It's a beautiful day in the capital, and our amazing #TeamPurple runners are getting ready to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK.
They will be joining so many other dedicated charity supporters this morning, and at last count the event had raised collectively over £20,000,000 for charities!
So, why have our runners decided to get involved? Vic, from Essex, remembers watching her Dad run when she was a child. Now she's running in his footsteps, as he no longer can. Sue and Ellie-Rose are a mother and daughter team taking on the mighty 26.2 miles together. The Boland family are all in it together and have flown over from the USA to run today. So many reasons, but each one has been touched in some way by multiple sclerosis (MS).
All week we have been at the Expo event, meeting our runners and wishing them lots of luck.
Have a look at the messages of support, positivity and determination that they wrote on the MS-UK #TeamPurple runners wall in our Facebook album today!
For everyone running on 22 April 2018, whoever you're running for, good luck.
You can follow MS-UK on Twitter to see marathon day live updates!
Today marks the beginning of Expo, four days of fun-filled excitment at ExCeL in London where runners taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon will be registering this week!
Every year over 100 runners run 26.2 miles in aid of MS-UK, raising thousands of pounds for us. Over 100,000 people in the UK live with multiple sclerosis, and we want to be able to provide our vital services to everyone who needs them, so every single penny they raise goes towards helping MS-UK continue our work.
The MS-UK fundraising team is ready to welcome #TeamPurple to Expo this week, so if you're coming along please say hi to us on stand 583!
Wednesday 18 April 11:00-20:00
Thursday 19 April 10:00-20:00
Friday 20 April 10:00-20:00
Saturday 21 April 09:00-17:00
We'll be live tweeting all week from Expo (and of course on marathon day itself this Sunday) so follow us on Twitter to stay updated!
Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager
When I was eight years old I remember joining thousands of other people lining the streets of London, waving and cheering as streams of people ran past. At the time I didn't really understand the enormity of what those people were doing, running mile after mile, some fast, some slow, some walking but all in the aim of completing 26.2 miles. Amongst those people was my Dad.
Fast forward a few years and my Dad had to take every ounce of energy he had and a hell of a lot of drugs to pull himself out of his wheelchair and slowly holding tight on to me, walk a few steps down the aisle of a church on my wedding day. He had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) the year before and had his world turned upside down. From being fit and healthy, in the Police to being forced to take early retirement and a complete change of life.
For years after I watched my Dad, I would watch the marathon on TV every year saying to myself 'one day', and since taking up running the itch has needed scratching so I decided the year I turned 40 to make my bucket list dream happen to take part in the most amazing marathon in the world.
As soon as I heard I'd been accepted to run for MS-UK I set the wheels in motion for my fundraising, looking at where I could start generating easy money with little effort whilst I planned a big fundraiser. Sponsorship started coming in as soon as I announced my challenge and as a Slimming World Consultant I have had amazing support from my members for my fundraising. I have a change pot in group and my members along with other groups in Chelmsford, Essex agreed for the next few months to have these for MS-UK. Everyone's odd 5ps, 10ps are really adding up to over £50 a month donated this way. Again members supported through donating their slimmed out of clothes which were swapped for cash and a Christmas raffle in my groups raised £284.
Michelle who runs Chelmer RoadRunners, a local running group which is where I first learned to run completing a couch to 5km course, sings in a local band and I approached her to sing at a charity night I was planning. Seen as she got me into the mess in the first place it seemed fitting to have her at the event! A local pub was the venue (free hire to maximise funds raised!) and with the fabulous entertainment, a raffle to be held. After hundreds of letters, emails and approaching local companies I managed to secure some great donated prizes and started selling raffle tickets to people who couldn't make the night, again to ensure I raised as much as possible. Promotion of the event went out on social media, posters up locally and great support from local papers - three have now printed my story to help further support!
The charity night went well, everyone had a fantastic time and most importantly a brilliant £1,186.06 was raised to bring my total fundraising over my initial aim of £2,500 - but I'm not stopping there - a sweepstake planned, further change pots and sponsorship will hopefully bring the total to £3,000, or more! Every penny will help MS-UK give amazing support to people like my Dad.
So now, the countdown is on till the big day itself where I shall be so proud to be running the same streets that my Dad did in 1986 (but not accepting his challenge of beating his time of 3 hours 35 minutes!)
My name is Rosie and I am in my second year of university, I am studying Politics at Leeds. I grew up in a very active family where Mum and Dad encouraged us to play team sports at school, took us on regular skiing holidays and liked us to push ourselves. Although not as athletically blessed as my brothers, I still took part and enjoyed every moment.
Upon arriving at university, hours spent doing physical activity dramatically dropped and by the end of my first year I knew I needed a challenge to get me going again. The Virgin Money London Marathon had always been on my agenda having watched my Mum train and run both London and New York for MS as a child and then more recently witnessed my older brother complete it. My Mum ran for multiple sclerosis for her brother who has lived with the disease for almost two decades…hence why MS-UK seemed an obvious choice for me! So one day as procrastination from some university work, I entered the ballot and applied to a couple of charities that were close to my heart, not really thinking anything would come of it. A couple of weeks later I received a call from Jenny who offered me a place for MS-UK, and I accepted it…and that is how I am here lining up to run the London Marathon!
