I’ve decided that I want to raise money for the MND Association again, for the charity assisting sufferers of motor neurone disease and supporting their families and loved ones, as well as searching for a cure for the currently incurable disease that claimed my mother’s life. They were magnificent in supporting my family throughout her years with the disease, and beyond. They were hugely instrumental in helping to make last year a hugely momentous one for me as a runner.
It involved me preparing solely for one race – the 2013 Great North Run. I covered my journey in some depth, from pre-race, to the race itself, to everything post-race. All in all, an incredible amount was raised – a total of £664.50, the first £500 of which was gratefully matched by my employers, boosting the total to £1164.50. Given I only targeted £500 from the outset, this campaign was truly beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t ever thank my family, my friends, work colleagues, the local press, fellow runners, the charity themselves, and indeed those strangers who offered their kindness enough.
I kept the kitty open for so long after the race, but when the time came for the charity to receive the funds, I had to eventually close the page down, and there were a few that missed out. And even after my race in Liversedge, my grandmother asked if I had a form to collect donations on. I explained I did that race purely for myself. These people are not solely the reason I have decided upon fundraising again.
Deciding whether to fundraise once again in 2014 was a tough decision. I’m immensely proud of my achievement with the 2013 Great North Run, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stressful, at times. I fully understand now how tough it can be to dedicate time to fundraising when you’re training hard for an event. On the one hand you’re focused on trying to stay fit, trying to improve your strength, your focus, your drive, on another you’re trying to hold down a normal family life, and on another you’re trying to focus on your everyday career. Remembering to keep sharing and retweeting the campaign became more and more intense as the race approached, and it wasn’t really until race weekend I fully embellished it, knowing I was finally in the moment and smiling as I noticed more donations trickling in to push the total further beyond my original goals.
Charity placing is a great thing, but I questioned whether or not I could put myself up to try a meet a target fundraising figure, and I knew, or at least feel, that my main base of supporters – being mainly my family, friends and work colleagues – were never going to be quite as forthcoming as before. I’m not the most confident in reminding people about owed sponsorship either – I gained a lot getting out of my comfort zone, I guess, but thankfully I didn’t do much chasing. The above reasons given do not imply a lack of support, as everyone still backs me and speaks very positively about my decision to continue running, and indeed how I seem to currently progress at such rapid pace. But to expect those same people to propel me to meet a target figure a second time, with a strong feeling I’d never meet that lofty total again, would only have been more stressful – the economy is still fragile and people are warier than ever about managing money.
Hence I have ensured the races I’ve entered so far this year are all guaranteed entry – I pay up, and I’m in. I was offered guaranteed entry membership for the Great North Run this year but I could not afford the £96.00 it would have required to take up the membership option. And I got into the Great Birmingham Run by way of winning a competition. Every other race I’ve entered, in Liversedge, Bradford, Huddersfield, Blackpool, and beyond, is out of my own back pocket – retaining full control on not just my own development as a runner, but in what way I gain entry to races.
But the more I thought about it, the more I actually realised that fundraising didn’t have to be such a pressure-cooker experience. I could do this completely on my own terms. And why not do it for the MND Association again, a charity that continually showed their true supportive nature in motivating me and everyone else to achieve and inspire, as much as they cared and provided for my mother and my family during her battle with the illness. And so I decided to give this fundraising thing one more crack. With so much running planned ahead, I could still continue running for pure enjoyment and for the challenge, while at the same time giving people an avenue through which they could support me if they wanted to. Clearly people were still interested, and ultimately, motor neurone disease is an issue I feel strongly about. So why sit around and act as though I’d done all I can already?
I’m not saying I will continuously run for charity, or indeed for the MND Association, but I’m still quite young into my new found lease, so therefore I’m more than happy to pull on the famous blue vest in race after race and give my all for them. To give my all continually for those suffering, living with the disease. Their loved ones who do everything to give them as much normality and comfort as possible during the disease’s iron grip. And in the name of my late mother, who would no doubt want to see me continue to provide inspiration and do my bit for those in need. And damn, I will hunt down and help destroy that disease even if it too kills me.
So if you can, please head over to my page at http://justgiving.com/peter-clegg2, where you can donate directly on the site, or by texting ‘PCLG84 £AMOUNT (£1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10), to 70070, using the JustTextGiving service.
I will be posting regular updates on my fundraising totals as this year progresses, culminating at the very earliest with my entry in the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday October 19th, and while I’m not expecting it to go as spectacularly as my original fundraising campaign, it will be great to achieve any total while continuing to try and chip away at personal best records, while continuing to honour my mother’s legacy in a way she would have fully endorsed.
Thank you everyone. All of you who continue to support me are fellow inspirations and I’ll always appreciate anyone who stops by here and takes the time to read what I have to say.
Let’s do this!