The power of giving back is something that should not be underestimated. Whether it is in form of returning a favour, giving blood or sponsoring a friend running a marathon, the act is both self-fulfilling and arguably selfless. The well-known phrase ‘actions speak louder then words’ springs to mind.
Last April I ran the Paris marathon, all 42.195km or 26 miles of it. I still can’t quite believe I managed to do it but I have the medal to prove I did, as does my sister who ran the race too. Now although my sense of achievement was (and still is) great, my pride and happiness comes not from the event itself but the 18-weeks of training endured prior to the big day.
I decided to take on this marathon venture for a variety of reasons: to challenge myself, to improve my fitness (something we all try to do in the office), and for personal reasons after losing two friends in separate tragedies in late 2013.
With this and with the help of my sister we decided to raise money in memory of them both. I was naïve to the effects that fundraising would have on me mentally, especially when running. There is something about the idea of ‘giving back’ and running for someone special that keeps you going: that makes every step, every kilometer and every mile worth it.
When I found myself lacking in motivation to put my trainers on or when I was running so slowly I was going backwards, I thought of my sponsors and of my late friends. If I didn’t complete this training and consequently not complete this marathon, what would my excuse be to all those who donated? To Josh and Joshua? The shame of having to admit I had failed due to laziness!
It spurred me on and kept me going. On race day itself, with the mental support of every donor and sponsor and the physical presence and cheering from my parents, I ran. Each and every sponsor was in my head: from Satellite PR who donated £500 even though I had at the time only joined the team four months prior to all those generous strangers who had given money. I ran without stopping and crossed the finish line in just over four hours. Suddenly, the pain, sweat and tears were all worth it. Giving something back really is a powerful thing.