Charity running has been a big part of my running career, having spent the large part of my early runnig years doing various challenges and raising money, while doing something I love. Over the years I’ve proven you can improve and get faster yet still do your bit for charity.
You can read why I support my charities below and also more on my amazing journey via these articles & features:
Between 2012 and 2014 years I went by the Twitter handle @13inThirteen, this was also the name of my first two charity challenges that took place throughout 2013, 2014 and the first month of 2015. The whole concept of the first challenge and the name came about in late 2012, after I lost over 4 stone during the course of 2012, you can read more about my personal weight loss on my about page.
After losing the weight I decided I needed a new challenge and took part in my first ever run at the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run in September of 2012, I enjoyed myself that much I decided to do another race 2 weeks later. It was later in the year that I came up with the first charity challenge called 13 in Thirteen. This challenge was where I would run 13 races over a distance of 10km over the course of 2013 and tried to set a PB at each race.
The reason I came up with the challenge is I had always wanted to give back to a charity that helped me when I as a child. The charity in question is the NSPCC as I used their Childline number on numerous occasions due to bullying at school and issues at home, they were there when I had suicidal thoughts as a teenager and if it wasn’t for the people at the other end of the line listening and offering me support and advice things could have been a lot different. As 2013 progressed my support team (my wife & daughter) earned the name ‘Team 13’ due to their support at each race.
The 2013 challenge was a resounding success with me completing the challenge on the 1st of December and setting a new PB at each race and also raising over £2400 pounds for the NSPCC.
After taking a few weeks rest I missed the bug of the challenge so decided to do it all again and launch the 13 in Thirteen half marathon challenge. To keep the name 13 in Thirteen going as it had grown into a well known name and brand by the end of 2013. I decided instead of doing 14 in fourteen as most people expected, I instead decided to do 13 half marathons in 13 months. The aim was to raise £4,000 and run under 90 minutes or under during the challenge. Again the challenge was a success yet it was a rollercoaster year, with cancelled races, racing up and down the country.
Both challenges helped raise my profile and also allowed me to tell my story (see links to Craig’s story above) regarding why I used Childline as a child. Also through doing these challenges and telling my story I helped to raise a grand total of £1,323,452 for the NSPCC and Childline . After the second challenged finish in January 2015, I decided to take a break from charity running and focus on improving my times.
After a break of half a year, I missed the buzz of the whole ethos of challenges and looked at doing another challenge. This challenge came about after being told I take my running a little too seriously! so…….. inspired by my childhood wrestling heroes The Road Warriors (Legion of Doom for WWE/WWF fans), I came up with my next crazy running challenge. The aim was to run for 52 weeks straight and to hit 100 races, starting in Aug 2015 but by Jan 2016 the decision was made to end the challenge early as it was taking a massive strain on my family and physically I was constantly ill. In the end I managed to run 32 races in space of 23 weeks. I also got to captain my county at the Great Yorkshire Run.
In 2018 I attempted a new challenge with plan to run 18 races over 12 months, 6 HM and 12 x 10M races. But the beginning of the year the beast from the east hit and meant most of my races were cancelled, at same time my daughter became seriously ill with a heart condition, this meant the challenge never got off the ground, despite numerous attempts at starting the challenge. In the end Molly was seriously poorly and that became priority.
Over the years through doing challenges and telling my story I have managed to help raise £1,330,721.17.