Preparing for a marathon is an evolution. It changes over time. It ebbs and flows like the sea. My journey starts as an idea. A thought. An opportunity. An opportunity that everyone in the Tri-Anglia triathlon club shared. We all receive an email newsletter that contains a question: “Who would like to enter a club ballot for one of two club places assigned to Tri-Anglia in the Brighton Marathon?”. I have never run a marathon before. I could never do that could I? Well, you will never know unless you try. I grab that opportunity. Others don’t. My reply goes in. I get a place.
So far it’s selfish (and a bit lucky). It’s all about me, me, me. Challenge myself. Have some fun. But wait; wouldn’t it be great to try and do something helpful from this challenge too?
That middle distance triathlon I’ve also got an entry for later in the year would make a great partner to a marathon challenge wouldn’t it? How about we pair them up? Yes, good idea. An endurance challenge. But there will be training. Lots of training. What about Nikki? What about the kids? How will I train and have time for them too? The idea for Endurance Daddy is born. Long distance events and not compromising on my family time. Being a good daddy. That’s the golden rule – minimal impact on my loved ones with this selfish pursuit. Time with them is too precious.
So who will benefit from all this? Well certainly I will – the training will get me fit. But who else? Think, Endurance Daddy. Who do you want to benefit from your efforts? The East Anglian Air Ambulance is a charity I have some affinity with – I have some friends who have used it. Now how about a fundraising target? Ok, £500 shared over both challenges. That ought to do it for starters. That does seem quite a lot though. I hope I don’t fall short. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing? Oh well let’s go for it anyway. In for a penny, in for five hundred pounds. That’s the JustGiving page set up. Now how am I going to get this “out there”? I know, let’s start a blog. Never done one of those before. How hard can it be? Well, quite hard actually. Let’s try some Facebook sharing. Email links to my blog pages to all and sundry. Bet nobody will read my blog or Facebook nonsense, let alone contribute to my cause. Wait a minute: what’s that weird “kerching” noise from my phone? That’s not my ringtone. Wow! My first donation!! So JustGiving sends me notifications when someone has donated? That’s clever.
The days go by. Training runs begin and continue. The alarm clock goes off at silly times of the morning. It’s dark. It’s cold. Never mind, just dress for the weather and roll with it. Sunrise over the fields looks nice. So does the early morning mist. It’s nice out here in the country lanes when there’s no one else around. I could get used to this. Sunrise gets earlier. The clocks change. It’s light when I run. Spring is on its way.
Slowly but surely the donations come in. They have messages attached. All those messages mean something. They mean something to me and to the person that wrote them. To me it shows that the people who wrote made a conscious decision to do so. They didn’t have to, but they did. I’ve asked for donations and these people have replied. They want me to succeed in this little venture. This whole thing is not really just about me anymore is it? It’s turned into something different. Something better. It’s now about me and my supporters. Those people who believe in me. Those people, some of whom I have never met in person, who have chosen to give their hard earned money to my chosen charity. Those people who want to wish me well. Those who are using my endeavour to remember their own lost loved ones; loved ones with whom I have common ground; loved ones who even the Air Ambulance sadly could not save. Those people who have invested their time and energy into thinking of kind words of support for me. This is now responsibility. My responsibility. I’m not just running a race for me anymore. I’m running it for you. And anyone you’ve dedicated my performance to.
On April 15th after another Facebook fundraising push, my £500 target is exceeded. Fears of failure to make the target dispelled by the acts of my supporters. I feel happy and a real sense of having made a difference.
On April 17th, I’ll be running Brighton Marathon and all of you will be with me. You may not be in Brighton, but you will be with me. Thank you. I won’t let you down.