It was a hot and hilly one, the hardest yet but the race and trip itself felt like a big success in helping to raise awareness and money for ME research projects via Invest In ME. I completed the race in 4hrs 30 mins and despite not finishing with a great time it was a fantastic day (click here for race report).
I met with Christel Rimaila, Paula Aarnio and Mintti Raassina from the Finnish CFS/ME Association, all were very welcoming and gave me a good insight into what it's like there for ME patients (click here for info). Thanks too to Nadja and her friend for making signs and coming to support me! We had some great donations and messages from the Finnish supporters, things do look like they're starting to improve slowly there although I know the government's current stance on ME is frustratingly backwards and misguided (like in many countries I'll visit).
Helsinki has some fantastic lakes and islands with a lively city centre and very friendly people -I'd definitely recommend a summer city break there! (click here for pics of my trip!)
As I type we've just ticked over £2K raised for Invest In ME so they can fund their research projects! That's really great given the challenge is less than 1 year old. The idea from here is to try and reach as many new people as possible so there'll be a big drive on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word in time for the next race in Dublin.
I've come up with a basic flyer to help reach corporate sponsors to help me try to cover some of the logistical costs (below).
I'm offering a spot on the front page of my website as well as logos, regular posts and mentions on all social media and any press/media that I'm offered. Just £100 a year from a handful of sponsors could be the difference to me getting the challenge finished quicker. As the challenge progresses I'm expecting greater coverage from local TV, media and the running world so there could be some decent exposure for anyone who'd like to be a part of it.
If you know of any company that would be interested please ask them to drop me a message through my contact page -I have a letter drafted outlining the challenge, sponsorship benefits etc, if you would like a copy to send on to your MD or HR contact please drop me an email.
Training for Dublin
I'm a week into my Dublin Marathon training and it's going OK so far after a slow start. I've only got 25 runs before race day, not long to get ready. You must be ready though from the other marathons I hear you say?! Well although it's all valuable mileage, it doesn't quite work like that. I need to wipe the slate clean, re-focus and build again slowly. I'm also going to introduce more hill work and interval speed training to make sure that I perform better at the next one. I want to be a bit leaner and mentally stronger for the next one as it's my last one until April -that's a long time to stew on a disappointing race.
So far I've done a 20 mile week (week 1) which has encompassed a really good hot and hilly run in Hay On Wye. I went out with Nick for the run and took it nice and steady. I'd fallen out of a canoe on the river Wye scraping and bruising my knees and shins earlier in the day so was glad it didn't affect it too much!
Whilst I wait for Easyjet's flights to come out so I can book my 5th marathon (likely to be either Thessaloniki, Greece or Linz, Austria), I've signed up for Stockholm on June 4th! It's a big race with over 30,000 runners and I know that we'll be well supported by the Swedish ME Association.
Other Endurance Challenges
A quick shout out to the following who I'm following regularly on social media and continue to inspire my challenge. Have a look at their amazing events!
2015 miles in 2015 for ME - Chris Croshaw is running for 4 ME charities
Mike Shepherd - Mike conquered the North Pole Marathon for Invest In ME and has more challenges to come
Running At The Front - Nick Butter from Bristol is running 3000 km in 2015 for BHF, VICTA & Cancer Research
401 Challenge - Ben Smith from Bristol is running 401 marathons in 401 days for Stonewall and Kidscape
Marathon Man UK - Rob Young has run 370 marathons in 1 year, new challenges announced regularly
53 Marathons - Amy Hughes ran 53 marathons in 53 days last year and continues to set new challenges
Owain Thomas (Yolo7dayUltra) - Owain runs for Ochre cancer charity on for a friend who has terminal cancer
By the end of next month I hope to have booked my first race of 2016 and secured some corporate sponsorship. I'm also hoping to have made contact with the Irish ME Association and gathered some followers there. I'll also be very heavily into my Dublin training plan, busy times!