I opened the gym, people arrived. They made generous donations, drank some bad tea and coffee with some very tasty cakes. Then of course, everyone rolled, chatted, ate even more cake. We rolled some more, took an awesome group photo and then went home.
All the rushing around and stressing out was for nothing apparently. By the end of the day, it was clear to me that if you offer up a clean mat to roll on (and some free cake between rounds!), everybody’s happy.
I’ll admit I couldn’t take my eyes off the clock for the first fifteen minutes of the morning when no one had walked through the doors. If I did, it was only to look at the two guys rolling on the large open mat, dreading what the group photo of three people would look like. Thankfully ten minutes later, the gym was full of bodies, everyone warming up and helping themselves to the drinks and snacks.
The rest of the day was filled with that reassuring noise of about 50 conversations going on around you all at once. Within the first hour I had eight different gym names listed on my sign-up sheet. It was a great turnout for us, especially considering I only gave a week's notice about the Scottish Roll4Life location, not to mention the massively more popular Rickson Gracie seminar on that day. I was told he’s kind of a big deal, so I didn't take it personally :P
In terms of the marathon side of the event, we were only covering a small portion of the global 24 hours (simultaneous events also took place in Taiwan, Russia, the United States and Denmark). It was honestly rather easy to make sure someone was always rolling for our five hour chunk of responsibility. Realistically it was more of a pain getting everyone off the mats when I wanted to go home at the end of the day. Those BJJ guys love rolling!!
Speaking of rolling, I spent most of the event watching guys mix it up on the mats and was very impressed with the technical level and discipline on display that day. Everyone avoided going to war on the mat but didn’t take it easy on each other at the same time. I almost felt lazy watching some excellent sparring going on all around me as I sat on the side-lines.
In the end, it was a good day for a good cause and I hope we earned some awesome karma points. All money raised from the event was donated online using the following link: mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/shirleysmith1.