WWF UK Blog  

Pandas, Pavements and Pens


    Cathy Morrow is one of our Team Panda supporters who has helped us fundraise, but as well as her running talents, Cathy also has an even bigger talent, she’s an exceptional artist. And it’s with this amazing skill that Cathy has helped to raise money for her event. Here’s her story…

    Maybe I’ll start with a confession. The reason I signed up for my first half-marathon was a guy… sorry. I had just joined a dating website, and eager to make my profile look as sparkly as possible, I checked I ticked all the boxes…

    Earning my own bread? Tick;  Does stuff in free time other than binge-watching netflix? Tick; Has friends apart from the local coffee barristas? Tick.

    But something was missing. All the cute guys had some kind of mega-sporting achievement under their belts –  cycling, hiking,  para-dive-rock-glide-swimming. I had to do something. Lordy I was unfit. I walked about an hour every day, but was still lurking on the right-hand side of escalators, watching in awe as energetic people leapt past.

    Getting signed up

    And so that was the moment I took the plunge, and signed up for a half-marathon, the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon. It looked so beautiful, running through Hyde Park on an early Sunday morning in September – awesome. Then I had to specify my charity. That was easy too – I have been a vegetarian since my teens, always flirted with veganism (oh, but milk chocolate – sigh) – and even fundraised for WWF back in primary school. My little cuddly snow leopard has been with me nearly two years now.

    All was going well. My welcome pack with running vest and panda masks was in the post and I had a new and improved dating profile! But now it was time to get serious. Running 13miles and raising at least £350 is no walk in the park, even if that is in Hyde Park.

    As it turns out, both went so much more smoothly than I imagined. WWF provide so much support that the two huge challenges both become friendly and manageable. For the running, they give you a brilliant website with training plans, and loads of advice about shoes, nutrition and general well-being. I looked up the beginner’s running plan, put it in my calendar, and – bar a few days – stuck to it, slowly building up my running times from 15 minutes to two hours.

    Sometimes running was the best part of my week, switching off and tuning into some great music as I worked through the miles. Now I’m addicted!

    Getting creative with fundraising

    Fundraising was a little trickier. I’m a part-time private tutor, so don’t really have colleagues, and can’t hit up my ten year old students for sponsorship. But I’ve always loved art, and kept doodling since my A-level a few years back

    So, thinking about WWF one weekend, I started doing a few animal illustrations. Then I posted these on Facebook, offering drawings in exchange for donations. To my huge good fortune, the wonderful Abi Nichol spotted them, and even put them on the charities fundraising webpage.

    So, after commissions for tigers, rabbits and penguins and help from friends and family, I had done it! I’d raised more than I’d hoped for my favourite charity in the world. It made me feel great. Climate change is so real, so worrying; the dwindling of animal species is heartbreaking. WWF’s sporting challenges and fundraising give everyone the chance to actually do something about these overwhelming issues.

    Next up is race day! I can’t fit in how wonderful it was here. Abi has already written a perfect blog capturing it.

    What’s next?

    So this feels like the point I need to say thanks to my shiny new health-concious and charitable dating profile –  where I hook my Prince Charming. Actually – for now – I’ve just fallen in love with (warning: cheesiness approaching) protecting the planet.

    I want to say thanks to WWF. I can’t really express how much I appreciate their work. I’m sorry I don’t do more. Next up, the Surrey Half Marathon in March. This time I’ve added to my fundraising arsenal by sewing my sponsorship text code to the back of my training t-shirt. I’m also advertising pet portraits on public noticeboards.

    So if you are thinking about signing up for a challenge, make sure you do it for the panda, you won’t regret it. Get creative with your fundraising, use your talents and do things you enjoy to help you reach your goal. Take a look at my fundraising page for inspiration and don’t forget to take a look at more Team Panda challenges, there really is something to suit everyone.

    As for dating, well at least if I spot my Prince Charming I can run after him!

    Do you have a hobby you think could help raise money for your Team Panda challenge. Leave your comments below on your own ideas. We’d love to read them.

    Cathy Morrow poses with a Team Panda mascot © WWF-UKCathy Morrow poses with a Team Panda mascot © WWF-UK Owl in flight © Cathy MorrowOwl in flight © Cathy Morrow Tiger sitting down © Cathy MorrowTiger sitting down © Cathy Morrow Penguins diving © Cathy MorrowPenguins diving © Cathy Morrow Panda sleeping in a tree © Cathy MorrowPanda sleeping in a tree © Cathy Morrow Turtle on the surface © Cathy MorrowTurtle on the surface © Cathy Morrow Two turtles swimming together © Cathy MorrowTwo turtles swimming together © Cathy Morrow

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