I had long wanted to raise money for CRY following the passing of my brother-in-law Lee 9 years ago. On this basis, having made a commitment to do some running to get a bit fitter, I started looking for an event.
My hometown of Wilmslow has long held a half marathon, so myself and my friend Miles agreed we should do it. We then took the somewhat foolhardy view, having never run that far before, that if we are training for one event we may as well do two – thus maximising the outcomes of our training.
Undeterred, we entered a 12 mile cross-country race scheduled for 16 March in the Lake District; and the Wilmslow Half Marathon, to be run a week later. Working around family time, work, injuries and other distractions, neither myself or Miles could say we were getting as much training in as we would have liked, but we slogged on nonetheless.
Our first race soon was upon us. Following a week of heavy rain, the course was something of a mud bath and the hills were more severe than we had expected, being from flat Cheshire and all that.
Miles, who let slip that he was a former school cross-country champion on the morning of the race (thanks mate) skipped round the 12 mile course in 1 hour 46 minutes. I wheezed home 13 minutes later. We were suitably muddy and exhausted but there was a great sense of achievement. Miles finished 60th out of the 400 runners, I was 140th. We were both pleased with our results on debut.
The following week, Miles and I did very little training and watched as the temperatures plummeted towards freezing point on the day of the race. It was very windy, but as we lined up alongside the 4,000 spectators we felt quite glad we would be the ones running rather than getting cold watching.
A lot of my old team mates were marshalling the course and it was great to get the encouragement as we went round.
It was certainly hard work but it was good, unlike the cross-country race, to see the mile markers pass one by one, some in shorter gaps than others!
Again, Miles stole the show coming home in 1hr 43. I was just outside my 2 hour target by 50 seconds.
It was great to do the events with a friend – until I got too slow for him – and it was a very rewarding experience mentally and physically.
Best of all, through the generosity of our sponsors, we raised over £600 for CRY which is really our greatest achievement.
With internet based donation sites, it is very easy to circulate and publicise your fundraising and you don’t feel like you are nagging people.
I just emailed my friends and family and put a note on Facebook and that was it. We got some great supportive messages and a number of people commented on what an excellent cause we were running for, and what great work they do.
CRY themselves were very supportive, sending us t-shirts to run in, information packs and general messages of support and thanks.
All in all, a really positive and rewarding experience. I feel fitter – albeit still with stiff legs 3 days on – and I feel I did some useful fundraising and promotion work for a great cause.