Sunday, 3 August 2008
So, since running our feet into the ground, walking across the Peak District and other general madness in the name of charity, things became quiet over at Justforcharity.org.uk. To bring you up to speed here are a few things we've been up to since the run.
Firstly, I am now 'carbon neutral'. Discovering the excellent Zerofootprint calculator over at Facebook (CarbonCounter.org also have an excellent personal emissions calculator if you want to have a look yourself) I set a goal of becoming carbon neutral (that is reducing and off setting as much carbon as I was producing) within a month. For this I needed the help of my (now extremely good) friend, Mr Bill Oddie.
Mr Oddie assured me that by buying a single tree I could offset over 730kg of CO2, so I headed over to TreeAppeal with my Barclays banking card and my Carbon Footprint report and proceeded to save the earth with my hard earned cash.
Let it not be said that I do nothing for this planet. As well as buying trees, not owning a car and using public transport to get me everywhere, I also went out of my way to replace all of my bulbs with energy efficient ones (not a self serving act, the massive savings I have been promised on this years electricity bill never even crossed my mind as I was replacing them!).
So what else has happened since last we spoke? As well as going green Fran and I were fortunate enough to contribute towards Frans mum raising a not unimpressive £625 for Cancer Research UK by taking part in two 'Race for Life' events.
The Next Event
But what do we have in store as we pass the halfway mark in our 'Charity Year'?
Having not yet managed to convince Fran to take part in a skydive we are going solo to once again conquer some of the highest peaks in England and walk the first day of the Pennine Way in record time. This time we are attempting a longer distance of 20 miles through terrain varying from ridiculously uphill to entirely vertical.
So, as we collect our kit and ensure this time around that our waterproofs are actually capable of keeping out water we will once again be making the rounds to try and steal the very money from your pockets.
The exciting news this time around is that because the event is a lot more ambitious than our previous attempt we are going the whole nine yards and presenting our run-up to the event (including training) in a shiny, new Podcast format which you can download to your iPod or similar. This will shortly be available from this website and an updated post will be included once this happens.
Until then you can sponsor us via www.justgiving.com/benfran
Check back soon!
Sunday, 16 March 2008
Well, we've done it. After weeks of training, days of sponsorship collecting and hours of preparation we've completed the Sports Relief 3 mile challenge...and in less time than we expected.
As a couple of kebab loving, beer drinking, computer game playing kinda guys we were pretty exercise shy before the idea entered our heads of running 5 km for charity. But after a bit of practise (and remembering that we were stuck behind all kinds of fruit, smurfs, wizards and other costumed walkers on a pretty tight course) we managed to complete the run in little over half an hour. Not bad for Team Seriously Unfit.
Before the event started at 3pm we were ushered into a fenced off area to warm up to some 'inspirational' trance music led by the fitness instructors from our very own gym. Being naturally shy I'll admit I wasn't the first to savour a chance at dancing about, wiggling my hips and clapping my hands whilst shouting 'oggy oggy oggy' in front of a thousand or so strangers but with a little improvisation my running partner and I managed to survive long enough to start the run.
With a few starting words from 'actor' Richard Fleishman (however spelt) and some terribly misplaced and ungrateful comments about how we the runners should give a big thanks to all the 'celebrities' who had taken time out of their lives to run the 1 mile part of the course, we were off.
Taking an age to pass the starting line and crawling at a snails pace it took a while for the runners to even out as those intending to sprint made their way to the front, those just out for the jog (with us amongst them) ended up somewhere around the middle and those with children or dressed to the nines for charity found themselves towards the back of the human snake, collecting money from onlookers as they went.
Running a one mile course three times (and collecting a red sports relief band on each lap to show how many miles you had already run) I have to say, my three red bands did give me a huge sense of pride. I didn't take them off after finishing and I doubt I'll take them after until bed. In fact, I honestly believe they'll probably go back on before work tomorrow as well.
In all it was a great day. The atmosphere was good, we completed the course in much less time than we thought we would and we raised a lot of money in the process.
A massive thanks to everybody that has sponsored us so far both on and offline, we're slowly edging towards the £600 mark as I type and with a million and one more exciting events to come before the end of 2008 (including the St. Anns Hospice Midnight Walk and a sky dive!) it shows no signs of stopping.
If you know any or all people involved with us so far in our 'Charity Year' project and want to get involved then let us know. Otherwise check back soon for more information. I'm running the BUPA Great Manchester Run 2008 next and at double the distance I'm going to have some fun training between now and May. Check back soon!
