Why I'm running the London Marathon - Sam Folger
I have been running for about three years now and after completing my first half marathon in 2008 I set a target to run a full marathon in 2010 (at the time this seemed to be so far in the future I did not need to worry about it). When I have set myself a target I am very disciplined and focused to ensure I achieve it, and true to my word it is what I am doing.
Why HemiHelp: our youngest daughter Megan was 18 months old when she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in the form of right sided hemiplegia. At first this was a major shock to us and explained all the concerns we had with her mobility development during her early months. I ran my first half marathon to raise money for Scope but it when my wife picked up a copy of the Hemihelp Magazine at the child development centre that I realised that Hemihelp was a charity much closer to our heart. It was in this issue that I saw the article on the class of 2009 and I immediately contacted Laura to enquire about running for Hemihelp in 2010. I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the runners for 2010 and the training started in earnest.
How have I found the fundraising: it was a big decision to take on the fundraising target in the current climate but I have been overwhelmed by people's generosity. We started with a raffle at my Mother In Laws birthday party and did a couple of name the bear competitions (each raising £100 each) which provided the necessary kick start. I posted an article on the Intranet at work, sent emails to all and sundry, plugged it via Facebook and have a permanent link at the top of the fans forum for the football team I support (the mighty AFC Telford United!). Over the past few months the donations have been coming thick and fast with a couple of further pledges promised if I beat 4hrs!
How have I found the training: As I have been running for a while now I decided to follow an intermediate training schedule which has meant being very strict with 3 midweek runs (usually 7 or 10 miles) and a long run at the weekend. It has been a tough experience, particularly during January when I had to carry on despite the freezing cold weather - the low point was when I hit a patch of black ice, went flying and landed straight on my knee. Amazingly this only resulted in cuts and bruises with no major injury. As I pounded the Tarmac for miles on end my ankles and knees have start to feel the pressure which at times have given me some real concerns but daily stretches and exercises have so far kept this under control but I dread to think what I will be like in 10 years time as a result (I have already started Glucosamine Sulphate supplements to help combat this). I have also developed a taste for jelly babies which have proved to be an invaluable source of energy whilst out running! I have also been very fortunate to have a supportive wife who has let me get on with my training for hours on end avoiding the jobs which need doing, but there is lot to catch up with when this is out of the way!
The highlight: the ultimate highlight will be the moment I cross the finish line on the 25th April knowing I have achieved my personal target but also contributed to raising money for Hemihelp which will be put to good use helping people like Megan. It will all be worth it.