£1300 Raised For Lincoln City Foundation

This morning Rob Bradley and I completed the Lincoln 10k and have earned £1300 in donations for the Lincoln City Foundation as a result.

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who was able to sponsor our efforts and to those who have wished me well personally on social media. It means a huge amount; it really does.

As a former running sceptic, I wanted to really wrap up this little chapter of the SW with a few words about the 10k and what it has helped do for me. Now, as you might know, I decided to run this for the Foundation’s mental health provisions, so they could help deliver meaningful programmes right here in Lincoln that help other people. You can read more about those here.

I know for some, 10k isn’t a huge effort, and for others, it seems an insurmountable distance for which to keep running. Until January this year, it was always the latter for me. I used to joke around with a friend of mine, John Challand, that running was a waste of effort. How ironic that today, I saw John for the first time in a couple of years on the start line. He’s a runner of two years now, and a passionate one. It underlined how positive running can be for an individual to me, because John wouldn’t put his effort into something with no tangible benefits; he’s not that sort of guy.

That’s the truth, about it having benefits; it’s not just something I’m saying because I’ve done it. I didn’t start running to beat any mental health issues, but the last two months have been challenging for me on a personal level. I’ve channelled a lot of negativity into running; I’ve vowed to only worry and consider my problems when I’m out on the road, because the anger pushed me harder. I suffered an injury which stopped me training in June, then I contracted Covid in August, and my times took a hit. To get to today was a challenge, and just this week, I caught another bloody cold. It was obstacle after obstacle, but the 10k remained a goal, a focus and something to work towards.

Stupidly (it seems now), I had a proper panic this morning about the run. There were going to be so many people there, and my running style is a bit odd (it’s the rods in my back leave me quite upright), and I felt like an imposter. I’m just a former fat lad running around an hour; I have no place in a proper race with real runners. It’s stupid, I know, and it went almost as soon as I got on the course.

For those who haven’t done it, the 10k is great. There’s such a good feeling between other runners, and I saw friends I’ve not seen for ages (shout out to Ross and Tara, John and Kate, Gaz, and Kirsty), as well as getting some great support on the course. It wasn’t all for me (although, coming up past the Lincoln Imp, I got it from two sides of the road, which really helped, thank you). People stand in their drives and applaud strangers, and that last kilometre – wow. I felt like a real runner, with crowds cheering as I (and thousands of others) made their way through the arch and to the finish line. My recent cold, and the stress of the last couple of months, faded away. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think about the money we’ve raised; it feels like a nice by-product of something huge in my personal life (I hope that doesn’t sound selfish or arrogant).

What a lot of people don’t know is my partner Fe was running it with me. She had Covid, worse than I did, and had only done a single 10km in training once in about five months. She was also terrified of the run this morning, and there are no words to describe how I felt as she came over the finish line, with genuine tears of joy in her eyes at her achievement. She and I, we’re not athletes, but running 6.2 miles today, we felt like it, and that’s great for anyone’s state of mind.

If you’re reading this now, as I would have done a year ago, and thinking it could never be you, you’re wrong. One year ago, I was two-and-a-half stone heavier, making excuses about back operations and thinking I couldn’t run half a mile, let alone 10km. I walked once today, for five seconds, to catch my breath, and yet one year ago, I couldn’t run to our chicken shed in the garden without getting out of breath. You can do it, and maybe in a year’s time, it’ll be you on the same high we’ve been on today, feeling that we’ve achieved something. There is another chapter as well; my Dad came and felt so overwhelmed by the atmosphere of it all, he’s thinking about running next year at the age of 69.

As for Fe and I, we’ll keep running. Today is the end and the beginning. It’s the end of a story about a man who felt he couldn’t run, who then took part in a race and sponsorship drive that helped earn £1300 for a good cause. It’s the end of me being able to milk the ‘fat lad who can’t run’ angle, because now nobody will believe me, and I’m not fat anymore. It’s the end of me asking you to sponsor me as well – times are hard and your generosity is so appreciated, but I won’t pull on people’s purses indefinitely. However, the Foundation do appreciate your support and I’m sure they’ll be doing plenty of great things with the money over the coming weeks and months.

However, it is the start of another chapter. We’re not sure what – another 10km somewhere else is almost certain, but we both fancy a half marathon, maybe after our wedding, but that’s running for you. It’s not always fun whilst you’re doing it alone training, but when half of Lincoln seems to be cheering you on, it could even be described as enjoyable. That’s what today was for me – enjoyable and something I never thought I would be able to do.

Thank you.

The official Just Giving total is £1252, and there’s £40 in cash I have to pass on to the Foundation as well. Thank you again for your incredible generosity, and thank you to everyone who has supported my running journey, from the humble beginnings of the Couch to 5K in January to today’s run.