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Running For Charity

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So it was a rainy, foggy, stormy October day at work. Like many others, I wasn’t successful in my ballot application for the London marathon. I had applied for it after seeing a close friend complete it the April before. Seeing how she felt afterward and the enormous sense of achievement she had, I thought to myself, I wanted a piece of that.

Though 5 months passed, the memories of her and the excitement of applying had certainly been lost away in the back of my head somewhere. Along with lyrics of random 90s songs, every line from friends, and the image of my scary year 6 primary school teacher, they’d occasionally pop up randomly. I remember it was about 2.30 pm and my phone rang, a number I didn’t recognize, getting ready to answer to a cold caller I was greeted by a sweet kind lady called Lucy. It’s funny how I can remember that. But the words ” Hi Edd it’s Lucy from Whizz-Kidz” will stick with me forever. It made me smile from ear to ear, I knew what was coming.

We discussed a few things regarding the charity, she asked about my running history, that didn’t take long due to it being nonexistent. But Lucy didn’t mind. When she said ” well Edd we’d be delighted if you’d join our team and represent Whizz-Kidz at London”, we’re up there as some of the best words you could hope to hear, along with, sir here’s your pizza, sir here’s your beer or it’s ok to have the afternoon off full pay…..only joking that last one doesn’t happen.

I remember the smile, the joy, and the excitement that filled me. This lasted for a good 7 seconds. Then the daunting feeling of the promise I’d just given of raising £2000 in 6 months hit me. I’ve never fundraised before. In honesty, I’ve never really done any charity work before. I’ve donated of course but nothing that I was responsible for. This followed by the thought of training, I’d only really run on a football pitch. I’d done cross country at school but nothing like this. So I went back to work happy, but also in a state of shock, but I was committed.

 The memories of my friend came back to me and I remember how proud I was of her, in a way I wanted to have someone be that proud of me. Apart from my kids, I don’t feel I have any amazing achievements to be proud of. I never went to uni, yes I played football at a relatively high standard, but nothing I could be proud of myself for. This was it. I was determined. I was going to put my heart and soul into something and no matter what happened, as long as I knew in my head is put in 100% I would be happy.

I started fundraising straight away. Before I’d even got some trainers. Luckily for me, I work with some very generous tradesmen that set me on my way. This not only kick-started my fundraising campaign but also my training. Now what I didn’t get told about was the harsh reality of training. Training for a spring marathon means training through the winter. It was cold, wet, windy, and dark. But in a weird way, this helped me and opened my eyes to what I was doing and who I was doing it for. The realization and meaning of running for a charity. I spent a lot of my runs thinking of who I would be helping. I would tell myself how lucky I am that I’m able to get up and run and have the freedom to do so. There are millions of people that don’t have this freedom. This completely changed my mindset. No matter how cold or wet, or how steep that hill was I was getting it done. The pain and hardship is nothing compared to what these kids and their families go through on a daily basis.

Slowly after a few weeks, I wasn’t training for myself anymore. I was training for the charity and the children they were supporting and helping. The emotions that made me sign up weren’t at the forefront of my training anymore. I was trying to train to change the life of someone. Trying to make a child and their families live better. That was now my goal. I had come to realize that more and more people were following my training and would ask about running. Slowly people were becoming more and more interested in charity. It was becoming completely linked now, hand in hand. Spreading knowledge and understanding is key for any charity. Charities are like a household appliance ( sorry couldn’t think of a better example). We all know they are there and do their bit. But we don’t think about the hard work and effort that really really goes into them. It’s incredible.

The sacrifices people make to the charities through volunteering. Raising awareness for charities is key. Not only for the survival of the charity but for the survival of the people they are helping, real living people. Sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. These charities help everyone. Running and exercise is a great form of raising awareness, just look at the London marathon. The biggest and greatest marathon in the world. The biggest charity fundraising event annually incorporated with running. Instagram is another platform where running and charities link together. It connects runners from all over the world, connects runners to charities. Just looking at the Runspire race the reindeer challenge for sport in mind. It’s been phenomenal.

It goes to show how running can have such a positive influence and impact on charities. The fact this challenge has given sport in mind an extra 1500 followers within basically a week goes to show the power we as runners possess to connect our love to charities and their causes. We may not see it first hand. But that 5k you did yesterday may spur someone on to start running tomorrow. Then perhaps in 3 months’ time enter a challenge and raise £100 pounds for a charity. This does happen. It also gives us the excuse to dress up in fancy dress……because no-one thinks your mind if you say it’s for charity, even if secretly you’re just getting your fix. Running is not only good for your own health physically and mentally. It’s a great stepping stone to helping out someone in need. The impact we are and can have on charities is mind-blowing.

 What we do today, makes tomorrow