Charity Challenge – 100 miles in 10 days!

Recently I have been doing my bit for charity by setting my own personal challenge in Spiceball Park, Banbury. I believe everyone needs a little motivation at times and this challenge was the perfect motivation for me, to test me and raise money for a fantastic cause. So let me tell you a little about what I had to do….

Firstly, the challenge was set up in memory of my dad who passed away on 10th September 2007, so it was fitting to start on that date 5 years on. I decided to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support to add to the money already raised for my marathon challenge earlier in the year in April. I wanted to make the challenge something a little more difficult than the average person could do so here is what I came up with:

  • I had to run 100 miles in 10 days with just 10 runs.
  • I had to run once a day at 9.30am for exactly 10 miles.
  • Each 10 mile run had to be completed within 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The challenge started on Monday 10th September and finished on Wednesday 19th September and I’m glad to say I completed all 100 miles with every 10 mile run inside the time limit. It wasn’t easy at times and my body suffered over the 10 days, but it was all worth it to raise valuable money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

So far, including offline donations, I have raised £295 but I would love to raise much more if possible. So if you want to help and do your bit for charity, please take a minute to visit my Just Giving page, which will be open for a couple of months, to donate what you can, thank you.

I was lucky enough to have plenty of support throughout the challenge and lots of photos taken. Here are a few of the photos given to me to use after the challenge. Enjoy scrolling through…..

Running the VLM Marathon in Memory in 2012

Many people out there will know it is the time of year where they are starting to prepare for the Virgin London Marathon in 2012, after receiving an acceptance letter from the ballot, or feeling the disappointment of receiving a rejection letter instead. I was one of the latter and when you have your heart set on something as much as I did, I can tell you just how bad it feels to have the chance taken away.

I was determined that 2012 was going to be my year for running the marathon and I decided the ballot wasn’t going to be my last hope, so I made the decision to go for a gold bond place with a charity instead. I had planned on raising money for Cancer Research if I was accepted through the ballot, so this was the first charity I contacted. Unfortunately all their gold bond places had been taken so I contacted other relevant charities that meant something to me. I’m happy to announce that I was accepted by Macmillan Cancer Support and I can’t put into words how happy this has made me. If you read my story you will understand why. The story behind running the London Marathon for a cancer charity can be seen at my Just Giving page. I urge you all to read my story and then decide if donating is something you would like to do. If it isn’t, all I ask is that you share the link and make people aware of what I’m doing and for doing that I will be very appreciative.

So, now the hard work begins! The long training runs and the fundraising over the next six months all leading up to one day. I have no doubt it will be one very long emotional day for me but with all the support I have behind me, I know that when my legs start to fatigue, thoughts of everyone that has donated over the six months will give me wings and lift me to my goal. I will remember every penny donated to such an amazing cause and together we will make a difference to so many lives around the world.

As part of my fundraising and aim to raise awareness, I have started a facebook page to keep everyone that joins, up to date with my latest training, news, fundraising events and ‘thank you’s’ to everyone that donates to the cause. If you are on facebook, please feel free to join my page and support me. It’s amazing how far a few words of support can go on someone’s wall!!!

For the next six months, deep in the back of my mind one date will always be there…..22nd April 2012. When that day arrives I will run with all the passion and emotion I have in me and I WILL NOT let anyone down. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this blog and my story, and also thank everyone for all the support you have given me so far and right through to race day. Without you, this would never be possible.

Thank you all.

 

What motivates the motivators? London Marathon 2012?

In my blogs I normally give tips, statistics and ‘do’s and don’ts’ about exercise, but this time I have decided to let you in to my own recent exercise programmes and what has driven me to do the routines I have over the last few weeks.

After a couple of clients achieved the amazing goal of running the London Marathon and running it in a very respectable time, I decided to enter it myself for 2012. It has been a dream of mine for many years but has always taken a back seat because of my football career. Since retiring from football through knee injuries and being told I should avoid certain things(like running on concrete), the dream of running a marathon faded too. Although, being stubborn and wanting to prove my mental strength has made me believe anything is possible, even the impossible! So, when the ballot opened on April 26th I woke up and the first thing I did was grab my phone, entered ‘London Marathon entry 2012’ into Google and typed my details in to enter the ballot. From this moment on, all I have had in my mind is ‘what time do I want to finish the marathon in and what pace can I sustain?’ There has never been one thought of ‘can I get through the marathon?’ My fitness thoughts have been taken over by running 26.2 miles!

The next step for me was to think of a target that I would be happy with and come up with a strategy for running it in that time. So, I have two targets:

  1. I have always said anything under 4 hours is fantastic but I want better than that, so the first target is 3 hours 45 minutes. I would be very happy running 26.2 miles in under this time which is roughly an average of 8.55 min/mile. This is a good pace to sustain for such a long distance, but the competitive nature inside of me always wants to push for more, which leads me on to my next target………
  2. The second target is 3 hours 30 minutes. Now this is what I call pushing the limits! To get this target I would have to sustain an 8 min/mile for the duration of the race, which if you run a lot, you will know is a tough pace to run at for such a long time, especially if you are 90kg like me! It could also be harder if the heat is as gruelling as it was for this years marathon.

As a personal trainer I always look at things with a positive mental attitude (PMA, the old cliché!) and when I put my mind to it, there is no turning back. I currently run 10 miles 2-3 times a week between 6.45 – 7 min/miles, so slowing my pace to roughly 8 min/mile is possible! Isn’t it?

The next step was to add a few miles to my regular route and slow my pace to see if my theory could become practice. Since then I have had two longer runs in amongst my usual 10 mile runs. The first being 15 miles in 1 hour 54 minutes and the second being 17 miles in 2 hours 7 minutes(through the empty streets whilst our future King was getting married!). What I found is, it is quite tough to slow the pace that I am used to running at, hence the quick times for both longer runs. It has given me a strategy that I think will help me achieve my goal, but neither of these runs were easy, in fact the last few miles were draining!

In conclusion, I have realised that I can maintain the pace needed to complete my goal and the new strategy will help me towards that. Obviously(unless you are a professional runner), running for that many miles, everyone will slow naturally as they fatigue, but what I want to do is to get to 16 miles in roughly 2 hours. This will leave me 10.2 miles to run in 1 hour 30 minutes (roughly 9 min/mile), which will hopefully leave me enough time to cover the miles at a slower pace once fatigue starts to set in. The only thing left to do is actually run the marathon!

That’s if my entry is successful, ha ha, it could all be for nothing! Or would it?

Some might say why train until you know if you have been accepted or not(which is early October)? I say, why not? If it inspires you to push harder, get fitter, stronger and healthier along the way, is it a bad thing or a good? Many people struggle with motivation and dreams like this are a great way of motivating anyone, so the answer is…..becoming fitter, stronger and healthier can only ever be good no matter what your goal is. Even if you don’t quite achieve it, your body will always benefit from the training you have done.

My tip for you this blog is; don’t wait to start becoming healthier, we can’t change the past, we don’t know what will happen in the future but we can do everything we possibly can in the present, to help us achieve and be successful when the chance is given to us!

I hope you enjoyed reading how my mind works and just think, whilst your reading this, I might be pushing the limits a little harder on my next run to achieve a life long dream………..the London Marathon!