Stacey West 10k Challenge: Foundation Update

I know this won’t be for everyone, but as we’re without a midweek game, I wanted to do an update on the running challenge the four of us are undertaking.

Firstly, a thank you. We’re up to £530 (plus a tenner Doddy handed me on Saturday I haven’t put in the pot yet), which is in excess of our £1000 target. It’s really generous of everyone to sponsor us; we all appreciate it. The Foundation will also appreciate it, as they’re the charity we’re running for.

There was big news around the Foundation last week – they released their annual Impact Report for 2022-2023, detailing the positive reach and impact of the charity over the period. Now, before you switch off, as many do when this sort of ‘non-football’ post goes up, it’s really important to understand what the Foundation does and how it positively impacts multiple areas of our local community.

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The Foundation’s continued growth is clear from the report, with over 7,000 different participants benefitting from their work in the community – an increase of 25% on previous years. Programmes that the Foundation runs are spread across three categories: healthier communities, sport and physical activity, and education and employability. Across these three sectors, the charity now operates in 16 different locations across the county of Lincolnshire – that’s what your sponsor money is pushing towards.

In the 32-page report, which you can find here, a multitude of topics are covered, with volunteers and Sincil Bank community work highlighted alongside the financing and fundraising reports over the period. The document also looks forward and sets out clear targets for the charity for the upcoming years.

“Our mission is to create happier, healthier, and inspired communities, and that sits at the heart of everything that we do,” said Martin Hickerton, CEO of the Foundation. “This report marks the third season of the Foundation’s focus on publishing our impact, and with each year, we are dedicated to improving the lives of the communities we engage with, ensuring we make a positive impact not just for the short term but changing lives in the long term.

“Working closely with Lincoln City Football Club, this year has seen a significant increase in the number of participants engaging with our programmes, from English classes for the community, sports degrees for students, to our walking football sessions. At the Foundation, there is something for all age groups and all abilities and we are deliberately broad in our approach.”

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So, how can we help? Well, me, Ben, Charlie, and Chris are running the 10k for the Foundation this year. I’ve run it before, so it’s not a real challenge for me. However, with four of us all at different levels, it is a big thing for the team. You can sponsor us on the links above and very soon, you’ll be able to buy Stacey West running tops (more on that over the coming weeks) from which we will donate all of the profits to the Foundation. Huge thanks to our friends at Bailgate Clothing who we are working with on that project. The sample top came on Saturday and I’ve got to say, I can’t wait to run in it!

You can, of course, also sponsor our endeavours. But before you think about that, it’s perhaps worth getting an update from the team. Remember, between us we have a man with a metal support in his back, a blind man, a man who, by his own admission, was in terrible shape when this started, and Chris. Here’s how our training is going.

“Six weeks to go. That’s a terrifying prospect, isn’t it? Well, I’m still plugging away and getting through everything as best I can. I’m fighting with my body every step of the way, and trying to convince myself that I’m making the progress that others are telling me I’m making. It’s becoming more of a mental battle than a physical one in some aspects, and at the moment, I’m taking every knock and setback harder than I should be because I desperately want to be able to finish the 10k.

“I picked up some ‘proper’ running shoes, which have helped with my (very, very flat) feet, but my calves are still aching during every session. However, I’m finding it coming in later and later every time, so I’m clinging to those positives. I’ve had a number of people comment that I’m looking healthier, and I’m definitely feeling it, with my clothes starting to feel much looser. I know I’m not going to be keeping up with Gaz and Chris on the day, but that’s never been the goal.

“The next couch to 5k session is one that I openly swore at when I started, and “run for 20 minutes” still sounds daunting, but the self-belief is becoming more apparent with every session that I take. There’s a weird dichotomy in my brain where I never thought I’d be able to do this, but at the same time I’m disappointed for falling slightly behind in my training, but repeating sessions is a necessary evil to get my body used to it all. Even if I have to crawl over the finish line, I’m absolutely determined to do this, and raise as much money for the foundation as we possibly can.”

“If I’m honest, I didn’t expect this task to be as hard as it is. I knew I wasn’t really fit, but I’ve ran before, simply always struggled with the consistency of going. That’s been the struggle here too. I’ve been doing more running than ever before, but need to consistently improve, something I’m starting to get now.

“One of my biggest hurdles to overcome in this is obviously my sight, or lack thereof. For example, I’ve been travelling around a bit recently and not always been at my flat and would love to go out for a run when I’m away, but running in an unknown location isn’t an option for me. For the record, at no point is that an excuse! Instead, I make sure to work on doing more runs when I’m home.

“Looking forward, I’m hoping to do a 6k run this weekend, then a 3k on Monday/Tuesday before going for a 9k to end the week (the route I go is 3km long). I’ve really enjoyed doing it. Ok not whilst doing it, but after. As much as the ‘countdown’ is ominous, I am really looking forward to April 14th. Even if I struggle, the camaraderie of being a part of it will be worth it!”

“Things haven’t gone quite as I expect them to. I was working up to 10k, managed to drop two full-length runs in and felt good. I bought new trainers because Ben did because I needed them, and I imagined my times would improve as a result. Since then, it’s all gone to poop.

“After my rather heavy weekend at Port Vale, I’ve struggled. I’ve been out once, but have developed a cough and cold. It’s slowly beginning to shift, so I’m hoping to be back out this weekend.

“There’s no question of me not finishing, but my motivation is time. I want to beat 57 minutes if I can, and at present, I’m in the ball park, but every day I don’t run, I feel less fit. Remember, between now and the 10k, I have an all-inclusive 10-day holiday during which I shall eat and drink a lot, and a three-day stag weekend in Birmingham, literally the week before. I shall complete the 10k, but getting under an hour might be a more realistic prospect.”

“I went out to do 5k, did 10k in well under an hour, and now I don’t care as I know I can do it. I run. I’m quick. See ya there.”

There are unconfirmed reports that Chris missed the deadline for sending something over, so Gary and Charlie wrote his bit. Unconfirmed, of course.

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