Going the extra mile
Penny Appeal supporter Chris Marshall is halfway through his year-long challenge to raise £12,000 to help us provide 12 clean water wells in 12 countries in 2012. We pulled on our trainers and caught up with Chris to find out more.
So, Chris, tell us a bit more about your Run2012 challenge.
It's quite simple really. I've challenged myself to run 2,012 kilometres in 2012, which is 1,250 miles in old money. Basically, as long as I run an average of 24 miles a week, I should be able to complete the challenge by the end of the year.
That's almost a marathon a week! What made you decide to run so far and so often?
I suppose my main reason was because I was looking for something that would challenge me physically. I have never been the fittest or most athletic of people – I was normally last to be picked for team sports at school – and I've always had a weakness for savoury snacks, curries and so on. In 2009 I decided to shed a few pounds and started using the treadmill at the gym. It was tough at first but I found myself enjoying it and pretty soon moved to running outside.
I completed my first 10k race in September that year then, for no good reason, stopped exercising for a year or so. I started again in Spring 2011, gradually got back into the swing of it, and decided by the end of the year that I would aim to run 2,012km in 2012 to ensure I kept up the running. Once I'd made the decision, it made sense to link the challenge to fundraising for charity.
And what made you decide to run for Penny Appeal?
I get asked that a lot and I always point to Penny Appeal's track record. Sure, it's not the largest or best known of charities, but that also means that the overheads are lower and there are fewer people involved, which in turn means that funds get to where they're needed more quickly and efficiently. Penny Appeal has done some great work to provide disaster relief, shelter and education in places like Pakistan and Haiti, and has recently opened its first orphanage, so it's clear that the charity is making a real difference.
Why did you choose to support our Clean Water Campaign?
I was drawn to this campaign because nearly a billion people have no access to clean water or sanitation. The water they do have makes them sick, unable to work or study. If you don't have clean water, you can't grow healthy food; you're more likely to be sick and unable to work or go to school; which means you're more likely to be trapped in poverty. Worldwide, nearly one in five deaths of children under the age of five is due to dirty water. I'm a parent, and I find that statistic frightening. Obviously, I can't help a billion people, but I hope to be able to improve the lives of 12 communities in 12 countries. It's a drop in the ocean, if you'll forgive the pun, but it's a start.
How's the challenge going so far?
I've clocked up over 1000 kilometres to date, and have raised close to £4,000. The next three months will be pretty full on as I'm now training for the Berlin Marathon, which will be my first marathon. I think I'm on track to reach the 2,012km target by the end of November, all being well.
What have been the highs and lows?
The lows have been the long runs in torrential rain. Anyone who tells you that running in the rain is fun and refreshing clearly hasn't 'enjoyed' a ten mile run in driving wind and rain! I also tore a hamstring earlier in the year, which put me out of action for two or three weeks. Fortunately, it seems OK now.
The highs? There have been lots of little victories, such as running up some of the hills near where I live for the first time, or completing my first half marathon. Most recently, I ran a 10k personal best of 52 minutes 42 seconds – over seven minutes faster than this time last year! The highlight of the whole challenge will be the Berlin Marathon, though.
How can our friends and supporters get involved?
First and foremost, spread the word! Tell everyone you know to take a look at the Run2012 challenge website at www.run2012.org.uk, or to follow me on Twitter (@run2012k). And please, please, please make all of this worthwhile by sponsoring me. Every penny donated will go to Penny Appeal's Clean Water campaign, so you can be confident that your gift will help to change the lives of countless people in some of the world's poorest communities. There are three ways to donate:
1) At www.justgiving.com/run2012k
2) By text, using Vodaphone's JustTextGiving service. Text TWTW55 £5 or TWTW55 £10 to 70070 to donate £5 or £10. Texts are free and 100% of your gift will go to Penny Appeal
3) By calling Penny Appeal direct at +44 (0)1924 231088 - please don't forget to say that you're donating to the Run2012 Challenge.
Thank you for your support!
Thanks, Chris – and best of luck for the rest of the challenge!
FRIDAY 7 SEP 2012