Tracksuit bottoms are on, red t-shirts have been found and race numbers are busily being pinned to the front of them. In two hours the Manchester leg of the Sports Relief Mile (or three) begins and preparations are well underway to allow Team Seriously Unfit to survive what promises to be an embarrasing ordeal.
I've spent the last few minutes on the phone to my team mate discussing possible routes due to our inability to find anything out about the course online. As of writing the only information we have is the starting point and the the distance we're running, which we apparently have to keep for ourselves.
In sponsorship news our pre-race total is £87.65 plus £24.98 gift aid if my calculations are correct, which I'm confident in predicting is over £100. But with a solid resolve to pester and coerce as many of my friends as possible over the next few weeks I'm sure this will rise further.
I'm setting off now anyway with my Lucozade Hydro-Active and my camera so more updates will be forthcoming before the end of the day. Wish us luck! And sponsor us!
Thursday, 13 March 2008
With the Pennine Way Trek under our belts and a few months to go until the Great Manchester Run I found myself roping in a friend to run this weekends Sports Relief 3 mile run to pass the time. At the moment I'm frantically calling and emailing friends in order to coerce them into send me their money (total to date is £33 with a fair bit more promised) and training at the gym in my new red and white Sports Relief socks.
My race number arrived yesterday along with sponsorship forms and related information regarding the route and where to meet etc. After seriously damaging my leg on Saturdays walk I've been away from the gym for almost a week but as I'm feeling ambitious I'm going to force myself back there today and attempt to run the whole distance to see how long it takes me.
If my camera allows I'll take some photos from the course on Sunday and update the blog then. Wish me luck! And give me money (via the funky new wiget on the right hand side of this page!)
Sunday, 9 March 2008
Following several dissapointing drop outs from the team; yesterday saw the loyal few head out to Edale for a day of hard walking, torrential rain and gale force winds. After trekking many miles up to the summit of one of the highest peaks in England, braving some of the fiercest weather conditions many of us have ever experienced, today finds us aching, limping and generally just realizing how foreign walking really is to us.
Present on what is now known to us all as 'The Death Walk' were our mutual friend Sarah and her friend Marcus. After some debate as to a team name (with suggestions ranging from the Fantastic Four to the The Famous Five Minus A Dog) I believe we settled on the Fat Four, or at least that was my preference.
After a late start and an hours fine weather the walk initially seemed to be going well with high spirits, good conversation and a general sense of purpose. This was, afterall, the open country, with no limit on the abundance of wonderful scenery, fascinating wildlife and enough tales of ghostly animals, phantom highwaymen and air crash victims to fill a Goosebumps omnibus.
With 3 miles under our belts and a third of an ambitious climb behind us we decided to stop for lunch at about half 12 on a break in hillside overlooking the valley we had just traversed. With an abundance prepacked food, fruit and chocolate raisins moods were still high and Marcus took the opportunity to entertain us before hitting the trail again (see video to be attached).
The rain came after another hours walking and, combined with gale force winds, the novelty to being blown against rocks whilst soaked to the skin soon wore off for some of our merry band of adventurers. In fact, with the realization of the scale of how far we had yet to walk (provided by a clear view of the not insubstantial valley and reservoir we had to trek across in order to reach our destination) prompted even the hardiest of spirits to wane.
With cloud cover providing a soup-like fog and wind preventing much walking at all we took our second food break around five hours in to the walk to re-coup, re-gain the feeling in our fingers and generally check that all the limbs we could no longer feel were still attached to our bodies. At this point resolve was definitely on the way out, I was still laughing manically into the elements and the people behind me, I suspect, were beginning to despise my cheery disposition.
But what do you do when the people you are responsible for are clearly fed up with a walk you know has at least 6 miles to go? You downscale of course!
And so it was that the 2 mile path that led to the gate that led to the 3 mile road that led to the pub became the little path that ends in the gate which is technically right next to the pub in question. But trust me, in the rain and when you can feel water running down your back and the blisters on your feet are so big you can't actually see your foot anymore; you want to hear that the end is in sight. Whatsmore, I was looking forward to the end that much that I actually believed every word I said myself.
The best part about all this was that when we arrived at the pub in a condition I can only relate to the survivors of the movie 'Hostel' it was closed for refurbishment. And with a group already tired, angry and hoping for home this was the part when I decided I really should be watching my back.
