Skip to main content

Fundraiser of the month: Louise Ballantyne

lb_sm.jpgMy name is Louise and I decided to set myself the challenge of 5km every day in December for MS-UK. The idea came to me in November when I was in bed for a week with the flu!

As a regular runner I was bored and fed up with not being able to run, I am not sure what part of me thought such a running challenge only a few weeks later would be a good idea! My Father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when I was just five years old, so 29 years later, I decided it was time I do something for an MS charity. I chose MS-UK because when reading what they do and what their aims are, it made me realised how much it would have helped my family if they were around at the time my Father was diagnosed.

I usually run 3-4 times per week and have never run more than five consecutive days in a row. I did not intentionally train for the event as I ran a half marathon in October and had, apart from when I had the flu, continued running since then but I suppose you could say I have been training since I started running two years ago! I really didn’t know how my challenge would be received. When I started my fundraising web page I did not put a target as I really did not know what to expect but as soon as I told people what I was doing, I was overwhelmed by the support and sponsorship I started to receive.

The challenge as a whole went well but there were certainly ups and downs! I work fulltime and have a four year old daughter so to fit the runs in I did the majority around 6am, which did start to take its toll after a few days!

I documented each day with photos and the number of the day on my hand, which had its challenges, such as working out what way to write the number to ensure it is not backwards on the photograph! The first ten days ticked along well but then my body decided to make it even harder for me by developing a rotten cold and cough thereafter. It isn’t sensible to keep running when you have a cough but I was keeping the pace steady and 5km is not a particularly long distance so I managed to carry on.

Day 17 was a highlight for me. I took my daughter with me for the first part of my run and she managed a whole mile! She enjoyed dressing in some of my running gear and having number 17 written on her hand! She loves her Granddad and enjoyed doing her run for him.

She did spend the next five days complaining of achy legs and so perhaps in hindsight a mile was a bit too long! Day 23 was slightly hampered by being the day after the office Christmas party! Just like not running with a cold, I do not think you are meant to run with a hangover either! Whenever I told people about my challenge they responded in surprise “what, you’re running Christmas day too?!!!” The Christmas day run went well, I got it out of the way at 6am and did quite a quick time so I could get back and check Santa had been. The last week was certainly tricky as my legs decided they wanted to run no more but finally, 31 days later, I made it! 5km x 31 days would have been 155km or 96.1 miles, so deciding that wasn’t enough running I set myself a secondary aim of running at least 100 miles.

In the end I managed 100.1 miles or 161 km and I must say I was rather pleased with myself!

Completing this challenge made me realise how many people will get behind you and support you if you are doing something a) to push yourself and b) for a charity. I was surprised how many people had a family member who has MS or who knows a friend who does, which was another reason why I believe I received so much support.

I certainly have the fundraising bug but I think I will do something in the summer next time!