It’s a marathon not a sprint

This weekend I watched, in Cambridge, the start of the race called Wings of Life. The race is run simultaneously in 23 countries raising money for people with spinal injuries. At midday GMT runners across the world set off on a run and keep running until the chase car overtakes them. It means you can run at a casual jog or at an ultra-marathon pace and all be part of the event.

As I watched the participants who had prepared for the event I was reminded of our pupils lining up for the start of the examination season. Preparing for exams, to me, is no different to preparing for a marathon. Both events are long, and for both events you need a positive mind set when obstacles come your way. In the case of marathons, it is the inevitable wall, in exams the difficult question you were not anticipating. However, with both, it is the preparation and training before the event that gets you through. It is the time invested in the earlier months, to building up the fitness, the stamina, the perseverance, that makes the race easier. As Oprah Winfrey says “running is a great metaphor for life – you get out of it what you put into it”. The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

On race day itself, with the training behind you, it is the cheering and support from the crowds that helps to pick you up when you are feeling jaded. It is the applause, the encouragement, the taking on of fluids and nutrients that see you through. During the exam season, the family plays a vital role in cheering on their daughters, picking them up when they think a paper was a disaster, feeding them nourishing food and encouraging them to keep to their work plan. Like the marathon, exams are a team event and that is why the finishing line for both is a moment of great pride and joy. All the hard work and all the training paid off.

As I watched families supporting their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons at the start line of Wings of Life I wanted to cheer on all our pupils lined up on the metaphorical start line of examinations at BGS. I know they have prepared thoroughly and prepared well. Their training and continued positive mind set will see them through.

I also thought how much I wanted to be on the start line once again and would encourage any member of the BGS community out there to join me for the next Wings of Life race in May 2018.

Jo MacKenzie, Headmistress, Bedford Girls’ School

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