30. Two amazing charities

So now my fundraising page is up and running (excuse the pun), I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you a bit more about the charities I’m running the London Marathon for. I really appreciate any donations made – you can donate through my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/mimsmission   (If you would like to make a donation but would rather not pay online, please do contact me directly for more details.)

All money raised running the London Marathon will be split equally between these two fantastic charities. Both are fantastic, so here’s the low down…

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Catching Lives
Catching Lives is based in Canterbury, and has been running for over 20 years. They aim to support the homeless and vulnerably housed in and around the local area.  The charity does amazing work at raising awareness and changing attitudes to homelessness through working with the local community. They take work placements, deliver training and work with schools and youth groups to inform them; homelessness could affect any of us. They provide immediate respite at the open centre. Here clients are given access to many services which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to use whilst being on the street or with no fixed address. These include basic services such as meals, laundry, showers and clothing, as well as health services; social and emotional support;  advice , advocacy and referral; and work, learning and recreational activity. All these things are vital for clients to feel valued members of society. In the Winter months they have a community shelter open in a different venue for each night of the week. This has been invaluable in the past couple of years with such cold weather and often snow for days at a time. The aim is to try and help the clients find sustainable and appropriate accommodation, hopefully by the time the shelter finishes at the end of February.

Catching Lives are always looking for volunteers for a number of roles. If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact  info@catchinglives.org

 

Rianna's Fund

Rianna’s Fund
In January 2003 Rianna, just eight years old, died tragically when a tree fell at her school in Ashtead, Surrey. This charity set up in her name, aims to help and support underprivileged children around the world achieve their potential. It is a charity close to my heart for many reasons. Rianna’s family  attend my home church, and it has been inspiring to see all the work gone into the projects that have been set up through Rianna’s Fund. They bring hope to children who would otherwise have nothing. They have now built a school in Kampala, Uganda, for over 640 children and funded school places for children across India along with many other projects. They believe that ‘one life can make many changes’, and that is exactly what has happened through this wonderful charity.

For more info you can contact Rianna’s Fund on riannasfund@aol.com

Thank you for all your support!

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1. Your legs will only go as far as your brain will let them

I’ll let you in to a secret. This blog, it was never meant to happen. I always said I wouldn’t start a blog as I don’t have time to write and it’ll just turn into another phase I go through for a few weeks and then get bored of. Except I now have a reason (albeit selfish) to write.

I had been contemplating the idea of starting a blog for a few months but just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it, until I received some very unexpected post. My housemate texted me one afternoon saying an exciting letter had arrived for me. I had no idea what it was – I hadn’t ordered anything online, mum had only recently sent me another packet of pine nuts (my fave, thanks mum) and it wasn’t my birthday. I had no idea what it could be. Thursday 26th September 2013 is a day I will never forget. I rushed home to find ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ staring me in the face, and I collapsed on the stairs. Oh. No. Disaster. I had actually got a place. This wasn’t the plan!

Let me take you back a few months to April, when I went to London to try and catch a 20 second glimpse of mum running in her third London Marathon. It was a all a bit mad – I’d gone straight up to London after church, and had a 35 minute window in which to find her on the route and get back to Waterloo station to get the train back home. It was an optimistic plan, yet somehow I managed to see her with two minutes to go. And it was in those few minutes waiting for her to come past, cheering on hundreds of other runners, joggers and walkers, that I was reminded of a very quick promise I made to myself when I was 17 – in fact, it had made it on to my bucket list. I wanted to run the Marathon. Not only that, but I wanted to do it by the time I was 30. It suddenly dawned on me, standing on the Embankment, that I had to apply this year as I knew it could take years to get a ballot place, and I would only have 5 attempts before my dream would be impossible. So a couple of weeks later I got up early and applied as soon as the ballot opened. I told no one I applied. And then I thought nothing of it, knowing how unlikely it is to get a place, let alone on your first try.

Skip forward to the fateful September afternoon, and I am filled with dread as I start to think of the many concequences to this one action…early mornings, hours of being by myself, having to plan what I eat. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t look at me and think, ‘she’s built to be a runner’ – well I don’t think it, so I can’t imagine anyone else does anyway. And that’s probably because I’m not! So this whole idea is probably not the best thing I’ve ever come up with. But hey, life is for living, and this will challenge me in more ways than I dare to think about right now…

Physically: The most I’ve ever run is 8 miles, and that was almost 3 years ago when I was actually training for a 5k Race for Life with two friends. I’d never run more than a few steps before September 2010 – let’s just say that PE and I weren’t best friends at school. It wasn’t till a bizarre incident (I’ll explain another time) where I was made to go for a run that I decided to actually try and aim for something. Anyway, the 8 miles occurred when I was home one weekend and mum offered to go on a ‘short’ run with me. I almost died. And since running the 5k in Summer 2011 I haven’t run at all. That is, until 17 days ago when I took the first little step in this surreal adventure and went out on my first training run.

Mentally: It’s going to be tough, really tough. People talk about ‘hitting the wall’. I’m sure I’ll know when I hit it, but for now, I’m just hoping the wall doesn’t get in the way after 2 miles as it will be an awfully long and painful race otherwise! I’ll probably cry, want to give up and go home many times when training. If you see me out running (sorry I won’t be looking my best) and I look like I’m about to give up, you have permission to give me a (verbal) slap round the face and tell me to get a grip and keep going. That would be much appreciated, thanks. 

When I finally plucked up the courage to tell friends and family I have a place in the Marathon, there were mixed reactions – ‘well done’ to ‘ohhhh right’ to ‘haaahaaa’ (that was dad). Don’t worry, I’ve thought most of those myself, and regularly go through it all from ‘why on earth did I think this was a good idea?’ to ‘I actually can’t wait, it’s going to be incredible running with thousands of other people’. I wanted to get a ballot place as it was really important to me to be able to choose the charity I run for. In fact, I’ve chosen two. One from Canterbury where I live now, and one from my home town. Catching Lives  is a brilliant charity working to restore individuals, families and communities by supporting those homeless in Canterbury. Rianna’s Fund was set up in memory of a child from my home church where I grew up, and it works to support under-priviledged children in India, Uganda and Kenya to reach their full potential. I’ll post more about the charities and how you can sponsor me in another post soon!

So there we go, full circle, back to where I started. I’ve started this blog as a way of me recording my London Marathon training adventure. But don’t worry, if you’ve stumbled across this, and are somehow still reading this even with no interest in marathons, I’ll try and intersperse running related posts with other exciting things. Maybe a recipe (who doesn’t love the Great British Bake Off?!), the odd youtube clip or a link to a great article. You never know, I might surprise you with something else.

Well, thanks and well done for making it to the end! That was a pretty epic post for my first one, sorry I hadn’t planned that. Though I do like to chatter away, so not a surprise really.