Inspired by Angela’s incredible fundraising effort last year (read about it here), Rich decided to celebrate his 40th birthday by having a go himself, and duly applied to run in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon! As he didn’t get a place in either the main or bequest ballots, he decided to accept a guaranteed gold bond place from Barnardo’s in return for raising a minimum of £1800 to help towards their work with disadvantaged children. In Rich’s own words, “I believe that every child deserves a normal childhood and the chance to fulfil their potential, but sadly some don’t get this opportunity. By raising a minimum of £1800 for Barnardo’s, I can help to make a real difference to the lives of some of the abused, the vulnerable and the neglected.”
Given the above, we could of course have simply made a company donation for the full amount, but this would quite frankly have been too easy and rather boring! Therefore, instead, we tried to smash the target by getting you involved. Consequently, Polished Bliss Ltd donated one hundred microfibre towel bundles to the cause, and we offered these for sale for just £30 each (instead of the usual price of £56.80) in the run up to Christmas last year. We expected them to sell fairly slowly over the course of several months, but, somewhat astonishingly, they all sold out within 24 hours! Of the £30 paid for each bundle, 100% of the net amount (£25) was donated to Barnardo’s via Rich’s Virgin Money Giving Fundraising Page, giving a target-smashing total of £2500!
With the bulk of the fundraising already done, Rich commenced his 16 week training plan at the start of the year, building on 10K and half marathon training he had already completed over the course of 2015. A minor knee injury set him back a few weeks in February, but this was quickly resolved via some excellent physiotherapy administered by Colin Davidson at the Inverurie Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic. As the big day (Sunday 24th April) finally dawned, Rich was primed and raring to go, despite a sleepless night the night before (he won’t admit it, but the nerves got to him!). Fortunately, a combination of adrenaline and excitement got him through, and he finished the course in a time of 04:18:43, with a particularly strong crowd-pleasing sprint down The Mall.
Other generous donations from family, friends and acquaintances have since topped the grand total up to £2695 (including Gift Aid), making it our most successful fundraising effort to date. In Rich’s own words, “I never doubted that running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Barnardo’s would be a great experience, but it’s turned out to be so much more than that. From the amount of money raised to the incredible crowds on the day, from the mental strength forged in long training runs in all weathers to the generous pacing assistance I received from a fellow runner over the last part of the race, honestly, it’s been mind-blowing – I freely admit to shedding a few tears towards the end of the race, as it was one of the most emotional and uplifting events I’ve ever experienced. I encourage everyone to run a marathon at least once – anyone can do it and you’ll surprise yourself!”