Please note all monies raised go direct to Refuge. I am funding the actual events, travel, training and equipment myself.
I hope to blog about this on my website, but this is likely to be rather sporadic given the limited time I have available! Please see www.dreamweaverconsulting.org if you would like to read/know more.
What am I doing? Aiming to go from new runner (February 2013) to multi-day ultramarathon stage runner in 18 months (September 2014)
351.2 miles - the equivalent of 13.5 marathons and with the exception of London, the others are back-to-back marathons!
Where am I running? That will be the UK (Europe), Madagascar (Africa) and USA (North America)
The events? Virgin London Marathon on 13 April 2014 followed by Racing the Planet's Roving Race, a stage run that takes place from 31 August - 6 September which is then followed only two weeks later by the Grand2Grand Ultra (or g2g as it's more commonly known) from 21 to 27 September (I didn't realise when I signed up, quite how close they were together, so can only hope my feet survive!)
...and with the exception of London, you have to carry everything you need on your back... well not the tent... but everything else, including food. I have what I term a "healthy" appetite, so this may be an extra challenge I hadn't bargained for! Basically for those who have heard of Marathon des Sables, think of that premise... twice!
The distances? London is 26.2 miles, Madasgcar 155 miles and then a whopping 170 miles for USA, giving a total of 351.2 miles. Yep, apart from London, basically a marathon or more each day on the stage runs (Africa & USA), and one day on each of those two is a double marathon, commonly called the "Long Stage". Gulp. And that's without factoring in water crossings, climbing, elevation and scary creatures... tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches, rattlesnakes, malaria... oh yes and Madagascar has bubonic plague every year too!
And why am I doing it? Well there's the personal challenge aspect obviously, but it's also an opportunity to raise money (and a huge thank you to those who are donating!!!) and as importantly, awareness. Awareness of the work that Refuge does, of an issue that is hidden away as if it doesn't exist. Because it's easier for us all if that happens, it makes life "nicer". Because if we don't confront it, it doesn't exist right? Wrong! It exists, it affects us all. Because it's unfortunately part of our "society" which doesn't disappear but affects each and every one of us as we, and society as a whole, grow and evolve. And each time we turn a blind eye, we don't support someone we know that may be hurting, we contribute to it, because we are allowing it to happen.
And that is Domestic Violence... Domestic Abuse...
... hidden away behind closed doors and 4 walls... sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse which happens to children and adults... hard hitting words that people don't like to talk about or even acknowledge the existence of. But it happens. Every single day. And more than likely to someone you know. Someone who is living in fear, who is hiding the reality of their existence because they are scared, they are ashamed, they feel guilty. Just because you don't see a bruised face, broken limbs or hear how a victim is being spoken to, doesn't mean it's not happening!
However, knowing that they can reach out, having somewhere to escape to can not only mean an escape from living a life of brutality, fear and degradation, but literally can save someone's life! The stats are horrifying to read, something like 22% of all murders are due to intimate partner violence. 1 in 4 women experience it. 1 in 6 men. And that's where Refuge steps in. They provide that safe space, that escape route. They help people to LIVE.
To read in detail about their work please click their website link on this page.
So why have I chosen this particular charity? Apart from the fantastic and life-saving work that it does? As most already know, not only do I have a full-time day job, but I am also a counsellor, working part-time in private practice and part-time as a volunteer with a local Domestic Abuse charity. I witness first hand the devastating long-term effects that victims experience and feel extremely honoured to be trusted to witness their pain, their vulnerability, their courage and their strength... honoured to assist people on their road from victim to Empowered Survivor.
With your help and some running (and climbing from what I've heard about g2g *eek*) from yours truly on this occasion, fundraising for Refuge means more help for more victims. It means saving lives. It means directly affecting someone's life for the positive so that they can then help themselves rather than living a life that you or I would never wish upon another living soul. Please help me fundraise for such a fantastic cause!
And for the official JustGiving blurb: donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity. So please dig deep and donate now.