A big thanks to everyone who sponsored me for the Brighton Half Marathon I ran last Sunday, but a week on and I’m wondering what, exactly, this event had to do with charity.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think the charity I ran for (Water- Aid) is a worthwhile charity, doing good and saving lives, but I’ve got to be honest and admit that I didn’t primarily run this race for charity, I did it for myself, and the charity issue was very much a secondary after thought.
Seriously, I love running, and when I was planning my ‘race-calender’ for early 2012 a few months back, the Brighton half stood out as a conveniently timed, accessible (no changes on the train!), flat course that was perfect for my first half marathon, a step up from the handful of 10ks I enjoyed in 2011. I would have run it anyway, but just before I paid my entry fee I decided to double check the charity options – and water aid offered a free place for a minimum sponsorship of £250. Perfect!
Firstly, this fitted in nicely with the module I teach in Global Development – nice synergy, something to get the students interested and make me look like a generally nice guy….
And I did find that being the guy that runs for charity gives you positive social status and an easy focus of conversation at work for a few weeks – A bit like the ‘holiday conversation’ – you get to interact conversationally without having to go into too much depth – and both of you have a generally positive experience – I mean only the most cynical political radicals are suspicious of charity (in retrospect this probably goes some way to explaining why I didn’t actually get to the £500 total I pushed for – too many of the people I asked for cash fall into that category).
I had a great time in the six weeks or so before the event – raising cash for water aid by literally doing nothing else other than sending emails, tweeting and Facebooking, checking my emails telling me ‘Great News, you’ve just been sponsored and then logging onto my ‘Virgin Money Giving’ page to witness the rise and rise of my total donations, and then a few quick exchanges with some old friends.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the positive affirmations of my identity – which can get kind of rare as you approach your 40s. Its nice to be known as someone that hasn’t let himself go – and is capable of posting times that would put most people in their 20s to shame (endurance running’s like that you know). Apparently men my age doing endurance events is something of a social phenomenon. Guilty – But when you look this good – who wouldn’t be.
More – I had a great time at the ‘training event’ laid on by water aid in mid January – free lunch, goodies, and a nice ego boost during the pacing exercise – I especially enjoyed a ‘certain glance’ from the ludicrously attractive woman from studio 57 fronting the even – unfortunately said glance wasn’t suggesting she was interested (she most definitely wasn’t) – but it did say ‘you don’t need to be here you idiot this is for people not used to running’ (well I can never resist a Freebie).
The run day itself was good too – beautiful and sunny – nice atmosphere – good twitter conversations – enough free Lucozade to bathe in and lunch and beer afterwards – spot on!
So at the end of the day ‘I’ may well have raised a few hundred quid for water aid and a couple of dozen people may well not die of malaria as a result, but strictly speaking I’m sure I’ve benefited more – I mean, seriously, money cannot buy the advances in self-actualisation I’ve realised through running this half marathon for charity.
Having said all this – I still rate genuine charitable giving as one the most important acts people can engage in – so thanks to all who donated – for their sake, as well as mine. And if you didn’t sponsor me in the first instance because you are one of those ‘charity cynics’ – how about sponsoring me now for saying it like it is – by clicking here!
Related posts – (forthcoming)
- Why we run
- Why did you sponsor me?
Unecessarily Jargoned abstract about veteran running and ageing discourse – probably because the author doesn’t really have that much to actually say.