On December 19 2012 my brother and I watched our father pass away aged 49 after turning off his life support machine. We held his hand, cuddled him for the last time and spoke to him as he took his last breath. We both vowed that we would continue to make him proud of us for the rest of our lives as he often spoke about how proud he was of our achievements, like when I cycled London to Brighton. This year is no exception…
…I have a place in the Brighton Marathon to run for WWF.
I live my life by doing a mental or physical challenge once a year so that when I leave the world, I know I would have done everything I ever wanted to, no regrets. I don’t want to wake up one day and think, oh I wish I did this, I wish I did that, I just do it. This was really echoed when I decided to move to Ibiza for six months last year – I was genuinely petrified of telling my mum I had quit university and I was going there. Her first words were: “Do it. I wish I had done that when I was your age”, I think it was that, that made me realise you really do only have one life.
I chose to raise money for WWF for a variety for reasons. Firstly, my dad loved travelling and taking the family to new places – he loved being free and away from reality; we went swimming with dolphins together in America, rode elephants in Spain, zip wired over tigers, even rode horses on a cliff in Corsica. So, WWF was just a natural choice, they keep the world beautiful and animals safe so generations can live in harmony with nature.
Another reason is because my nan adored animals and she passed away when she was 50. My granddad and nan were childhood sweethearts, they wrote letters when he went to war and she waited for him. Since she passed away – 20 years ago – my granddad has donated monthly to WWF in memory of my nan. It really is a love story, he has still never kissed another woman as he believes my nan is his soul mate. Beautiful.
I am planning many unusual ways to fundraise along my journey, auctioning my old work staff off on dates, a raffle, charity nights and more. Luckily I am heavily involved in my local pub as I used to work there. My dad was a regular in another pub, so overall I have a strong support community. Additionally I am part of the biking community who are a generous bunch and really are like a family.
When fundraising, just do something different, give people a reason to sponsor you, and bug them! I send out texts regularly, broadcasts, emails and more. People just need reminding.
Set milestones – I had my wisdom teeth out recently so I said I’m going to try and walk 100km this week instead of train, which got people talking and sponsoring!
Training has had a huge impact on my life. It really has changed me for the better! I am proud to say I have given up smoking and drinking alcohol too. I have a training program which lays out the length of time I should run/walk/jog per day, not distances – which is really great for a beginner. I am no Mo Farah, I’d be kidding myself if I thought I was, but determination gets me through and improves my distances every day. Saturday is rest day from running so I use it to do a sporting activity: Cycling, swimming, rock climbing, pole dancing class, anything! As long as you stay active, eat well and try your hardest, no one could ask for anything more. I have a playlist full of songs that remind me of my dad, I listen to this when I train, it really reminds me every second of the way why I’m doing it.
“You can’t finish if you never start!” This really is a great quote and motivates me daily! Surround yourself with like-minded people – gym addicts, health freaks, whatever you want to call them, they’ll support you. It’s no fun having a best friend who spends their nights propping up the bar followed by spilling a kebab all over yourself if you are trying to train for a physical activity. Find people on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs – like this one) who are embarking on the same challenge as you. These people are the best people to ask for advice or to get motivation from.
Most importantly, have fun, train hard, eat well and stay determined.
Is your new years resolution to get fit? If so, why not sign up to a WWF challenge event and help protect the environment in which you’re training in.