One of our very own bloggers, Heron Holloway, is taking part in the Great North Run in September for the second time, but this time round her whole family’s taking part! I talked to her to find out why and how it’s all been going.
What made you decide to take part in the Great North Run?
I’m originally from the north east and it’s a beautiful part of the UK so I take every opportunity to visit – even if it means having to run 13.1miles! If you’ve never been, the Great North Run is a great excuse to go – climbing the steps to the top of Durham Cathedral the day before the run would make a great warm up.
Who are you doing it with?
I’m doing the Great North Run with my whole family – so it will be my brother, sister, Mum, Dad and me. I seriously doubt that all five of us will stick together for the whole thing, but let’s see.
At the moment we are in deep discussion about whether we are going to do the whole thing in joint themed outfits – each of us a different superhero, all dressed as the Von Trapps or something. Any suggestions gratefully received!
Have you done anything like this before?
My Dad and I did the same run in 2005 but I feel a bit of a fraud claiming to have ‘run’ as we basically walked the entire thing. Dad wanted to do something to recognise his 60th birthday and thought the Great North Run was just the thing! However, he had to do a lot of travelling in the months before and consequently did almost no training. We decided to stick together for the whole thing and so only made it to the finish in 4 hours and 8 minutes – I use Dad as my excuse for why I didn’t do it any quicker but I really wonder if I could have done it at all without him!
I am determined to give it a better shot this time around, and hoping to shave at least an hour off my time from 2005. There is such a brilliant atmosphere on the route – every time you come round a corner there is another live band playing fantastic music, instantly boosting your energy levels.
Last time I wore a t-shirt that had a big arrow pointing towards my Dad with the caption ‘That’s my Dad’, and so the crowds kept shouting out ‘Come on Dad’ which he found very motivating!!
How have you been preparing?
I’d say that I started training in earnest about two weeks ago, although I joined the gym about a month ago. I have a gym training regime to boost overall fitness levels, and I run on the streets near my house in west London twice or thrice a week. I have downloaded a training schedule from the Great Run website which takes me from zero experience to, hopefully, completing the Great North Run in about 3 hours in September.
I’ve never been a runner or particularly sporty so all this exercise is really quite a new experience for me. I found it quite tough at first but now I am enjoying it as I feel my body finding things easier. My next plan is to put together a good play list for when I go running.
It also helps that the sun has finally come out and so I have the added encouragement of wanting to look toned in tiny summer clothes!
What fundraising are you doing?
My fundraising so far has only involved planting the seeds of the idea in the minds of friends and family, so I haven’t collected any hard cash notes yet but that will come soon. I have various plans afoot that I will put into action a little nearer to the date – for example, I am organising a ‘bake off’ between two of my friends to see who can make the best dessert, with other friends paying to be judges and sample all the produce.
Any top tips for other fundraisers?
Don’t get caught up trying to do something wacky or exotic as a fundraising event. Often the ‘run of the mill’ ideas work best – have a bake sale, put on a car wash or do some babysitting. It’s much better to do lots of little things, rather than waiting for some big idea and leaving it all to the last minute. If you are stuck for fundraising ideas, give the British Red Cross a ring to help you out.
And finally, why did you choose the Red Cross?
Obviously I am biased because I work for the British Red Cross, but it is a fantastic organisation. Working as part of the press team and therefore being on-call and responding to media enquiries when an emergency strikes, you really are reminded every time that the Red Cross or Red Crescent are always there at the sharp end, helping those affected by emergencies.
The media always ring us when a disaster strikes as they know the Red Cross will be there responding so we can often give them first hand accounts of the scale of the disaster before anyone else.
Without getting really schmultzy, it really feels great to be part of the Red Cross family.
Sign up for the Great North Run today