The Half-Time Whistle at Carrow Road

And so after a quick stop off at Norwich Foodbank, I found myself shuffling around in a holding pattern outside the Canary’s Carrow road stadium after being greeted by NCFC’s Chloe Turner. I was frozen despite the glorious day, and could hardly get my legs to work at first. After a few minutes though of trotting in the sunshine, the heat started to seep back into my wasted body, and my excruciatingly painful muscles and joints began to warm up again. Chloe’s welcome, and the excitement of having completed my challenge in time for my official arrival at half-time, seemed to have sent my nausea packing. I was feeling better by the minute.

Frank and Lluís had been led into the stadium via the director’s entrance while I waited by Gate 7 along with Chloe and Mark.

My brother Constantine was led out of the Stadium by the ushers (he’d been watching the game), and I threw myself at him for a quick hug before the ushers led him off towards the Director’s entrance by the ushers, where he would join Frank, Lluís, the Trussell Trust delegate and David McNally, NCFC’s Chief Executive – Mark and Chloe would enter from my entrance.

Before I knew it the doors had opened, the half-time whistle blew and Chloe had organised a corridor of ushers to block me from the crowds as they left their seats.

I won’t go through every feeling, emotion or sound here – there’s enough to fill several pages, that will have to wait for my book, but suffice it to say that running out onto the pitch is a moment I will never forget.

As I ran the length of the pitch I could hear the announcer cheering me on, with every step the clapping grew louder. By the time I had turned left and had run in front of the goal post and turned left again to cut down the centre of the pitch, the crowd was cheering loudly. A roar went up as with a leap I crossed through the yellow and green ribbon. The moment I had been visualising all through the challenge was there, and it was better than I had dreamed of.

The fact that the challenge had been so tough made those minutes even more gratifying and magical. Constatine ran over to me and wrapped me in a bear hug, before I was surrounded my team, by the announcer, David McNallly and the Foodbank people. The team and I knew that we wouldn’t have time to celbrate there on the pitch – our celebrations would come later.

I floated through the next minutes as I went through the pitch-side interview, the T-shirt exchange with David McNally and the photo op.

Before I knew it as a final cheer went up my brother put his arm around me as we were all led off the pitch, in the highest of spirits.

It may have been brief, but that arrival will remain engraved in my memory and in my heart forever – you don’t have experiences like that every day, especially after so many hours of gruelling physical and mental hardship.

On Monday and Tuesday I’ll write about the post match celebrations in the boardroom together with Delia Smith, and the post challenge feedback, and on Wednesday I will be posting the fabulous challenge video.

Tonight a super raclette dinner here with Quim, Fede and their partners – have a wonderful weekend everyone!


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