“Life is a gift to all of us. It isn’t always easy and some challenges seem too great to manage – but we are all worth the decision to try. And we need to believe in all that is possible.”

 

I will be taking part in the London Marathon this Sunday, 22nd April 2018, joining a group of thousands running for themselves, in memory of others and to raise money for various charities.

Many won’t have run a marathon before and could never have contemplated taking on that kind of distance – all 26.2 miles of it. However, something inside said that they wanted to try and they believed it was possible. I have taken part in this distance previously, but many years ago and before the children arrived. It feels like it could be the first time all over again.

For me, it will be Challenge 14 of The 29 Challenge and it felt like it was an important distance to complete. In amongst the 10k’s and Half Marathon’s it will be the longest distance that I take on in my goal to raise £29,000 for Mind – The Mental Health Charity. Imagine sharing the message of The 29 Challenge as widely as possible, reaching at least 29,000 people and them all donating £1.

The journey to get to this point has been full of lots of different emotions. There have been days where I haven’t wanted to run and days where I have thought I could have kept going and going. There have been days that haven’t gone to plan; where work commitments have got in the way, illness has occurred, or injury has said you need some time-out. That’s life. But nothing has made me question what I am doing and why I am doing it.

I do know that I am more respectful of my body and of my mind in the process. I am respectful of the distances that I am running and I appreciate the opportunity of being able to take part in every race. And I appreciate the help, encouragement and donations that I have had along the way.

So as I wait to embark on the London Marathon and as I take each and every step of the 26.2 miles, I’ll be doing it for a reason that is important. If it helps one person believe in themselves and all that is possible for them, then it will have been worth it. If it leads to one person reaching out for help if they need it, then it will have been worth it. If it helps to support Mind in the continuing work that they do, then it will be worth it.  I know for sure that it is definitely worth it.

Life is a gift to all of us. It isn’t always easy and some challenges seem too great to manage – but we are all worth the decision to try. And we need to believe in all that is possible.

‘Trust your journey; live, love and appreciate each moment; and, know that you can make a difference to your life and that of others.’

Thank you for visiting The 29 Challenge website and blog. It’s great to have you here.

I made the decision to start The 29 Challenge in the week leading up to the very first race. It was something I had been thinking about earlier in the year but I didn’t proceed with it at the time; there were so many reasons that could allow me to opt out. However, whilst out on one of my final training runs for what was to become Challenge 1, The 29 Challenge came into my head with such a strong force that it almost felt like a physical sensation. And the thought stayed; quickly followed by, ‘what if’. What if I do this and I can make a difference, even to one person? What if I can encourage people to get more active and look after their physical and mental health, even if it was one person? What if I could do something positive with something so painful that will in turn help others to seek help if they are struggling or in crisis? I knew then what I had to do. I came home, spoke to my family, spoke to the charity and the journey of The 29 Challenge began.

The 29 Challenge started on 1st October 2017 as a commitment to participate in 29 running events over the course of a year to raise £29,000 for Mind – The Mental Health Charity. It started with the Glasgow Half Marathon and will conclude with the same race on 30th September 2018. Any and all donations made via The 29 Challenge JustGiving Page are hugely appreciated and will help to support the charity in their continued valuable and vital work.

Finding out that my brother had passed away was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in my life, and finding out how it happened was equally hard if not harder. Nothing I endure throughout all of the training will ever compare to the physical and emotional pain I felt at that time. If I can help prevent even one person or one family from having that experience then every single step that I run over the course of the year will be worth it.

Each stage of this journey so far may not have been easy – the calf injury was painful, the flu was exhausting and training in all kinds of weather can be tough – but it has always been worth it. Throughout it all, I have never doubted by ability to complete all 29 challenges or meet and (hopefully) exceed my fundraising total. My goal and reason for doing it are so much bigger than any doubts I could possibly have and I trust the journey I am on.

Perhaps you will feel inspired to start something today. My message to you is to trust your journey; live, love and appreciate each moment; and, know that you can make a difference to your life and that of others.