Challenge Statement

Official press release regarding challenge

The following is a statement I’m putting out regarding this years charity challenge, in hindsight I should’ve have posted this before the relaunch but I wanted to speak to the charities and the companies who’ve supported my challenge first.

So here is the statement;

This years challenge “18 in 2018” has ended prematurely. This is due to both mental and physical exhaustion caused by trying to keep the challenge going.

I feel like the challenge has been a failure from the get go, this isn’t for the want of trying on my part and those who’ve supported me this year. Firstly the challenge should’ve started in January but injury, bad weather then my daughter spending the majority of the first part of 2018 in hospital and getting diagnosed with a serious heart condition meant the challenge was facing an up hill battle just to get going.

Now my daughters health is my no.1 priority and I waited till she was back home and while she isn’t out of the woods and awaiting an operation, I did get the challenge going. Even then due to lack of training I had to change the challenge from 12 x 10km in under 37 minutes and 6 x HM in under 80  to 12 x 10km in under 37 minutes and 6 x HM in under 85.

May and June saw a good start to the challenge, then the heatwave(s) hit and meant more race postponements. By September the races had stacked up it meant a race every weekend till the end of the year. This started to cause a lot of pressure and the warning signs were there at Salford when what should have been a straight forward race became a real battle to scrape under 37 minutes. On top of that issues with half marathons meant again the challenge was changed to 14 x 10km in under 37 minutes and 4 x HM in under 85.

What was also not helping was the fact the only money raised this year for my challenge was through the LEGO minifigures and I felt like I was flogging my guts out every week for nothing. I have done quite a few challenges over the years, raising a substantial amount for both charities. As I don’t drive, it also meant I was putting un-needed pressure on my family to attend my races. Had it been my original challenge most months it would have been one weekend. As winter was coming, I didn’t want my family stood in the cold every Sunday morning, especially my daughter. All these issues were all building up and my wife noticed how ill I had become.

It had gotten to the point where the other Sunday, I got up got my kit on and physically could not bring myself to go to the race. I was a mess and on the verge of a breakdown. Something had to change. Thank goodness for Sarah, she is incredible. This is when I sat down and spoke to professionals and made the hard but correct decision to stop racing before I got any worse. There is only so much my body will physically take.

I emailed both charities of my decision and reasons before posting this (I’m still waiting replies and will add anything they want to say to this post). I also email Dransfield properties who offered support by covering my race entry fees this year. They have been extremely supportive and fully understanding. They’ve asked that race entry fees be donated to my charities which is a fantastic gesture. I’ve spoke to Sweet Peaks who first started supporting me this year and they’ve also been very supportive and understanding. They’ve offered to continue to support me when I’m read to start racing again.

As mentioned this year I received no direct donations to either my JustGiving (NSPCC) or Virgin Money Giving (The Children’s Hospital Charity) through my challenge. The only donations to either was from the LEGO minifigures back in May and everyone who ordered one has received their minifigure and profits from the sales of these were sent to the charities back in May. All other donations on both sites were from previous challenges dating back over the previous years.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies to both charities (who both hold a special place in my heart as detailed before), the companies that supported this challenge and to everyone who supported me, I feel like I have let a lot of people down.

Thanks again to the support from everyone over the past few years but this was and will be my final charity challenge. I wanted to end on a high note but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully I can now rest, recover and find that love and spark I had for racing/running.

Richard Hayes



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