiz drew to a close, and we swapped papers to mark each other’s answers, we eagerly awaited to find out who John Reid was… any guesses before we tell you? John Reid is better known as *drumroll please* The Lone Ranger!! A HUGE sigh came from the end of the table as Eddie’s head fell into his hands. He absolutely loves western films and couldn’t believe he didn’t get the answer. Then the realization sunk in as his cowboy hat slipped over his face, hiding his frustrations. HE WAS DRESSED AS JOHN REID. A.K.A. THE LONE RANGER!
Fortunately, the rain stayed away, and the winds died down for the night time laps. These laps are usually some of the most challenging after a long, emotional day of walking, and battling the rain would have made them even more arduous. However, they are undoubtedly worth it, as they often provide the most thought-provoking moments during the 22-hour relay. There is nothing quite like walking around the track as the sun begins to rise, casting its light upon the night sky.
After completing a good number of laps during the night and enjoying a quick breakfast (we especially loved the addition of Cooplands Bakery for breakfast this year), it was time to pack away the tents. Of course, packing everything away is never as enjoyable as setting up, but it’s a necessary task before we could fully embrace the closing ceremony and add another Relay to the books.
Despite the challenging weather, Relay for Life 2023 was a memorable and heart-warming event. It’s not just about raising funds; it’s about coming together as a community, honouring those affected by cancer, and creating lasting memories. Next year, the Jarrow Relay aims to reach £1,000,000 in total funds raised since the first relay back in 2007. We’re committed to doing all we can to achieve this milestone and would love for you to join us in the journey.