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Fundraiser of the Month: Sarah Harrison

sarah_crop.jpgOur fundraiser of the month for October is Sarah, who has supported MS-UK for years now and continues to do so! Read her story her, plus her top tips!

I’m Sarah from Derbyshire and I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London for MS-UK.

I am a life-long ‘jogger’, although I have had a number of “career” breaks, I started running seriously again about 5 years ago which enabled me to slowly learn to love British weather, extra food and the views of the countryside (OK – so one of those was a lie!!) I have run a number of 10K, half-marathons, marathons (including London on an MS-UK charity entry) and Ironman 70.3s. I find the half-marathon distance is my preferred since they tend to be just long enough to enjoy a pub lunch afterwards. However, my racing ambitions seem mostly based on a principle (much like cake) of biting off more than I can chew.

With running – fun and enjoyment has always been my priority, I always felt that there was no such thing as a bad race just good stories. I loved the social nature of the running community and on some occasions even managed to perfect the skill of smiling for race photographers.

I like to follow a training plan which I think suits my lifestyle, however, my nearest and dearest will tell you that it actually takes over my entire life and I’ve continued through injuries on many occasions. Although, I guess I should be grateful for: being introduced to the joys of energy gels, an endurance runners best friend (once the stomach is trained!) that we are given 10 toe-nails for a reason… so that we can afford to lose a few and to appreciate that I now spend more money on a pair of trainers than a pair of high heels.

So why did I choose to run for MS-UK? Someone very close to me was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) which as you would imagine came as a huge shock to both them and our family, and although I’ve known of other people affected by the condition I now understand, in part, how this can impact someone’s life and those around them first hand and considering there is currently no cure my decision to run for MS-UK since 2013 was a “no-brainer” to ensure I could do my bit to raise as many funds as possible. I hope that my fundraising efforts not only raise money to provide dedicated support and information to anyone affected by MS but to also increase awareness of this life-changing condition.

Throughout my running experiences I have been truly overwhelmed by human kindness and generosity from friends, family, work colleagues, schools, gym clubs and strangers!! Which brings me to a great tip – when going out on your long runs wear your charity vest – on one occasion I saw a lady in her garden and asked if she would mind refilling my water bottle, when returning with my refill she gave me a donation of £5 and insisted that every time she saw me run past from thereon in another £5 donation would follow.

In closing – “eventually” I hear you cry! You need a good reason to get out of a warm bed and pound the streets for hours and I found that without doubt, a powerful motivating factor is the knowledge that I’m doing it for such a great cause and on race day it is with great pride I race as an ambassador for all those affected by MS.

My training tips…

  • Don’t skimp – buy good trainers and always have 2 pairs
  • Eat for tomorrow
  • If you don’t feel like training – aim to do 10 minutes and come home (I guarantee you’ll stay out for longer)
  • Choose a training plan to suit you but be prepared to be flexible (there are 100s on the internet)
  • Set yourself a bronze, silver and gold goal for race day (this way you’ll never be disappointed if things don’t go to plan)

My fundraising tips…

  • Set up an online giving page (it’s an absolute must!) and repost regularly
  • Start early
  • Don’t be afraid to be cheeky and ask, ask and ask again
  • Wear you charity vest at every opportunity
  • Tell people your golden goal – a lot will offer to double their pledge should you achieve it!