Posted: 06 February 2012

You can support young people, one run at a time

If you're reading this you must be considering running in support of The Children's Society. I heartily encourage you to do it.

As a runner – and I use the term loosely in my case – you can have fun with your friends, colleagues and family, while raising funds to help The Children’s Society and the young people they support. It’s a great combination.

There are options. You could do a 10k, a half-marathon or a full marathon. You can run by yourself or as part of The Children’s Society team. [Learn more about our marathons and runs.]

Let me warn you: if you’re like me and you choose to run a marathon, you repeatedly will be asked, ‘How far have you got to run?’ People will look at you as if you have lost the plot, and they are possibly right, when you answer ‘26.2 miles’. Their next question is usually what the hardest part of the run is. The first 20 miles are easy, the last 6.2 are a killer. But the feeling of accomplishment at the finish line is the best.

Travelling internationally by running

I used to run for my school but stopped and gave it up for many years. Then Gwyn, a colleague who also supports The Children’s Society, persuaded some of us to run with him. 

Louise Straw, Glyn Lewis and Clare Lewis standing and smilingBy the way, Gwyn is aiming to join the 100 Marathon Club, which is a group of people who have run at least 26.2 miles 100 times. When he told me that, I said, ‘I’m only doing one!!!’

My first marathon was in Paris. We ran in 30-degree weather but it was fantastic – the after-run party on the Champs Elysées certainly made me forget the pains in my legs. I think the wine affected my mind as it was at this point my mouth got the better of me and the words “where are we running next?” were uttered and that was me hooked!

Since then I’ve run in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Florence (in the pouring rain – definitely the most miserable, despite the beautiful buildings to look at), Barcelona and, last year, in London.

Louise Straw and friend running before London's Tower BridgeThe ‘fun’ in ‘fundraising’

The beauty of running for The Children’s Society is we run for ourselves and for the charity. The part of work for the charity involves fundraising, which can be hard work but very often it’s fun.

One way to raise funds is by organising an event. My group’s main event is a quiz night. About 140 people attended our last one and this year we hope to do even better. I’ve found that most people are happy to support you if you ask (and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer). Even the pub did us a deal on the food. 

We also had a wine tasting night – perhaps that’s not the best training for a marathon but you need to let your hair down sometimes. Also, I must say a really huge ‘Thank you’ to my colleagues, as they have gone the extra mile in supporting me. 

Devising fundraising ideas

It’s easy to think up ideas once you get going. 

The office is full of expectant parents – so we have the ‘Guess the weight’ competition underway, and next month we’re holding a tea party with a cake baking competition. 

On Christmas eve we had ‘Father Christmas phonecalls’. For this, Gwyn spent two hours as Father Christmas, calling children. The feedback was amazing. If anyone wants further details, get in touch and I will let you know how we did it.

Running support

The support from The Children’s Society is fantastic. The team, headed by Katie Birtwistle, send regular emails and ring you to check that all is fine. They put us in touch with other runners in our area – so if you are worried about running alone, they can see if other supporters are near. 

On race day last year, they were present in their purple t-shirts, cheering us on. We were feeling really tired and their cheers towards the end of the race was just what we needed. Then at the end there was food and a much-needed massage. From start to finish they were there for us.

Cheering, raising funds from the sidelines this year

Sadly I have had to pull out of this year’s London marathon due to a problem with my hip – I can’t run at all at the moment. 

But that hasn’t stopped me supporting Gwyn and The Children’s Society. The fundraising goes on and I will be running next year – maybe I will be fit enough for Berlin in September!

If you can, run! You’ll feel good and do good for young people and children – that’s a wonderful combination.

And remember, it’s not how fast you run, it’s getting across that finish line. Don’t be surprised when you start to cry at the end – it is the most amazing feeling. 

Good luck!

By Louise Straw, supporter of The Children's Society

By Louise Straw - Guest bloggers

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