‘Challenge’ (noun): something that needs great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully.
Running is full of challenges, right from the very first step; plucking up the courage to run outside for the first time, running your first mile without stopping, entering your first race, getting out to run when it’s cold and raining, finding space for all that running kit… and so on.
So if you’re thinking of taking on a running challenge for charity there’s no need for that challenge to consist of 26.2 miles – there are dozens and dozens of other running achievements that are worthy of celebrating and fundraising for. Maybe you’re aiming to run your first 5k without stopping, or run a mile every day for a week/month, maybe you’re aiming to cover the marathon distance over the course of a month. Run a race backwards, hop a parkrun, tie yourself to a mate and run three-legged. Anything that’s a challenge to you is a great opportunity to raise much needed awareness and funds for charity.
And it’s not just that warm glow of satisfaction from doing a good deed that you’ll gain from helping out a charity – through my fundraising for the London Marathon so far I’ve discovered many more benefits too. Trying to raise as much money as I can has given me a great excuse to talk about my marathon and training LOADS. Like, more than I would have done anyway (which is a lot). And the support that I’ve received off the back of this has been amazing. I have an ambitious goal of running the marathon in under four hours, and the amount of people who have shown confidence in that goal is almost overwhelming. It’s motivated me no end, and made me believe that actually, yeah, I can do this. I know that on the day, the thought of everybody who has contributed to my fundraising pot and shown me such wonderful support will keep me going when I inevitably want to sit down and weep at mile 20.
I’ll be talking about my fundraising in more detail during the next couple of months, but I just wanted to share an idea that has worked really well for me. As part of the fundraising pack that I received from the guys at Team Animal was a chart that can be used to run a sweepstake to guess your finishing time (obvs, you can create a sheet yourself, but this was a lovely touch to receive in my pack). I charged £2 a guess, with all money going to the RSPCA (utilising your JustGiving text code is a great way to do this) and will give a small prize to the winner. The response has been fantastic – some people have been taking it very seriously, asking me for my previous race finishing times! – and the donations have been rolling in. So many people are getting invested in what I’m doing and it has increased my excitement and motivation levels no end (not without pressure though – all of the sub-4 times got snapped up first!)
I would love for this to inspire at least one person to raise some much needed funds for the RSPCA. As well as having places in big name events such as London Marathon and the Great North Run, I know that they would love for runners to keep them in mind when they take on any running challenge – big or small.
You can find out more about running for the RSPCA here.
And if you are feeling generous, my JustGiving page can be found here.
Until next time!