Not only are Matt, Elaine and Sarah letting the ups and downs of their running progress be plastered around the web, they've decided to join forces in raising money for Children on the Edge's work in Uganda! You can find out more about the project and sponsor them by going to their JustGiving page. Every little helps, and as beginners, they need all the encouragement they can get!
The running is slowly (very slowly) beginning to improve so I thought it might be time for a new pair of trainers…
The obvious choice for running gear in Chichester is our lovely supporters, iRun. I am always horrifically intimidated by running shops, or any kind of sporting shop to be honest, but this was an entirely different experience.
Once I had explained what I was looking for (I have no idea, a shoe I can run in?) and made clear that I wanted something dark, that wouldn’t draw attention to me and my attempts at running in public, I was on the treadmill for a gait test. A warning for anyone as unprepared for this as I was, there was a lot of running involved so don’t go on a full stomach and wear a spots bra!
Anyway, it was fascinating being able to watch footage of my feet running as you can really study your technique. My feet / ankles seemed to turn inwards so I was advised to go for a supportive trainer. The lovely sales assistant picked out 3 pairs, which I tried on, ran around for a bit and filmed myself in to see if they fixed my ankle/feet issues.
Once we had decided on the type of shoe, being a typical girl, I asked if they had them in any different styles as I wasn’t very taken with them. 5 minutes later he opened a new box with a sheepish look on his face, saying that he wasn’t sure I would like them as they might be a little bright… One look and I was sold. The hot pink Asics were mine!
Thank you iRun for your great shoe, sock and running advice, for putting up with my awkward giggling and bad running and for completely ignoring me when I explained the kind of shoe I thought I wanted. They make me smile whenever I catch sight of my feet on a long run.
The excitement over my bouncy new shoes lasted until about 1k into my first run, when I realised with severe disappointment that they were not magic shoes and that training for the half was still going to really really hurt.
So… I think it’s safe to say that this running thing was not going well.
Having warily agreed to sign up for the Chi Half quite a few months back, I struggled to get into a routine or to get off the sofa, with uni deadlines looming and every other excuse under the sun, running had been lodged firmly at the back of my mind, only surfacing every so often for a jog around the block.
I work for Children on the Edge, and through this running challenge I’m hoping to raise money for our projects. It turns out, that with help from my colleagues, and inspiration from the cause I’m running for, I can go further than around the block.
With our Comms Officer, Esther asking me to write a running blog and Emily (who is one of the main organisers of the Chi Half) sneaking me old issues of running magazines for inspiration, I quickly started to panic. I felt there was no way on earth that I was ever going to do this. A well timed road trip with Ben (our Head of UK) had him quizzing me on my running and trying to find reasons behind my laziness. He also casually mentioned that he might be able to help - a suggestion I brushed off with a wary giggle.
Later, Serena (our Community Fundraiser) managed to convince me that taking Ben up on this offer to help was the only way I would have a fighting chance of getting round the course in October. Within 5 seconds of agreeing, I had a horrific looking training plan, was signed up to Strava, had agreed to run with him every Monday and a sick feeling in my stomach!
I am now quite a way into that horrific looking training plan and I have completed a few Monday runs with Ben. I often hurt and ache but I haven’t been sick or passed out and I always surprise myself with how far I can go.
Last week I was lucky enough to go out to Uganda to take part in the yearly playscheme at the Child Friendly Space we run in Soweto. The week was incredibly full-on with lessons in the morning (around 150 children aged 3-5!) and play sessions in the afternoons where children from the community were welcome to come and join in. We led activities such as sock puppets, making crowns, volley ball, making collage pictures of the local environment and completing an outside wall mural to brighten up the space.
I was also able to visit the two new areas that we are starting to work in and met the Community Child Protection Committees and some of the local people we’re helping. Over the course of the week I met some truly inspirational people, from the wonderful staff who form these committees, to the social workers who support them, the incredible team of teachers, cooks and security who work everyday to keep the Child Friendly Space safe and to provide for the children.
It's rare that people have such an affect on me and I was overwhelmed by the passion and the kindness of everyone I met, all of whom are fighting against all odds to provide a better future for the children in their communities.
Whilst in Uganda I managed to squeeze in two training runs and I found that I had a new sense of steely determination. I ran further and for longer than I ever have before and that was in the African heat, along dusty and potholed roads! I found to my immense surprise that I was enjoying running. This was probably helped by the old man on his motorbike who got off and ran with us and the group on the corner who gave us a little cheer every time we ran past!
It is these wonderful people I met who get me out of bed in the mornings and back into my trainers. I am lucky enough to be able to go to work everyday to do my bit for the vulnerable children we work with, but every little helps and the more money and awareness I can raise, the more children we can help.
One thing is for sure, if I get round that course in October, it will be 100% a Children on the Edge team effort.
Sarah Collinson works for Children on the Edge as a Fundraising Officer and is a complete beginner to running. She wants to train to have a challenge to work towards and to get fit. She also wants to use the experience to raise money for Children on the Edge. She describes how "Just working here everyday and reading, researching and writing about our projects, talking to our project partners and seeing photos and videos... I just find it inspiring and it makes me want to do my bit".
Chi Half Beginners Blog
This year the Chichester Half team are following the progress of three beginners, all with their own reasons for giving the Trundle their best shot.