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Fundraiser of the Month: Sarah Harrison

Posted on: October 16 2017

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!

MS-UK are charity partners for the Colchester Half Marathon!

Posted on: July 24 2017

dsc_0061.jpgHi everyone,

I am delighted to announce that MS-UK are charity partners for the Colchester Half Marathon in 2018 and 2019….delighted?,  not half!

When we received the wonderful news from the Colchester Half Marathon race organisers that MS-UK had been selected as charity partners for 2018 and 2019 a loud cheer resonated around the office. Next year’s race has been set for Sunday March 25 2018 so grab your diary, pencil it in and get involved!

MS-UK has supported this event for many years by manning the water station at mile 11 so lots of our staff and volunteers have enjoyed being a part of this event for many years. To be charity partners for the next two years is amazing news. It’s such a well-established local event which thousands of people enjoy taking part in whilst supporting local charities. The partnership holds many opportunities for MS-UK. Firstly it enables us to increase the awareness of our charity and the services we provide to support people living with multiple sclerosis.

Although we are a national charity we have Josephs Court which is our wellness centre supporting local people living with MS.


dsc_0114.jpgMost of our clients visit Josephs Court on a weekly basis and receive one to one support from our professional Wellness Coaches who focus on the individual’s exercise needs and goals. We see around 180 clients a month and as well as the physical benefits they achieve through their specific exercise programme our clients gain a huge amount socially from coming to Josephs Court. We hope that the awareness we can raise through the Colchester Half Marathon will encourage local businesses and the community to find out more about our work and become involved.

Secondly we will benefit from the much needed donations from the event. MS-UK does not receive government or pharmaceutical funding to run its vital services. We rely on the generous support of our fundraisers and by taking part in events such as the Virgin Money London Marathon and Prudential RideLondon.


img_0326.jpgThis will be a brilliant addition to our income for the next two years which will enable us to reach more people affected by MS. In 2018 we will be working alongside Essex & Herts Air Ambulance who were charity partners for the Colchester Half Marathon last year. We are looking forward to working with their team and supporting the race organisers with volunteer recruitment and developing our relationship with another brilliant local charity.

MS-UK are hoping for a large team of runners for this event so if you would like to run and raise additional funds for us we’d be delighted to have you on the team! We will of course support you all the way to achieving your running and fundraising goals.

Registrations are now open on the Colchester Half Marathon website!


dsc_0082.jpgIf running is not for you but you would like to be involved please contact me to find out more about the volunteering roles available. We need approximately 200 volunteers to make the event a success and keep up to 4,000 runners that will enter the race safe.

For more information on running as part of team MS-UK or volunteering at the event please email me today.

A big thank you to Colchester Half Marathon for choosing MS-UK as their charity partner, and here’s to an amazing race!

Best wishes,


Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager

Subscribe to our fundraising e-news!

Posted on: May 12 2017

nick_sm.jpgHi everyone, Next week we will be sending out our fundraising e-newsletter, and we wanted to let you know you can subscribe today just by visiting our website. Packed full of events news, top tips and fundraising ideas and inspiration, we send out this e-newsletter once a month. Subscribe today and stay up to date with all of our team news! Best wishes, Nick Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant

Hi everyone,

Next week we will be sending out our fundraising e-newsletter, and we wanted to let you know you can subscribe today just by visiting our website.

Packed full of events news, top tips and fundraising ideas and inspiration, we send out this e-newsletter once a month.

Subscribe today and stay up to date with all of our team news!

Best wishes,


Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant

The Royal Parks Half Marathon – Why I’m excited!

Posted on: March 22 2017



We’ve got a new event this year in the form of a half marathon around London’s Royal Parks! Can you guess what it’s called?

Yep, the Royal Parks Half Marathon!

I wanted to write a blog as to why I think this is going to be an amazing event, I’m really excited about it!

