Thanks for visiting my fundraising page.
So I will be 42 when in April I will be running my first ever marathon - the London Marathon.
I am overweight, unfit and haven't done any serious form of exercise in twenty years.
Unless walking to the pub counts!
So why the sudden urge to run a marathon? And why run for P.A.R.C.?
I have a gorgeous 5 year old son, Jude, whom I love very much. He has austism.
My wife has had a period of very ill health and has been in and out of hospital for over 2 years now. She has had 6 major operations - at least 2 of which almost certainly saved her life. Even without the added problems that any disability poses, caring for, and raising a child can be difficult enough at times (but very rewarding), but doing so with a very ill wife is even harder - especially when you still have to work to try and pay the mortgage.
I certainly would never have been able to cope with all of this without the help and support that our family has received (and continue to receive) from P.A.R.C. They are just simply fantastic. If nothing else, just having somewhere available to be able to look after my son for an hour or two so that I could get to the hospital for a visit, made these guys worth their weight in gold. This might not seem much, but when you have a disabled child, the options that you have finding someone/where that you would entrust your child to, whilst you do simple everyday things that everyone takes for granted such as shopping, hospital visits or even merely housework, gets very limited indeed.
And there are so many other families and children, including a number of Jude's friends, that also benefit from the work that P.A.R.C. and their staff do.
Thankfully, my wife is on the slow road to recovery, but P.A.R.C. still plays a very big part of our lives and continues to give us the support and respite care that we so desperately need, but which is increasing difficult to get through social services..
This is why I am running the marathon to help this small, but important charity, without which mine and so many other families lives would be just that little bit harder.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my page and please help me to help P.A.R.C. by donating - and don't foget to gift aid your donation!
And thank you P.A.R.C. for helping me to keep me relatively sane through an extremely difficult time.
(P.S. did I mention that their staff are absolute angels?)
Donating through Justgiving is quick, easy and totally secure. It’s also the most efficient way to sponsor me: Parc (Essex) gets your money faster and, if you’re a UK taxpayer, Justgiving makes sure 25% in Gift Aid, plus a 3% supplement, are added to your donation.
UPDATE: 13th December 2009
Well, I've now given up smoking (2 weeks) and since I started training nearly 2 months ago I have lost nearly two stone in weight! I am still not able to run great distances yet. 2 -3 mile runs, a couple of times a week, are the norm currently. I did manage one 5 mile run. But this took me quite a few days to recover from (sore in places that you don't even want to be thinking about) , so I won't be doing that again just yet!
I now own a bicycle, have gym membership (that actually get's used) and despite the cold, wet awful winter weather am doing something towards getting me ready at least 3 - 4 times a week. I know the distances need to be longer, but I am getting there, slowly. I have also booked to run half marathon's on 7th February and 14th March in preparation for the big one.
Finally, can I say a big thank you to everyone who has already donated and also a big thank you to Chris Elms Personal Fitness Clubs. I can highly recommend these guys. They are very good and not only are they helping me enormously with getting fit but they also gave me a sizeable reduction in my fees. I'll be adding that money to the pot as well in April.
UPDATE: 27th February 2010
Things are now starting to get serious. I have just eight weeks left to get ready for this.
But I have stayed quit and have not had a cigarette in nearly three months now and I am now running many more miles every week. I have clocked up over 150 miles in training and have now also run my first half marathon (Great Bentley). Just click on the photos(7) link above to see my in action (and please accept my apologies for the awful shirt). I have two more half marathons in the coming weeks (Roding Valley and Silverstone) and hope to look a bit more fashionable in those photos.
I am guessing that my the time I complete the marathon in April I will have run close to 300 miles overall, so you are definitely getting your monies worth out of your donation!
UPDATE: 28th March 2010
Just 4 weeks to go now. I ran a short 5 mile race starting and finishing near P.A.R.C. today and it was great to get the encouragement of the various staff and parents there today. Thank you everyone.
Am really starting to look forward to the maraton now, although I am still desperately short of being able yet to run a full 26 miles yet. Something tells me that 25th April will be very painful.
Which is why I am also crapping myself still at the thought of doing it. (That's the polite version).
So please donate. When I cross that finish line on 25th April, knowing that I will have done all of this and raised lots of money for P.A.R.C. will make all the gym sessions, practice races and many evening/weekends pounding the streets of Braintree worth all the pain, exhaustion and chaffing (don't ask) worth while.
Thank you all most kindly for your support.
FINAL UPDATE: - 28/04/10
I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My legs blew up at 18 miles and I guess I walked at least 6 of the final 8 miles. But sheer bloodymindedness, a lot of pain and constantly reminding me of why I was doing this all finally got me all the way around in a time of 5 hours, 31 minutes and 54 seconds. Yah me!
But I am quite a bit disappointed, because by the end of training I was kinda hoping for a time of less than 5 hours. But it wasn't until the legs gave out that it really dawned on me just how damn hard this thing was. I am disappointed that in the end I wasn't fully ready for this and the memory of those last painfully difficult 8 miles have somewhat soured an experience that everyone without exception told me that would be enjoyable because of the crowds, support, atmosphere, etc. The first 2/3rds of the race were indeed enjoyable. The last 1/3rd so very wasn't. If only I could have done the race is reverse and ended with the good bit!
Maybe when the kness, legs, feet, arms and everything else stop aching it might sink in in a few days time just what it is that I have achieved here.