Blog: Running a marathon for Tenovus Cancer Care by Paul Rothwell
If you've been inspired by all the amazing people who have run marathons for us over the summer, you might be thinking about running for us. Here's Sing with Us's Paul Rothwell to tell you why that's a great idea!
"It’s 8am and I’ve just woken up in my car after completing the Race to the Stones 100KM ultra-marathon in the early hours of this morning. I wouldn’t have thought completing it was possible for me even a year ago but here I am with my medal round my neck, a smile on my face and a huge sense of achievement, despite the heavy legs!
"My first running event was the Cardiff 10K back in 2010 and I took part as a member of Only Men Aloud. I dusted off my trainers and went for a couple of questionable training runs before turning up on the day not really knowing what to do or expect; I hadn’t even run the full distance by this point. The race itself was a bit of a wake-up call for me. It turned out that I was incredibly unfit! Afterwards, my knees were in pain, my lungs were tight and my ego was bruised. I didn’t run again for nearly two years!
"In the summer of 2012, I decided it was time to sort my fitness levels out. I took part in the Cardiff half marathon that year and it was a similar experience to the 10K two years ago, just longer and more painful. I could hardly walk after crossing the finish line as my knees were so bad. Maybe this really wasn’t for me.
"Another year passed and I was offered the job of a choir leader for Tenovus Cancer Care. While researching the job, I’d been inspired by some of the stories of people raising money for a great cause by getting sponsorship for running events. That evening I signed up to another Cardiff half marathon and immediately set up a Just Giving page. That gave me the drive to push through the discomfort of training.
"I put in the effort to fix my running technique, which meant that my knees no longer gave me any pain and I started at a new gym. I’d been in and out of gyms for the last few years without much success until I was introduced to CrossFit. On the day, the half marathon went well. I raised a decent amount of money for Tenovus Cancer Care and that really increased my sense of accomplishment of the event.
"Since then I’ve run several half marathons; two full marathons, London and Snowdonia; two ultra-marathons, one 52 miles and one 62 miles; and a few long distance cycling events, including North to South Wales. Many of these opportunities have come as a direct result of Tenovus Cancer Care; London and Snowdonia are very difficult marathons to get places for so the charity was able to help me. All I had to do was hit my fundraising target and complete the events.
"Fundraising adds something special to your training; it gives a huge sense of purpose and a greater understanding of why you are doing it all. On the day of the race, especially during those darker moments of self-doubt, you recall the donations and messages of support from your sponsors. That really makes you realise how good you’ve got it. Ok, I might be exhausted and in pain now, but it’s only temporary. Going through cancer can be a horrible thing so if what I’m doing can help in some way, I’m going to push through!
"I’m not saying that everyone should run an ultra-marathon (although if you’re thinking about it please do get in touch!) but if you’re thinking about kick starting your fitness with a 5K or it’s time to tackle your first marathon, make sure you get sponsorship and raise some money for a good cause. I’ve raised nearly £4,000 for Tenovus Cancer Care by doing these events and the sponsorship is what keeps you going. It gives you more purpose and enhances that amazing feeling of achievement when you cross the finish line. If you’re thinking about it, you’re half way there! Find out how you can get involved.
"Right, I’m off to find the nearest McDonald’s for a breakfast or two!"
If you've been inspired to take on a challenge to raise money for cancer patients and their loved ones, take a look at the events we have available for you to sign up to.