I run for many selfish reasons: health, wellbeing, fitness, enjoyment, the thrill of competition. More than anything, I like running. I like its simplicity and the way it becomes part of a daily routine.
Tomorrow I am running for all those reasons, but also for charity. Charity? Not another one… People are overwhelmed these days by runners requesting sponsorship, whether it is for the local 5k or a cross-desert and jungle 150-mile trek.
Read on, though. I think this is different.
Starting on Thursday and finishing tomorrow, my employer, Royal Russell School, has been embroiled in the Vanguard Challenge. A programme of events has been organised to inspire students and staff to push themselves beyond their normal physical limits. That means running 66 miles on the Vanguard Way, walking 66 miles in two, three or four days, or walking and running a 6 or 12-mile stretch of the route. Others will take part in a 6.6 hour zumbathon, abseil from the spire of the school chapel, swim as far they can, kayak 8 miles down the Thames. One student even skied 66 miles in February.
The inspiration has been Andrew Culliford, the brother of a PE teacher at school. He has motor neurone disease.
He is around my age, has a young family, a sporting background and a previously active working life. He reminds me of myself, of where I am in life – only I do not have motor neurone disease. He makes me realise how lucky I am to be able to contemplate running 66 miles tomorrow. He would willingly swap places with me.
We are therefore raising money to help Andrew and help people like Andrew through the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Please watch this video of Andrew and if you don’t want to sponsor me for running 66 miles, donate something here or here on behalf of the hundreds of children who will be walking, swimming, dancing, abseiling and running this weekend.