One fair weather runner pounds the pavements this summer in the build up for a challenge…

By Katie Garner

Many of you must be used to my pestering by now. My notorious nagging technique has reached an acclaimed status of fame among Wychelm members, and I normally switch the nag-o-metre on to full blast when attempting to get people to commit to the whole host of social events that I carefully and lovingly plan into the year’s calendar. However, there is one other occasion that gets my laser like talents turned onto hapless members and that is fundraising.

This year, I am taking on probably my biggest physical challenge to date as well as something I have never done before. I have ditched my usual 10km Race for Life and instead swapped it for October’s Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon – a 13.1 mile trek through London’s gorgeous parks and around patriotic landmarks. For me, this is really upping the ante. Running the 10km Race for Life (which works out at roughly six miles) for the past few years, I have really focused on speed and getting faster. My first run saw me hit one hour and 12 minutes; my second, I hit the hour. Last year, I slipped under the hour with 48 minutes and my fastest time so far. It may have been speedy, but it wasn’t pretty. Now I’m increasing the distance and therefore the difficultly, as I’m going to have to learn how to pace myself all over again. My natural competitive fire is going to urge me to go all out, so my main concern is that I will burn out too early.

Not only am I going to have to improve my general stamina if I’m going to get a good time, but I am also breaking my one jogging rule – October is definitely not summer. I am what is called a ‘fair weather runner’. As soon as the sky is littered with cloudy rain and a damp grey, with a limp chill blotting the air, my outdoor running season finishes and the treadmill season begins. I simply don’t do winter, so now I will be combating unusual seasonal elements that I normally avoid like plague.

Running a half marathon is something I am excited to be doing and provides an ideal personal physical challenge, that will allow me to excel in fitness and give me something new to really get my teeth into. However, it’s not all about my flashy pink trainers and clockwatching for a half decent time. The whole reason I am even attending this half marathon is because I won myself a charity place. This means that instead of buying my own spot on the start line, various charities buy a bulk of spots and then volunteers like myself buy the place from the charity in return for a set amount of sponsorship money that we have to raise for them.

My chosen charity is Parkinson’s UK, which I feel is a very overlooked cause. My granddad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the months before he passed away back in 2006, and although it didn’t cause his death, the disease dramatically altered his life and how he dealt with the everyday. We were amazingly close and at times, I literally felt like I could burst because I loved him so much, so seeing how the Parkinson’s affected him wasn’t always easy for me and my family. Since then, I have always toyed with the idea of raising money for Parkinson’s UK in his name but I never came across the right opportunity. Now, not only have I found the right opportunity, but I’m going to completely kick it’s arse too – he would have liked that.

My Granddad and me when I was about nine, and his plane tie pin

My Granddad and me when I was about nine, and his plane tie pin

So this is where I need your help. I have to raise £400 for Parkinson’s UK for my special charity place. Ideally, I want to smash that, but I honestly can’t do this alone. Genuinely, it would mean the world to me if you could sponsor me and hitting my target would definitely give me a boost come race day.

So, this counts as nagging with a very special reason, a reason close to my heart, so please help a girl out. Your captain needs you, so please sponsor me by clicking here. If you don’t want to sponsor me online, I also have a physical sponsorship form to collect cash.

Thank you for all of your support.