"Kadris’ Race", Kodukiri magazine, June 2012
I only learnt that we wouldn't be running at all this year after I'd arrived at the Song Festival Grounds on 19 May and joined the company of the more than ten thousand colourful participants of the 25th Maijooks (SEB Women's Race). Our brave team – Kadris from Kadriorg – has this time been entered for walking instead. Our team leader had made a tactically smart move, because if I had known about this plan to 'release the pressure' beforehand, I'm not sure whether I'd have had the guts to join in the first place. When you've been jogging rounds longer than the distance of Maijooks on a daily basis, competing over shorter distances seems senseless and even pointless. However, I realised even before I'd crossed the finish line that, in fact, the benefits are even bigger. By tenfold, I'd say.
Everything started at a meeting – sort of boring – by one of the participants who asked, rather casually, whether anyone would be taking part in Maijooks. And could we go together – the more the merrier? Right, I'd been helping to start the race a couple of decades ago, as a representative of one of the sponsors of the event. Back then, racing en masse wasn't that attractive. But once I'd started to attend the roller skate marathon, I'd got the taste of the immense and inspiring influence that crowds can share. And that it's much easier to cross the same distance in numbers, whether you are jogging or skating. You hardly even notice when you've suddenly crossed the finish line – to say nothing of the exaltation felt later.
OK, let's get it done. Although I'd planned to spend this Saturday gardening at Ärma, giving a new life to the Kadris of Kadriorg outweighed everything else. When we first established the group last year for the 1st Estonian Women's Dance Festival and shared some incredibly nice time together, we didn't have it in us to make very far-fetched plans. Now we had the chance to resurrect our Kadris.
The very same evening I e-mailed an invitation to women from our office to bring the Kadris together again and spend a fun and healthy Saturday together. Hoping, in secret, that some newcomers would also 'catch' the sports virus. In a couple of days, our team had expanded to a rather surprising 17 members; however, only some of them would've been brave enough to run the distance. This is why the team leader of our Kadris entered us for walking – without mentioning it to us. Putting the numbers above the speed. Makes sense!
We enjoyed every centimetre of the seven kilometres, wearing our nice light blue jogging dresses. We made the speed and cheered as if we were taking part in a Song Festival parade. The cheers from the onlookers, in turn, inspired us and this is how we worked our way up from the rear, rather smoothly, into the middle. As we crossed the finish line, our hands and voices reached for the sky, spontaneously, as if we'd practiced it beforehand. Absolutely marvellous!
And what's most important: as we were later sitting on the lawn, eating soup, some of those who'd been scared of jogging, mentioned, quite casually – it wasn't THAT long... maybe we could even race it next year? And everybody agreed. This very nice day and the experience we'd shared by doing something together had given birth to approximately ten new joggers within an hour. The magnificent early mornings and white nights of June are made for such activities in nature. It's never too late to start! Bring a friend and enjoy with us!