The Big Question! Why?
I’ve done some fundraising before. Aside from running, in 2012 I lived in a shop window for a week with my mate Jason, we raised over £15,000 for charity. It was an incredible experience, it really was an adventure. We were doing something, that although was mundane was unique and people loved it. We got loads of press, we were on TV, ITV & BBC News and various regional and national newspapers. I have been desperate to do another big fundraiser since but just couldn’t muster the idea. It had to be big, it had to be unique and it had to be an adventure.
I started running a couple of years ago and I love it. In April I ran my 8th marathon in Vienna. I am now hungry for a bigger challenge, I need to be uncertain that it is achievable, all the way to the finish line.
My first marathon was London in 2016, I will never forget the feeling at mile 25 running down the banks of the Thames when I knew I was going to finish. I was going to become a marathon runner. It was incredible, the magic of that day was the uncertainty coupled with the relief at the finish line, I want that again.
I am going to be raising money for CALM. At the back end of 2016, after a turbulent few years, I went through a period of pretty shitty mental health, it scared the shit out of me. Up until that point, it wasn’t something that I had experienced personally. I very quickly went from feeling a bit down to locking myself away for days on end, I would break down uncontrollably crying without warning. It affected me profusely. I desperately tried to hide it thinking it was something I had to sort on my own, I was embarrassed. Fortunately, I was surrounded by loving friends and family and within a few (long) months I managed to get my life back on track. I met an incredible woman, my best pal Rach. I can honestly say, as cliched as it is, I have never been happier. Having said that, it scares me how ill I became and so quickly, if I had not had my support network around me I don’t know where I would have ended up. I want to do my bit to acknowledge that blip in my life and let people know you are not alone, it is normal. There is so much mention of mental health nowadays that I fear it is becoming a little saturated, it seems that everyone is a mental health campaigner/fundraiser etc. But, I want to do my bit to normalise the conversation if I can, it is normal. Let’s talk, look out for each other, and love each other. It’s easy.
As I mentioned, the idea came to me while running around the stray in Harrogate, my hometown. If you’re not from Harrogate, the Stray is 200 acres of public park that wraps around the town centre. I have run various route around the stray, God knows how many times. I wondered what the biggest lap I could run around my hometown? Then it came to me, a lap of Yorkshire.
I don’t know why it has become so important to me but it has, maybe its the pub bragging rights, maybe it’s my need to have a focus other than work, maybe I just love to run, maybe it’s because I want to get my story off my chest and let other people know they’re not alone, maybe its just about the tattoo I’d get on my leg to commemorate? Either way, I have become obsessed with this idea.
Finally, Yorkshire. I LOVE YORKSHIRE. Like most, I am an incredibly proud Yorkshireman. I love the people, I love the diversity, I love the dales, the moors, our coastlines, our cities. I am particularly looking forward to is the people I will meet on this adventure, I’m nervous, not in my best shape, but I am up for it.
I’ve mapped it, it’s 474miles, I have blocked 3 weeks out of my diary, then I have to get back to work!
Bring it on.