Janice chases her dreams
Janice Allan is a doctor in her mid-fifties. She is married with two children of 20 and 23 and works in a Sexual Health Clinic. She describes the joys of long distance running.
“I always felt intimidated by road running. It felt to me it was so much about speed and that was something I was never good at. I found some very friendly trail events where despite coming over the finish line at the back of the pack I still felt good about myself. Not completing an event is never seen as a failure. Running itself can be a great way to free yourself up from worries.
I'm not fast. I’ve always been a keen hill walker so maybe it’s not too surprising that I moved sideways into running off road. The distances gradually increased. Trail marathons in 2012, 2013 and 2014 led to a 55k event in 2015, 110k in 2016, and 50 miles in 2017 and a 100 mile event in 2018. These long distance events often involve long spells of walking.
I'm not sure I can put into words how great it feels to run through the night and being out there when the sun rises. Fellow runners who have never met before keep each other going. It’s amazing when the sun goes down how complete strangers group together to help with route finding.
My daughter came along to some early events to do the races for children. She is now in her early 20s and last year joined me in a trail half marathon. It was a pretty special moment coming over the finish line together.
I know it probably sounds a bit contrived but for me running makes me realise how kind life has been to me, how fortunate it is to be healthy, how lucky I am to live where these things are possible and how much we depend on the support of others to allow us to chase our dreams.
Despite being familiar with long distances a road marathon will be a real challenge for me given the pace. My intention is to enjoy the moment as much as I can and raise some money for Practical Action along the way.
London to Paris cycle
Long-term supporter Norman Head of Staines-upon-Thames completed a fundraising challenge by cycling from London to Paris.
Norman said, "I am very happy to support Practical Action and encourage their work which raises the quality of life for rural communities by providing innovative solutions on important matters such as clean water supply, hygienic waste disposal and reduced smoke cooking methods."
Florence Marathon 2017
Pete and Jess Bagnall ran the Florence Marathon in November 2017. As well as fundraising for Practical Action, they were also taking part to mark Jess' 40th birthday. It was Jess' 10th marathon, but only Pete's first and he enjoyed having the chance to train with his wife,
"The highlight has really been having a common goal for both Jess and I to train for, and occasionally managing to train together. Busy lives and children so often get in the way of the reasons you end up together with someone; it was great to connect closer over something like this. Being able to raise money and spread the word a bit about Practical action was just the icing on the cake."
Apperley Quarter Marathon
In September 2017, Gloucestershire Poet Laureate, Brenda Read-Brown, accomplished the Apperley Quarter Marathon to raise funds for Practical Action. Brenda really enjoyed training, recalling, "Running alongside wheat fields early in the mornings was a joy! And I’m a poet, so it gave me the opportunity to work on poems in my head, with a bit of peace and quiet."
Brenda raised over £250 and really appreciated the support at the event, "It was lovely that people were standing along the route, cheering on even the slow ones like me - this was a real boost."
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Thank you to everyone for your dedication and support. We couldn't do what we do without you.