Here, one of our runners, Simon, tells his story of preparing to run the Uganda Marathon 2017. An experienced runner, he writes about his love of running, how the past week has gone, his hopes for the week ahead, and his anticipation of the 7 Day Adventure in June – his first ever time travelling to Africa!
This week, we join Simon in his build up for the London Marathon, as he hopes to bag a PB…
By Simon Fox
Why I run
Since starting running more regularly 4 years ago, I have often been asked the question, after another big 100km plus week; ‘but why?!’ What motivates you? What gets you up at 7 am on a Saturday morning when its cold, wet and dark, then to go out again at 6:30 pm after only leaving the house laced up 12 hours earlier?!
The answer isn’t summed up in one word. The factors that motivate me are as wide ranging as the collection of old running shoes I now have tucked under my bed; the desire to be quicker, to gain head space, to think, pray, reflect, to meet new people, spend time with friends, to feel connected to the outside, to let off steam and the stresses of the day, to feel a sense of achievement and to simply enjoy! Running through open fields into the low rising sun or down dusty dirt tracks past streams of fast flowing water with bird song all around and it is just you, your thoughts and the path. What is there not to like about running?!
But to raise money?
3 London Marathons and not a penny raised for charity… When people ask why this is, I respond with the example of someone asking to be sponsored for playing football every week. Running is what I do, what I enjoy, my sport and pleasure, and frankly, friends and family would get fed up if there was an annual plea for more sponsorship towards something that has become something quite normal for me to do.
Saying this, running is a great way to engage people on issues and to raise a lot of money for good causes (whilst also having an excuse to dress as a rhino or superhero!). Uganda is my 6th marathon and the 3rd time I have fundraised. I like to raise money for projects that connect with my heart and link back to what I teach in the classroom. Most recently I ran the 2015 Copenhagen Marathon and raised around £850 for victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Share the wealth!
When I visit the town of Masaka in Uganda in early June, I will spend a week visiting the Charity Projects – meeting and supporting locals in the week before running the marathon. The 2 projects I am raising finances for are:
The Suubi Centre: a centre that offers a range of services including healthcare, education, vocational workshops and (excitingly as a geographer) sustainable energy and agricultural training.
Both are small-scale projects with the money being raised going directly to making a difference to those in need. Have a look at my fundraising page for more information on each. I am a big believer that we brought nothing into this world and will take nothing out, so we should not store up treasures on earth, but instead be generous and give, give, give; especially to those in need! Share the wealth and push me up those Ugandan hills at 1100m a little harder in doing so!
This week I have been on week 2/2 of Easter break. A trip to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds meant time on my bike interspersed with some shorter easy runs whilst discovering Warwick castle and the banks of the river Avon. The one key session was a windy 5x1600m interval session which saw me take top place on most of the local Strava segments, which I’m sure, the locals will not be too happy with!
Saturday and Easter weekend brought a family Bromley Parkrun, with dad and sister joining me down to Norman Park. With a new faster course and family competitiveness spurring, each of us reformed after 5000m of exertion with broad smiles to find we had all just ran PBs! 16:53, 19.49 & 25.14. The Easter story of new life (in the running legs) is alive!
Key session: 5×1600 (90s)
Favourite run: Fox PB’s at Bromley Parkrun!
Looking ahead: Let’s hope it’s 2 in 2 for PBs with the London Marathon coming up on Sunday!
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