A while ago, I set myself a challenge, and thought of ways to make it interesting and long term. I was trying to settle in a new city, and adapting to the sudden lack of mountains. In the beginning, there were many other changes happening, so I focussed mostly on the physical side of it, and what I would need to do in order to get there (hint: there is a lot of that!).
But time went by, and the rough calendar of events I had made up and scribbled on a paper in the new year came and went, each distance and time hit, communities found, and injuries picked up. I came to realise that while other things I do on a regular basis have meaning, this big part of my life was giving little back to those around me, and that doesn’t feel right. I have another piece of paper, with a set of goals around friendships and family and generally being a person I’d like to know. Those have also been partially-mostly met, they are more nebulous than ‘run 100km’. But with everything going on, it’s tempting to drop a ball, so why not combine the two papers?
So the goal has become multifaceted. Not only a physical one (although that will be difficult enough), but I will be raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. Fundraising, like presenting, strikes fear into my heart. Much in the same way that my boss now gets me to do all of the presentations, I decided to throw myself into it and learn as much as I could along the way. It won’t be perfect, but this way I hope to help raise the profile, and support in my own small way, those whose work means that we can be free to have our own lives and challenges and hobbies because we are safe to do so. 2018 is the centenary of the RAF, and 2018 is the year I will be taking on Marathon des Sables. In the 510 days between now and then, I will do 100 ‘things’.
Those things have yet to be defined. This is currently ‘back of a protein bar packet’ thinking. They may be orienteering events or tough mudders, fun runs or multi-day races. How about some swimming or taking people hiking in the wild places of the UK. It won’t be easy, the schedule is hectic already, but I didn’t want it to be a walk in the park or why would people support it?
Challenge number one since we thought this up (and I *have* chosen to accept it), is to run the Istanbul marathon, crossing from one continent to another, and beginning what I hope will turn out to be a tough and rewarding year and a half.
Have any of you tried something like this? Who did you talk to? What helped? I’m excited and nervous, and can’t wait to get started!