Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m best described as a MAMIL …. A middle aged man in Lycra … not always a pleasant sight! I like to keep active with running or cycling and when I’m not doing that I’m in the garden trying to keep on top of the weeds or doing a never ending list of DIY jobs in my 200 year old cottage.
What made you choose to support Hope for Children?
In 1998 my twin daughters Olivia and Imogen were born too early. Sadly despite the best efforts of the medical team they didn’t survive but they are never far from my thoughts. I wanted to raise money in their memory and started running half marathons then marathons then ultras to do so. Initially for premature baby charities but I found the process very impersonal. I was one of a large number of fundraisers but other than the link through my girls I couldn’t feel a relationship to the charity. I then found Hope for Children quite by chance while choosing a charity to run for the London marathon one year. It felt right to support them when I considered that my girls died despite all the best efforts of the medical teams. There are kids around the world dying for the want of the basics which we take for granted. And that's not right. Also I found Hope for Children is a small charity and I quickly felt part of the team. I felt my fundraising was really being used to good effect.
In your own words, how have you supported Hope for Children in the past?
Fundraising through running events - the London marathon and the Marathon des Sables
Tell us about how you organised your MdS challenge. Did you always think it would be such a success?
I’ve done the MdS three times and each time you learn more about what equipment you need to take, what food you need, how to train for the event. There’s a big network of past competitors who are always happy to share their experiences and that's a good source to call upon for advice. Also I networked with people who are planning to undertake it the same year as myself. The training is tough both physically and mentally. Especially as it takes place in the winter / spring with the MdS in April. This means forcing yourself out to run in the cold and the rain and the wind. Not always so easy. But the mental toughness translates to the race itself and most people who start will finish. The adage people use for the race is “run if you can, walk if you must and crawl if you have to … but just keep moving"
Are you currently looking forward to another adventure or event?
No not at the present. I’m carrying an ankle injury and need to be sensible and sort that before I look for the next adventure … but there are some fabulous races in incredible environments available both in the UK and abroad
What tips do you have for those who would like to organise their own Hope for Children event or take part in a challenge?
Firstly be very public with what you’re planning to do. The more people you tell the harder it is to back out of. Send regular email updates to your supporters. Be honest why you're doing it. Share the highs and lows of the training and fundraising. Use social media to spread the word. Make sure you understand the work Hope for Children does and share that with your supporters too. Check if your employer has a matching scheme to double what you raise. If they don’t ask if they will help? Get their name on your running top (of course for a price!) and any other companies that you can contact. Speak to the organisers of the local rotary or lions club and ask if you can come in and talk about what you’re planning to do/have done. They may pay you a small fee to do so but generally the audience are very generous. In short be very brazen with your requests for money and you’ll find people will be very generous when they realise what you’re doing and why.