In less than 100 days, thousands of runners will be taking to the start line of the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon – many of them raising money for charity. One such runner is Dan Raywood. He takes up his story:
“I started running in January of this year, not as some New Year’s resolution but as a way to get into some routine of fitness.
In the past, I had gone to a number of gyms and had become more and more demoralised with busy facilities and poorly put-together programs, not to mention paying monthly for something I didn’t get full use of.
I had always wanted to do something outdoors and on my own terms, and running seemed to be a natural choice. I started with a couch to 5K programme in January, bought some decent trainers and just started. This concluded with me doing a Parkrun 5K inFinsbury Park as a practice for the Sport Relief 5K, which I did in Bounds Green in March. I far exceeded my fundraising target of £250, eventually raising £443.
To do this, I used social media such as Facebook and Twitter and was able to use our magazine newsletter to promote my sponsorship page. At the start of the year I also entered the ballot for the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon and got through, so I have had to increase my training over the past few months to be able to cope with the increased distance.
I write about information security for SC Magazine and the chosen charity for an organisation in the sector is ChildLine. So I decided to raise money for this charity as it was launched when I was a teenager and I hoped to draw moral and financial support from my sector.
To raise sponsorship, I have also just tried asking people for sponsorship and with a notable charity this has not been hard to achieve. I am a little far off my target of £1,000 at the moment but I will keep training up and continue to update my social networks on my progress and achievements! My next effort is the British 10K on 8 July and I have been working towards that for the past few weeks.
I would encourage anyone to just give running a go as it is something I could have done at any time, but took a major decision to begin. I have really enjoyed this experience as it has got me outdoors, allowed me to discover more about my local area and helped me when running for the bus!”
Since I wrote my last blog I have completed the British 10K and despite the pouring rain and the fact that I was tackling this distance for the first time, I came in a better time than I had predicted for myself of one hour and 17 minutes. I was delighted with this time.
After this I eased up a bit on the training and started working on a ten week half marathon plan for the Royal Parks Half Marathon which has me tackling three mile runs a few times a week. As I have conquered 5K runs this is challenging, but not too taxing on my runs or time.
My training will take me right up to the day of the race and while I haven’t been too great in getting out in the last two weeks, I will step it up in the next few days and let the Olympians inspire me!