By Rebekka Hodges
A FEW WEEKS ago I received an email to notify me about an upcoming event; Starfish Greathearts Foundation would be holding a 24-hour ‘Spinathon’ event at Pedal Studio, Putney. Starting at 6pm on a Friday evening (24 February) the event would go continuously through the night and the following day to raise money for orphaned and vulnerable children in southern Africa who are affected by HIV/AIDS.
For those of you who don’t know what ‘spinning’ is, picture a room filled with stationary exercise bikes lined up in rows, all pointing at one single bike that looks out over the others. The person who takes this seat is the group’s mentor for the duration of the class, leading you through various interval workouts. You however, keep control over your own workout by monitoring your own bike’s resistance.
On reading the email I was reminded of my first two years of university: three mornings a week (if you are one of those frustratingly perky people who call 5am ‘morning’, despite the fact the sun is still sleeping), my friend would arrive out the front of my house, honk his horn and then drive us to our local gym for a spin session.
Without fail I would be quiet, I will even admit I was a tad grumpy, until the time we would set foot in the spin room, and then suddenly I would transform; this unbelievable burst of energy surging from deep within.
On the morning of 25February, I woke up to my 5:30am alarm, jealous of the sun still blissfully snoozing, dressed in the dark so as not to wake my friend and stepped outside onto the street, wondering why I decided to wear ¾ tights, my calves burning in the brisk morning air.
But then, as it did all of those years ago at university, the moment I walked through the door, my spirits were lifted, guided by the warm reception of the Starfish staff, who despite working around the clock and through the night, still bore an enormous smile.
By 6am, it was already half way into the event, and by 6pm that night there were 11 instructors and 11 teams totaling 120 participants who came through the doors to bring together an impressive £11,000 (and counting) for charity.
‘It’s just like riding a bike,’ I thought to myself as I realised it had probably been over two years since I’d had the opportunity to ride one. Sure enough, the first fifteen minutes were rough, but after that and well into my second hour, I was on that natural high that comes with exercise, all the endorphins buzzing around and bopping in time to Europe’s ‘Final Countdown’ encouragingly blaring through the speakers.
For those of you who have not donated, but would like to, or would even like to get involved in other events through the charity, it’s not too late.
Visit the Starfish website to view all upcoming charity events or make a donation via Starfishcharity.org