We survived though. Wet, cold, tired and in pain we ambled into the nearest village and sat dripping in the warmth of the local pub. Never before have I appreciated a pub more.
Needless to say, I was eventually forgiven.
Total amount raised for charity will be updated soon.
Thursday, 28 February 2008
As some of you may have recently heard, due to the hugely ambitious nature of the project Fran and I have had to put Charity China on the back burner for now. The good news, however, is that all planned charity events will continue to take place, more will be organized and all money raised so far will be going exactly where it should be going. Because this is the year for charity and that means making money whether we're here in the UK or anywhere else. And so, in the spirit of continuity, I have compiled a small calendar of confirmed events in which either myself, Fran or both of us are participating and will add more as and when these occur (this is included at the bottom of this post).
So why has China been postponed? Put simply, finance. Despite our willingness to pay all transport costs ourselves and work our fingers to the bone to get as much money to the charity as possible we just wouldn't be able to scrape together the thousands needed to knacker ourselves even more (albeit in a different part of the world). In fact, if you do the maths, costs included ,we need almost £3000 each and we needed to raise this within 7 months. That, if my calculator isn't lying, is slightly over £107 EACH, PER WEEK until the day we travel. Now, I'm by no means defeatist, but come on, unless we get some pretty rich sponsors (and it turns out these people are rich for a reason...they're tight fisted) we don't really stand much of a chance. And so the trip has been postponed.
But what of my efforts to better myself and run 10km for Charity this May? Well, in an effort to hop, skip and jump my way to the big event I've thrown in several smaller ones throughout the next few months.
Firstly, I'm now participating in the Sports Relief Mile in Manchester. It's actually three miles, but as it's only half of the Great Manchester Run it's probably going to be more to my liking and, more importantly, I'm less likely to collapse in a panting heap in the middle of the road. The immediacy of the event (March 16th) also gives me the motivation to stop being lazy and get to the gym. I'm raising money for Sports Relief with this one which goes to people living incredibly hard lives both here in the UK and abroad. I've already started the ball rolling by buying a pair of fundraising socks but you can sponsor me safely and securely through the SPORTS RELIEF WEBSITE by clicking here. Rest assured none of this money passes through my hands and goes directly to Sport Relief with your name on it so you can feel good doing it!
Before this, however, Fran and I are doing a sponsored 16 mile walk between Edale via 'The Dark Peak' and Crowden (the designated 'Middle of Nowhere') for Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital. However, we are not alone! Team mates will be added as and when all are confirmed (if you want to join the team, email me!) and again you can sponsor us via Justgiving, where (again) no money will pass through our hands but will be sent directly to the hospital with your name written all over it! This takes place on March 8th.
Lastly, for those of you good people just itching to sponsor us but waiting for the right cause we are now accepting paypal donations through the button at the top right of this page which (we are assured) will not be taxed and which we will personally forward to the charity of your choice which you can state in the 'notes' box when making the donation. So, if you don't particularly support Scope, Sports Relief or Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital, make a donation and tell us where you want it to go.
Events Calendar to date:
Pennine Way Trek (16 miles) 08/03/08
Sport Relief Manchester Mile (3 miles) 16/03/08
Bupa Great Manchester Run (6 miles) 18/05/08
Friday, 25 January 2008
As if it couldn't get any worse, after puffing, panting and almost passing out at the gym and after realizing that I am undeniably the least fit person of my age on the planet, I have signed up for the Bupa Great Manchester Run.
Always speculating to accumulate I have invested the £30 registration fee in the hope that friends and family will be so shocked that I've alctually registered for a run that they're simply hand over their wallets in amazement. I won't lie, I'm not ready for it at all. The last time I went to the gym to 'train' I couldn't feel my legs after 2km, at 2.5 I was ready to stop moving and let the treadmill fling me into the wall and at 3 my body practically forced me to press the emergency stop button and limp back to the changing rooms. I have no idea how 10km will treat me ("Only 10km?!" you say. "I thought it was a marathon!").
Doing the maths I estimate that at a push I could cover 2.5km in just over 15 minutes, although after this I'm sure I would be ready for a couple of hours rest in front of the TV. That means that by May I need to double my abilities twice over. But how do you go about doing that?
I'm assuming tahat the officious looking people in the red polo shirts at the gym will have some ideas. Personally I think it's impossible. But then again, that's why I applied.
Coincidentally, you can sponsor me for this and all other future events using the 'Sponsor' button to the right of this text.
A timetable of events currently organized and more news on my imminent death by running soon.