Running (and amazing people):
Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post explaining how I got back into running (http://massivedesertshuffle.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/the-first-steps/). Essentially I was injured, on crutches, having physio and needing something to aim for. In a year I went from being unable to run a mile to running my first marathon. In this blog post I made the point that anyone can run if they put their mind to it. I was delighted this weekend to be proved correct (doesn’t happen often enough for my liking!) as my girlfriend and her mate completed the Great North Run!!
Faye and Laura do a challenge together each year; last year they, together with me and Laura’s boyfriend (Dave), walked the Inca Trail in Peru. And the challenge for 2013 was to run the Great North Run. To put this into the context of my above point; Faye has always taken an interest in my running but until about a year ago had never done any running while I’d known her. On agreeing to this challenge with Laura, Faye was unable to finish a lap of the block near her parent’s house without walking. The block is 3 miles and has a slight incline half way round. In 6 months Faye has gone from struggling round a flat(ish) 3 mile loop to completing a half marathon… and she doesn’t even like running!! I am very proud of her, and Laura for that matter, and very pleased to have been proved correct in my point. I don’t think Faye will continue running as much as she has had to for the Great North Run but she has said that she doesn’t intend to pack it in and has in fact already entered another 5mile race!!
Fundraising (and amazing people):
When I found out that I’d got my place in the Marathon des Sables I knew I wanted to raise funds for an amazing charity; the Children’s Air Ambulance. I have set myself a fairly ambitious fundraising target and have made good progress on meeting this so far thanks to the help of my incredible friends, family and work colleagues. Despite the fantastic generosity of these people it is clear that the target I have set requires me to think a little harder and more creatively.
With the help of some extremely talented marketing and PR friends (thanks Faye and Harriet!) I have written a number of compelling letters to large companies but so far to no avail, though clearly I will persist with this. And just when I was starting to lose heart other people have had the creative ideas on my behalf! Firstly, my manager (Kevin) was ‘influenced’ into allowing me to fundraise at a couple of work events; through a corporate golf day and a customer event we raised over £250!!
Secondly, and perhaps even more incredible was the inspirational thinking of a friend (and her daughter and friend!). Maxine, despite not seeing me for several months and being ridiculously busy herself, had been reading my blog and came up with the idea of hosting her friends at a cheese and wine night. Very civilised! Charging a small amount to enter and running a few games on the evening Maxine raised over £100. And to top it off the next day her daughter baked some ‘cake pops’ and then sold them to raise funds! I don’t know what cake pops are, but Thank you so much.
These two examples alone account for over a third of my fundraising total and have inspired me to think of other opportunities I could look into… do you have any???
What these amazing people mean to me in this challenge:
I imagine that during the Marathon des Sables, especially the tough times (of which there will be many), I will need to draw from a mountain of motivation. Thinking about the achievements of Faye and Laura, the efforts and help of Faye and Harriet, and the creativity and generosity of Kevin and Maxine will be essential to keep me going and I hope that these are the first examples of many in the remaining months until the MdS itself.
I don’t want to let anyone down…. Can’t stop, won’t stop!!!
My blog post on where my passion for running came from: http://massivedesertshuffle.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/the-first-steps/
My fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/nealmds2014