Sunday, 7 February 2010

My new challenge ... and the JustGiving Awards

It's been a little while since I've written anything here, so I'd forgive you all for thinking I'd given up ... but trust me, I've been more than busy with the 365challenge over the past couple of months!

I'd been missing having a fitness goal of my own, since I finished my original 365challenge in September 2009, so on January 1st 20010, I launched a new 365challenge for CRUK - which will see me covering the distance of 36.5 marathons across the year ... that's 956 miles of running, so just a little something to keep me going, eh?

Well, I started off okay and completed the first of these within the first part of January, but then managed to develop an injury, which has put me behind already! I was getting some pain in my shins from my longer runs (I'd got up to a few 6 or 7 mile runs), and discovered that I was at risk of developing shin splints, which can be very painful. it seems I had developed very tight calf muscles, possibly due to increasing my mileage so rapidly for the challenge, and this was causing the problem. Luckily it is treatable, and I am undergoing some physiotherapy for this, having my calves torn apart and rebuilt (well that's what it feels like anyway!). But I can't run again just yet, so I am going to have my work cut out for me when I can start again (hopefully soon!). And I've got a the Wilmslow Half Marathon coming up on March 28th ... gulp! Mark, my physio, from Harris and Ross, reckons he'll get me running again and that he'll make sure I complete my challenge in good health, so I must place my fate in his hands!

But as well as giving myself a new 365challenge, I've continued to support other 365ers, help new 365ers launch their new challenges, and keep my dialogue with CRUK going as I persevere in my efforts to have the charity adopt this concept as a national campaign (it's progressing, slowly, but it IS progressing)! I'm delighted to report also that so far, overall, the 365challenge has raised over £26,000 for Cancer Research UK, and with around 30 people on board, and new people coming up, this figure will only grow.

The biggest news of the month, however, was the call I got from JustGiving, the company who run the website that manage donations for over a million fundraisers (and of course, my page, to tell me that I'd been nominated for an award at their Inaugural JustGiving Awards in the category "Most innovative Fundraiser", and inviting Donna (Mrs 365er) and me to join them for the award ceremony on February 3rd in London.

WOW! What an honour: to be selected as one of just three nominees in this category from the huge number of possible candidates for something like this! My fellow nominees were Tracy and Jon Morter, the couple behind the Rage Against the Machine for Xmas No 1 Facebook campaign, who had tied this into a fundraising page on JustGiving for the charity Shelter, raising over £100K in the process, and Simon Painter and "Big Dave" who completed a very impressive Jailbreak for the charity KidsCan, a children's cancer research charity.

Of course we went along to the ceremony, and had an amazing night, meeting some very inspirational fundraisers, including the founders of JustGiving, Zarine and Anne-Marie, two very impressive ladies, and Major Phil Packer, of Help for Heroes fame, whose achievements and own battle just cause my jaw to drop; he is truly inspirational and I hope to link up with him again after speaking with him on the night about some ideas.

In the end, I didn't win, sadly, but I was happy to cheer on Simon and Big Dave as they collected their award, as they are a couple of great guys, and again, I hope to link up with them in the future.

But I came away fired up to work even more on taking the 365challenge to the next level. I was also delighted to win a donation of £250 to my page from JustGiving as acknowledgement of my innovative fundraising concept, so that recognition was a huge boost for me. As you can see, the 365challenge isn't going away ... there are other developments on the horizon, which I'll tell you about next time, I hope ...