The event is now 10 years old, so it will be a celebration of all things running. This means they’ll pull out all of the stops and make participants feel extra special when they run, which is what we always love to hear. After all, people are running a half marathon for us – no small achievement! There’s even a food and fitness festival at the start/finish!

The Royal Parks Half Marathon may have one of the more beautiful settings for a half marathon as well…it’s in the autumn (08 October), just as the leaves are falling and it’s around the leafy parks of London, ones which are world renowned for their pristine walks (or runs)! From the lake of Hyde Park and the Pelicans of St James’s Park to the spectacular sight of Nelson’s Column, the scenery and wildlife is a major advantage of this run!

Finally, you will be in good company…around 16,000 runners take part each year! This means there’s a really good social aspect with the race. There’s a chance to meet a whole new group of people who share your passions, whether that’s running, fundraising, or shining a light on good causes in general.

So that’s why I think the Royal Parks Half Marathon is one to get excited about this year. It’s certainly made me excited!

So if this sounds like the event for you, please do get in touch with me and I can send you more information on the event!

Get in touch by email on, on 01206 226500, or fill out this form and I will get back to you!

Thanks for reading!

Fundraising Assistant

Fundraiser of the Month: Jason Tilley!

Posted on: March 16 2017

This month we will be honouring Jason Tilley as our fundraiser of the month!

dsc_0100.jpgJason got in contact with us because he had decided to run the Colchester Half Marathon, both our and his local half marathon on the 13 March!

Being relatively new to running was not a problem. Jason had been toying with the idea of running the Colchester Half Marathon and entered, using the opportunity to raise money for MS-UK a worthy local charity. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to fundraise for an MS charity due to the fact that one of Jason’s close friends was diagnosed with the condition recently and this was a great way to show support.

Jason started his training for the half with 17 miles in the first week and had covered over 150 in training before the start of the event and has even continued to run a little bit more in the week following. Finally running the event in slightly under 2 hours!

After receiving one of our fundraising welcome packs Jason was off with his fundraising like a shot out of a starting pistol! Setting up a JustGiving page right off the bat which saw updates on his running progress throughout his training. Jason also set himself a challenge of receiving £50 per mile of the half marathon in fundraising, but smashed through this target within a month of the Half Marathon and set a new target of £100 per mile! Very close to achieving the target, he is only around £100 off!

Take a look at his JustGiving page online today!

Jason had loads of help from friends, family, work colleagues, suppliers and clients with Facebook and LinkedIn posts being a huge help towards his target. His company also helped out in sending out a press release on their website to tell of his fundraising efforts!

We are extremely grateful for all the effort Jason has put in to fundraising for MS-UK and for training and running the Colchester Half Marathon! We’ve loved hearing about Jason and his fundraising efforts and think the title of Fundraiser of the Month is very well deserved!


Colchester Half Marathon - thank you!

Posted on: March 13 2017

dsc_0031.jpgHi everyone,

Well, yesterday we had an amazing day supporting the Colchester Half Marathon – and what a day!

A massive thank you to every single person who ran for MS-UK!

You can now view our Facebook photo album online

dsc_0077.jpgThank you to everyone who ran, volunteered, organised and promoted the day. It was great fun to be a part of it and cheer on all the amazing runners at the mile 10-11 water station, but we couldn’t do it without our dedicated volunteers.

If you’d like to take part on behalf of MS-UK next year,  or volunteer with us, just email Jenny today or call us on 01206 226500.

Thanks again!

Love from the fundraising team


A big thank you!

Posted on: January 30 2017

a-big-thank-youfrom-all-of-us-at-ms-uk.pngHi all.

We’re here to support anyone affected by multiple sclerosis.

But our vital work would not be possible without you!

Here’s a little video to say thank you. (Check out the outtakes at the end!)

If you would like to  get involved in 2017 just email us or visit our website to find out more.

Thank you again, and here’s to the next 12 months!

Love from,

the MS-UK team

Fundraiser of the month – Martin Smith!

