Hi, my name is Martin Smith and at 57 I have just run (trundled) my first half-marathon – the Barns Green Half Marathon – in aid of MS-UK.
My beautiful sister-in-law, Helen, died recently as a result of MS. It was hard for the whole family to deal with but she was an inspiration to me and a wonderful person to be around. It was because of her that I chose to fundraise for MS-UK.
The challenge for me to run the race was laid down over a (very long) MS fundraising lunch last December – it seemed like a simple idea that afternoon; but it certainly didn’t when I had to get up the next morning to start training! The fact that there were some committed sponsors at the outset was a big incentive to get going and to keep going.
There were many mornings when it seemed like the ‘sensible thing’ was to stay in bed; but in the end the fundraising goal was always my motivation. Despite a 4-week setback with a torn muscle (please DO NOT try to run through the pain – especially if you are my age) I felt pretty ready on the day.
On the day I knew I had raised £700; but I also knew that this would rise to just over £800 if I managed to break 2 hours – the extra amount would be credited as ‘performance related pay’ by some of my (ex) friends.
By and large the run went well, at least to about 10 miles when I began struggling. At about that point I ran past a road sign which mockingly announced ‘Speed Warning!’ It took me a while to decide what the sign should have read (some pretty unprintable ideas came to mind), but I eventually decided it should have been called a ‘Lack of Speed Warning!!’ Nevertheless, when I next looked up I saw the 11-mile mark – it’s amazing how far a distraction can carry you!
I managed to get over the line in 1.59.18; which given my 2-hour target shows either a wonderful economy of effort or total fluke (yes, I know what you are thinking, and I tend to agree!)
At the beginning I was reticent to ask friends and colleagues to sponsor me, but I was very pleasantly surprised at their reaction. They were supportive throughout and they were genuinely pleased when I completed the run. My advice is not to be afraid to ask – everyone will see the good in what you are doing and most will wish they were doing it themselves.
My favourite message of support was ‘Good luck and ENJOY the day!’
Bear that in mind, whatever your challenge is.