Hi, for those of you who don't know me, I'm Luke Blower. I'm a British guy who's been living in Japan since 2003. I absolutely live for life and live for running. That's why I have chosen to use running as my main tool in helping raise funds for Treloar's School.
I ran in the Nagoya Morikoro Park Full Marathon in Feb. 2018, but the 'big one' will be the Matsukawa Half marathon 2018. That's 21ks pretty much straight up the side of a mountain. I've done a lot of running but this is a brand new challenge for me. Of course I will have the undying support of my wonderful friends and family but to get this funding, every little bit of help you can give us is so appreciated.
I'll go into my challenges later, but first the cause I'm supporting: Treloar's School and College.
So why Treloar's?
This is simple, charity begins at home. A few months back I realised that I really should be leveraging my running to help a 'good cause'. As you know, there are sooooo many.
But my choice was actually pretty easy- my step father, John, has had a disability for many years. Despite this (because of this?) his strength of character has always amazed me.
"You'll always be refined to a wheel chair." He was told by the 'experts'.
"No thanks, I'm going to walk", he told them. And so he took the fight to his disability. And walk he did.
When John told me about an amazing school based down in Alton, Hants. that he went to in his youth, I just knew this had to be the cause I'd support.
It turns out that Treloar's School and college has been helping children with disabilities since 1907. Now they have about 170 disabled children and young people. Their aim is 'enabling education' through a combination of Teaching, Care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.
One in three students at Treloar's has little or no natural speech. 97% of their students are reliant on wheelchairs for their mobility so they award grants to help them purchase the most suitable wheelchair.
And Treloar's are very good at what they do. The progress that many students make is astounding, with a number of paralympians among their alumni.
This specialist support and equipment all costs money. One wheel chair costs anywhere between £3,000-£20,000, one specialist costs £15,000- £40,000 per year. And the latest project is a purpose built playground that will come to about £45,000.
Every little donation will bring a massive difference to so many people's lives.
So my mission is to raise money to make an impact in this fund raising.
There's a saying in Japan "Fall down seven times, get back up eight."
I have always used this as my mantra to help me through life's challenges (especially my running). It took me a long time to realise that I have it in me to help others get back up from their falls in life.
But I realise that I can't just ask people to give money. So I have set myself two challenges, very personal challenges.
Challenge 1. My favourite distance is half marathon (13.1 miles). My best time is 1 hours 37 mins. I have never believed I could break the 90 minute mark. So part of my challenge in the first half of 2018 is to break that mark.
Not just that, I'm going to run 50 half marathons between Feb- Sep 2018. About two a week.
Challenge 2. Why Sep 2018? Well that's the second part of my challenge. I absolutely hate running up hills. It kills me- give me flat roads any day.
I have run the Matsukawa half marathon before. But it killed me because it's mostly up a very steep hill! Taking my personal nemesis on head on. PLUS I am determined to get a PR time this time (which I need to knock a massive 25 minutes off my last time! Of course this pales into insignificance when you consider what some of the challenges the young people at Treloar's face everyday.
I will give daily updates on my Facebook fanpage.
If you are inspired to give to this cause, you have my eternal gratitude.
So I thank you again for helping with this mission.