Charity running has been a big part of my running career, having spent a large part my early running career doing challenges and raising money, while doing something I love. Over the years I’ve proven you can improve and get faster yet still do your bit for charity. This post is an abbreviated history of my charity running.
You can read why I support my charities below and also more on my amazing journey via these articles & features. In the past I used websites such as JustGiving and Virgin Money Giving to raise money online for my various challenges.
For the first two years I went by the Twitter handle @13inThirteen, this was also the name of my first two charity challenges that took place throughout 2013, 2014 and early 2015. The whole concept of the first challenge and the name came about in late 2012, after I lost over 4 stone during the course of 2012.
After losing the weight I decided I needed a new challenge and took part in my first ever run at the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run in September of 2012, I enjoyed myself that much I decided to do another race 2 weeks later. It was later in the year that I came up with the first charity challenge called 13 in Thirteen. This challenge was where I would run 13 races over a distance of 10km over the course of 2013 and tried to set a PB at each race.
The reason I came up with the challenge is I had always wanted to give back to a charity that helped me when I was a child. The charity in question is the NSPCC as I used their Childline number on numerous occasions due to bullying at school and issues at home, they were there when I had suicidal thoughts as a teenager and if it wasn’t for the people at the other end of the line listening and offering me support and advice things could have been a lot different. As 2013 progressed my support team (my wife & daughter) earned the name ‘Team 13’ due to their support at each race.
The 2013 challenge was a resounding success with me completing the challenge on the 1st of December and setting a new PB at each race and also raising over £2400 pounds for the NSPCC.
After taking a few weeks rest I missed the bug of the challenge so decided to do it all again and launch the 13 in Thirteen half marathon challenge. To keep the name 13 in Thirteen going as it had grown into a well known name and brand by the end of 2013. I decided instead of doing 14 in fourteen as most people expected, I instead decided to do 13 half marathons in 13 months. The aim was to raise £4,000 and set a PB of 90 minutes or under during the challenge. Again the challenge was a success yet was a roller coaster year, with races cancelled, long trips to both Plymouth and Edinburgh and some amazing memories.
Both challenges helped raise my profile and also allowed me to tell my childhood story regarding why I used Childline as a child under an alias at the time. Also through doing these challenges and telling my story I helped to raise a grand total of £1,323,452 for the NSPCC and Childline . After the second challenge finished in January 2015, I decided to take a break from charity running and focus on improving my times.
After a break of just six months, I missed the buzz of challenges and looked at doing another challenge. This challenge came about after being told I take my running a little too seriously! so…….. inspired by my childhood wrestling heroes The Road Warriors (Legion of Doom for WWE/WWF fans), I came up with my next crazy running challenge. The aim was to run for 52 weeks straight, starting in Aug 2015 and ended in Jan 2016 after racing a staggering 32 races in the space of 23 weeks. A decision was made to finish it early as I had raced 5 days over the 2015 Christmas period, taking a massive toll on myself and my family. I still managed to achieve my fundraising target of £2,000, raising a total of £2019.10.
In 2018 I decided to do a final challenge called 18 in 2018. The original plan was to run every month for 2018 with a 10km each month and a half marathon every other month. With all the 10ks under 37 minutes and all the half marathons under 80 minutes. However the challenge suffered so many setbacks (covered in more detail in the 18 in 2018 article to come) and didn’t’ start till May in the end. By September the amount of races meant the challenge became impossible so I made the decision to stop. I did raise more money but it was a challenge to far and at the end of September, I called time on my charity fundraising.
In the end I helped to raise £1,330,721.17 for charities close to my heart. The break down totals are as follows:
- NSPCC via JustGiving: £7656.07 including gift aid
- The Children’s Hospital Charity via Virgin Money Giving: £4219.10
- NSPCC via the 2014 Xmas campaign using my story: £1,318,846