Day 121 mile 121: In Memory of Ayrton Senna. Today is the first of May and marks 1/3 of the way through the year, it also marks the anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna one of (possibly the) greatest racing drivers of all time, as a result I have run today’s route in an S to commemorate this.
It feels a little odd and arbitrary as there are millions of people one could chose to commemorate every day but the death of Senna (and Roland Ratzenberger) left something of an impression on me.
I have grown up with a Dad who to this day is passionate about motorsport, some children are born into houses with football, some with horse riding, for me it was anything with an engine, preferably one that was ‘mighty quick’ as he was fond of saying.
So, as I grew up Senna was something of a hero, he first raced at F1 level in the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix, I was 4 that year. Over the next decade as I grew up Senna was something of a constant, an almost mythical figure whose skill on the racetrack was only matched by his humanity and intellect off track. He drove for several teams over the course of his career, but for me the abiding memories are the years he drove for Maclaren, We would take in these exploits as may Dad and I would eat sausages and bread with the front door open; and the steady progress of the dappled light coming in through the leaves would progress across the carpet as the afternoon wore on, counting off time, laps remaining and warming the wooden front step on which we would sit.
Senna’s tragic death was possibly the first of someone who had that sort of status in my 14 year old mind. It is true that loved ones had passed away but never quite someone who for me had such untouchable superhuman status, the fact that it was so unexpected, and doing something which he obviously enjoyed and was so superbly proficient made it even more shocking.
In the intervening years I have wondered why this stays with me. Perhaps it is just the effect of the media, or the fact that it is such an iconic date, or perhaps the fact that over the course of growing up Senna was one of those figures that would make you sit back and go ‘bloody hell! at this age he was a world champion and I’m doing what?’. I think rather, that it brings me back to that room with my Dad, the little table, sunshine and the smell of bread rolls cooking along the odd notch below the step which is slightly uncomfortable to catch your fingers, on but somehow can’t help prodding.
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1678.9 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Thanks as ever for all the support and generosity aver the past few days 🙂