Sunday, 19 July 2009
Over the past 4 years Jim and I have found many ways of raising money for ClicSargent, our chosen charity whose primary function is caring for young children going through cancer treatment. We have held 2 enormous fundraisers/ live concerts in support of the MdS in 2006 and then the Gobi March in 2007. We have lobbied friends, family, colleagues, corporations and two willing sponsors on ClicSargents behalf with every penny raised going directly to the charity. It becomes a little hard to work out exactly what we have raised sometimes, but we certainly managed to accrue £13,893 for the MDS, £3,082 for the Gobi & £2,000 exactly for the Atacama Crossing. Total around £19,000. Almost 18 months had passed since the Atacama and the last bout of fundraising. It becomes very hard to keep lobbying for charity money when these kind of events move from being that 'once in a lifetime experience' to bi - annual occurences with heavy doses of extreme one day running events thrown in around them. The reason our MdS fundraising was so successful was because it was the first event, everyone knew that we had trained long and hard for 18 months to prepare and mainly because people assumed it was a one off. When we came back and entered the Gobi the following month, that was, on reflection, somewhat of a statement to this becoming a way of life....
Anyway this year I decided the best way of raising money was to bring it back to running. I devised a 'race' involving teams of 20 people running one giant relay of 100km ie. 1 person starts running at 9am, finishes their 5km in 25 minutes back where they started on a fixed course, then tags another person who runs the same course, repeat 20 times. I managed to get three teams of 20 together to race each other. The interesting part for me was that I was going to run all 20 laps. At the end of it therefore it would be a race, 3 teams of 20 people each with a cumulative anticipated time of between 8 and 10 hours against me running 100km in what I hoped would be a comparable time. We started at 9am in a course around London's Regents Park. 4 people toed the line, one from each of the three teams and myself. I had in my mind that I would need to run 27 minute 5km pace the whole way to be competitive as the teams contained a mixture of fit regular runners and some that would be happy to run half of the course let alone the whole thing (I needed to balance it out!). After the first lap I was in third place with a time approaching 26 minutes, came back past the start finish line, grabbed another water bottle and went off again without stopping. I did this all day whilst lots of people came and went, some to run, some to cheer on friends and some to simply enjoy the sunshine. It was great until the heavens opened and my official lap counter, head route marker & support crew all got soaked for hours on end. Still people held on though with umbrellas up and beers in hand to watch the pain and suffering continue. A handful of people were unable to make it on the day so those hardy soles with 5km under their belt volunteered for a second loop and in the end we had 60 complete times against my own. It was such an immense turn our from everyone friends and family alike. Im sure some people thought it was all a bit pointless but the fundraising went really well and most seemed to have a great time. The real heroes donated and also chose to run so extra special thanks should go to those people.
For me, the 9am start turned into a 3:50 marathon, 7 hour 46 50 mile and the fastest lap of the day between 95km and 100km at 24:30. Again I found the point just before half way the hardest to get through, 40km to 50km went by very slowly. I have to say running the same course 20 times was more than a little tedious it was absolutely mind numblingly boring despite being 50% trail and really quite a scenic run. I ended up running the last 50km in reverse to save myself the boredom & thank god from about 70km i had people with me on every lap. I crossed the line in 9 hours 32, still in 3rd place behind one teams 8 hours 16, another in 8 hours 52 & the last in 9 hours 35. My times spiralled from between 26 and 28 minutes for the first 50km to edging just over 30 minutes by 80 - 85km, my slowest lap being a one off 33 minutes which involved a rest stop. It was a great day out & most importantly we raised just over £4,500 for charity. £23,500 in the kitty and still going strong. If we actually get a decent corporate sponsor on board we may yet have a hope of raising a lot more.