I've talked about my 2015 fundraising challenge a number of times on this blog over the year. This post marks the final day of the year and with it the completion of my challenge. This won't be my most engaging blog post you'll ever read but that's not what it is trying to be, this is all about giving thanks.
This year I pledged to run the equivalent distance of Land's End to John O'Groats (as the crow flies), 603 miles raising funds for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal
. Today I completed the challenge with a five mile run (which should have been four but was extended due to flooding). You can see photos of the finishing run here
.As I crossed the real 'finish line'Crossing the metaphorical finish line (thanks to Rob Simmonds for the photo)
As I've said so often before my challenges are not about me and the physical effort, they are about all you good people that continually put your hands in your pockets and sponsor me. I know that in the present climate that can be harder and I know a lot of people ask. I am more thankful to you than you can know. I am staggered to have hit the £2,600 mark this year. The page will stay open until 8 January so if you'd like to push that total up a little more - keeping Jane's legacy alive and helping various children's and cancer charities - well, don't hold back and donate online
. With your generosity I have been able to raise £22,500 for the Appeal so far since 2008.
The vast majority of the miles have been run solo. This has been great from a practical point of view meaning I can just run when I need to run. But in the last few weeks I've was hit like a fist in the chest with loneliness and self doubt. So my thank yous continue with those people that have given up their time to run with me.
Thanks to Hilary, Louise and Polly for letting me join them for miles which resulted in an early 11mile run as part of my training for the Great West Run.
Thank you to Joe Blackman who got me round the Exeter 10K this summer and getting a personal fastest time into the bargain.
Thank you to Skedge who ran 4 miles with me on my penultimate day, encouraging me to complete the 10miles that day after a tiring day the one before.
Thank you to Chuffy Simmonds for his incredible efforts as mobile supporter in the last week when he hooked up a speaker on the front of his bike and cycled 40miles so I could run 18 with him alongside blaring out a personally selected playlist whilst retweeting the run and generating social media interest in the day. Two complete strangers sponsored me on that back of those efforts.
Thanks to Baggy and the O who made appearances on this 18mile run providing distraction, amusement and motivation (and access to kitten cuddles at the halfway point).
Thank you to Jacqui who, as a new friend, threw caution to the wind and did a stint with me.
Thank you to Ciara who pushed herself further in her running than she ever had before to join me on my final miles today.
Challenges of this nature are not just about the physical act though, it is about keeping it together and there's people to thank for that too.
Thanks to Phil from Body Active Devon whos regular sticking of his elbow in bits of my legs, making me flinch and then get great relief, has helped my legs stay in the best shape they possibly can.
Thanks to Jenny Start my counsellor for her regular sessions that have kept my head together and focussed when the rest of life may have been otherwise distracting (and let's face it even being paid to listen to me talk for an hour is quite an ask!)
Thanks to Jo and Karen from work for putting up with my moaning when I haven't been running, muttering when I have been and am struggling to walk around, and covering for me to take time off to run as the time starting running out.
Thanks to Serena for talking me through the periods of self doubt and illness when I thought there was no chance I would be completing the run.
Thanks to all at the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, particularly Siobhan and Mike, who continue to support, cheerlead and value the effort...making every sweated mile worth it. It is an honour to be associated with such a fabulous charity, I will never be able to do enough.