On Sunday we saw over 40,000 runners take on the immense journey of running the London Marathon in record breaking heat. The Marathon is seen as one of the ultimate events that many can train to undertake, and one of the oldest forms of endurance test. The first marathon to have been recorded was run by Pheidippides in 490 B.C. Although for him it must have seemed like a Sunday stroll, as he once ran 150 miles from Athens to Sparta.
A marathon is an incredible feat, and is a testament to the hard work and training of the runners – many of whom have chosen to run for charity. A charity that they perhaps have a close personal relationship with, or one that they have seen change the lives of those around them, in their community or even the world.
Marathons and other sporting events have a huge impact on charities and local businesses. The Edinburgh Marathon Festival now annually attracts more than 30,000 runners each year and has had an economic impact of more than £40 million for Scotland’s capital and helped raise more than £60 million for hundreds of charities. Sporting challenges are an opportunity to test yourself and raise vital funds for amazing organisations. But what happens when you chose to run for an organisation that you work for and fundraise for on a daily basis?
As a fundraiser I spend nearly all my working week showcasing the incredible difference that Cyrenians makes not just to the people they journey with, but also using the platform they have to shape and change perceptions of homelessness and social isolation within Scotland.
For me, choosing to run for Cyrenians wasn’t a difficult decision. I am fortunate to watch and observe the amazing work that my colleagues do on a daily basis. So the opportunity to spread awareness to a wider network of people out-with my working life, was something that I couldn’t miss out on.
But why would anyone sponsor me when, as a fundraiser, it would seem they are just doing my job for me? We looked to the way we share what we do every day. We tell people’s stories, and the reason why you might sponsor someone would be the reason or story behind their decision to take part. Our four teams are running for the stories of the 4,000 people we journey with at Cyrenians each year.
On May 27th, 16 staff members and volunteers will set off in four relay teams to run a total of over 100 miles for Cyrenians at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Our teams are made up of people with a range of different levels of experience. From a veteran of 12 International Marathons, to someone’s first ever run, we are a team of different experience and we all have a story.
For me, running is a big test as I’m not naturally a runner, and the challenge of this run makes me reflect on the challenge of those we work with and fundraise for. For others it is a way to be part of a team, or perhaps to increase fitness or overcome health issues. For a few it is a leisurely stroll compared to their usual challenges, but their ability to the take on longer sections of the run enables others to run the shorter sections.
I know we will all have a sense of accomplishment when our teams cross the finish line. Although we have decided to take part for different reasons Cyrenians in some capacity is closer to our hearts. We will be running as part of our journey with Cyrenians, and who knows where it will take us next? Although I can’t say what my next challenge will be, I do think it’s safe to say I won’t be training to run 150 miles from Athens to Sparta like Pheidippides!
If you would like to donate to the four Edinburgh marathon Cyrenians Relay Teams, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cyreniansrelayteams
26 April 2018