I ran Run to the Beat yesterday, my first half marathon, raising sponsorship for Child’s i Foundation. Here’s ten things I learned in the process.
1. It’s hard
This might seem obvious, but running for 13.1 miles without stopping is really, really difficult. So are the long training runs. Today (the day after the race), I can barely walk. If your charity has sponsored runners, they probably feel the same.
2. It’s time consuming
All the training runs take up lots of time, and mean you can’t drink much the night before each one. I probably underestimated the time required at the beginning.
3. Cheering really helps
So many people lined the route to cheer on people they don’t even know. I wrote my name on my top, which led to people chanting, “Matt-y! Matt-y!” round the route. At mile 10, one child even shouted, “Go on Matty, you inspire me!”. I ran the last few miles a lot faster!
4. People are supportive
The support of friends and loved ones was amazing, both before and after the race. Just brilliant.
5. People are generous
I was bowled over by how many people donated on my page, over 50 and counting. People still want to support charities.
6. Text donations are great
Nearly half my donations were by text. It’s so much quicker and easier than by credit card.
7. The Twitter community are especially generous
I got lots of donations from people I know professionally and through Twitter. Incredible generosity.
8. Emails from the charity really help
Teri from Child’s i Foundation (who ran the race herself) sent occasional emails to our tiny team of ten runners, many of whom didn’t know each other, with training tips, info and encouragement. It created a brilliant sense of virtual camaraderie.
9. People are happy to pass on their knowledge
I got lots of training tips from some very lovely people who’d run marathons and half marathons before. There’s still nothing like passing on knowledge.
10. It could be addictive
My time was just over two hours. I want to get it under two hours. So that probably was not my last half marathon, and no doubt there will be another ten lessons to learn next time…