Posted on: October 17 2016

fotm.jpgHi, my name is Martin Smith and at 57 I have just run (trundled) my first half-marathon – the Barns Green Half Marathon – in aid of MS-UK.

My beautiful sister-in-law, Helen, died recently as a result of MS. It was hard for the whole family to deal with but she was an inspiration to me and a wonderful person to be around. It was because of her that I chose to fundraise for MS-UK.

The challenge for me to run the race was laid down over a (very long) MS fundraising lunch last December – it seemed like a simple idea that afternoon; but it certainly didn’t when I had to get up the next morning to start training! The fact that there were some committed sponsors at the outset was a big incentive to get going and to keep going.

There were many mornings when it seemed like the ‘sensible thing’ was to stay in bed; but in the end the fundraising goal was always my motivation. Despite a 4-week setback with a torn muscle (please DO NOT try to run through the pain – especially if you are my age) I felt pretty ready on the day.

On the day I knew I had raised £700; but I also knew that this would rise to just over £800 if I managed to break 2 hours – the extra amount would be credited as ‘performance related pay’ by some of my (ex) friends.

By and large the run went well, at least to about 10 miles when I began struggling. At about that point I ran past a road sign which mockingly announced ‘Speed Warning!’ It took me a while to decide what the sign should have read (some pretty unprintable ideas came to mind), but I eventually decided it should have been called a ‘Lack of Speed Warning!!’ Nevertheless, when I next looked up I saw the 11-mile mark – it’s amazing how far a distraction can carry you!

I managed to get over the line in 1.59.18; which given my 2-hour target shows either a wonderful economy of effort or total fluke (yes, I know what you are thinking, and I tend to agree!)

At the beginning I was reticent to ask friends and colleagues to sponsor me, but I was very pleasantly surprised at their reaction. They were supportive throughout and they were genuinely pleased when I completed the run. My advice is not to be afraid to ask – everyone will see the good in what you are doing and most will wish they were doing it themselves.

My favourite message of support was ‘Good luck and ENJOY the day!’

Bear that in mind, whatever your challenge is.

Colchester recce

Posted on: February 24 2016

20160224_104022.jpgThe fundraising team went out this week to recce the route for the Colchester Half Marathon. This is our first event of the year, and my first event ever with MS-UK, so I was excited to see what the route would be and where I could expect to be cheering on the runners.

I’ve only been here for two weeks but it has been fascinating seeing the different and innovative ways our fundraisers think of to support us. From running and cycling challenges to bingo nights, netball tournaments and office collections, it’s amazing to see how our supporters can find a way to fundraise that works for them.

At other charities I’ve worked with fundraising has often felt quite distant from the fundraisers, and what I’ve noticed about MS-UK is that we get to know fundraisers as individuals, supporting all your efforts and getting to know who you are in the process. It’s something I love about working here, and hopefully something you appreciate when fundraising for us!

For this reason I can’t wait for the Colchester Half Marathon and the opportunity to meet, and support, some of our fundraisers in the flesh.

If you’d like to join us to cheer on our runners on the day, and meet some of the team in the process, then contact me at and I’ll let you know the details. It will be great to have as many supporters as possible to make the MS-UK presence known on our home turf!


Run for MS-UK at the Colchester Half Marathon!

Posted on: October 14 2015

MS-UK Colchester Half Marathon runner

Registration is now open for the Colchester Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 13 March 2016.

The Colchester Half Marathon is such a popular event, it sells out months before the race takes place so save the date and get in touch with me now before it’s too late!

As part of the MS-UK team, you’ll get your very own welcome pack, MS-UK tech t-shirt or vest and a post-race reception at our very own premises in Colchester, Essex. You’ll be treated to a sports massage after the race and plenty of food and drink, plus if you need any tips or support to fundraise I am here every step of the way!

Give me a call today on 01206 226500 or email me at to find out more.

Can’t wait to see you there! Whoop!


Community and Events Fundraiser, MS-UK

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