Upon returning to university, I started my training plan…let me tell you nothing sorts out a hangover like a 5mile run in the cold! All was going well until the end of October when I started to get this searing pain in my foot every time I put it down, having ignored it for a while my friends dragged me to A&E and I heard every runners worse nightmare…you have a stress fracture. So I dutifully spent the next 7 weeks in a moonboot, doing very little and followed the doctor’s advice to the T as I returned to running. I am now well back on track, although I have to take it a little steadier than I would like, I have completed a half marathon in 2 and a half hours. I have three more long runs till the big day and the excitement is building with each week!
Finally, fundraising is going well! I have had some very generous donations from friends and family. My first sponsorship push was to write to all my Mum and Dad's suppliers and ask for donations, and golly were they charitable! Its been a busy couple of months juggling training, fundraising, university, eventing, working and maintaining some sort of social life but I wouldn’t have life any other way!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and hopefully see you the other side of the finish line!
Back in October last year I decided to apply for the running of the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of raising money for MS-UK. It was less than a week later that I was delighted to receive the phone call that my application had been accepted.
My Mum, who has had the condition for a number of years is the reason why I am running for MS-UK.
Everybody who knows my Mum will agree, she is a completely selfless individual, always putting other people ahead of herself and has an admirable ‘just get on with it’ attitude towards her condition. By running the London Marathon for MS-UK, hopefully I am giving something back, however small it may be.
At the point of my Mum’s diagnosis, I wasn’t aware of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis nor had I heard of the condition at all, which, along with raising as much money as possible for MS-UK, is one of the main reasons I am sharing the fundraising as far and wide as possible – to raise awareness and understanding of the condition, which I know is an objective I share with the fantastic work that MS-UK undertake.
Having already raised in excess of £2,000 with over 7 weeks to go until the big day (at the time of writing this), the fundraising so far has been fantastic and has far exceeded the expectations I had. People’s kindness and generosity so far has been a huge source of motivation for those dark, freezing cold training runs which I have no doubt all the other runners for MS-UK are also enduring at the moment.
Due to the recent weather conditions and a couple of injuries, I can’t say training has been straight forward but nonetheless, remains on-track and now approaches its latter stages with a few more long runs to go, before gradually tapering the distance down as race day approaches.
A massive thank you to everyone who has donated so far, it’s hugely appreciated by my Mum, MS-UK, my family and myself. I am hoping to keep the momentum going by reaching £2,500+ by race day so please read my story and donate if you possibly can by visiting my fundraising page.
Good luck to all the other MS-UK runners with the remainder of your training and fundraising.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Because we can. That’s why we run…for those that can’t. Multiple sclerosis (MS) has had a great impact on both our families. Fran’s cousin has suffered very badly for over 30 years but was only diagnosed 8 years ago, and is now effectively immobile. It’s heartbreaking to see her this way. My mum was diagnosed in 2016. We are still coming to terms with her reducing mobility; as each month passes that little bit more is taken away from her. My parents sold their lovely home last summer, which they so dearly loved, and have moved into a new home much more suitable to her needs, and without stairs! My cousin, at 38, was also diagnosed at the same time. So we took the decision to do something special and to raise funds towards helping out those close to our hearts, and many others, inflicted by this horrible disease.
We always say we’d do one. And kept saying it for years and years. Now, well past our prime and in our naughty forties, the marathon word finally became reality. No more excuses; it was time to make some serious cash for an MS charity. Fran had already secretly entered both of us into the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 ballot, and the first I knew about it was when ‘a lucky you’ package came through the post congratulating me on my place. First time of asking as well! So with my place confirmed, MS-UK kindly gave a Gold Bond place to Fran with the plan being to run together and raise money to help those with MS. We did all sorts to raise funds including charity bucket collections, bake-offs, sweep stakes and organising quiz nights. We had fantastic support from family and friends via donations to our charity page, and as we requested, many gave a donation in lieu of our birthday and Christmas presents. Our son even asked for the same - top lad!
Training was ‘interesting’ and certainly much more time consuming and hard going than we ever predicted. The MS-UK Marathon Facebook page was so useful for tips and encouragement. It was inspiring to see how others were tackling the same challenges, supporting and encouraging each other daily. It was also, oddly enough, quite comforting to see that others found it hard going too…we weren’t alone!
The Big Day
For those of you that have already run it, you will already know the crowds are just amazing; the shouts of constant support really hits you. Literally every mile is packed with people spurring you on. You certainly won’t need those motivating iPod beats that accompanied you on your training routes, and besides, you won’t be able to hear it! The buzz and the relief you get from crossing that line makes all that hard work worth it. The time doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. Who cares? The achievement; that’s what counts! Ride that wave, and you may even find you go faster than you planned. Fran managed a brilliant ‘Good for Age Time’, which meant…
…automatic entry next year! Wouldn’t waste that now. So despite saying we’d only run one, we are now doing it together all over again in 2018, and again for this wonderful charity. However, one massive difference stands out this time round: the weather. We had it great training up to and on the day for the London marathon in 2017; this time round it has been so pants!!! But that’ll make this years that little bit more special.
Another? Best ask us after we cross that line. Personally, I fancy a sponsored pub crawl!
You can find out more and sponsor this amazing couple on their fundraising page. Good luck guys!
As my first long distance running event (or running event in general in fact)…I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and run the London Marathon 2018! Fully aware that this is going to be a great personal achievement, I figured to make it even more worthwhile, I would raise money for charity at the same time, so people are not only supporting me with my running but supporting a great cause!
I have chosen MS-UK as the charity which I am raising money for, for the support which they provide to those suffering with multiple sclerosis. My mum, who is also my best friend, suffers from MS and even though she never complains and shows unbelievable strength and fights her illness; I know how it can affect individuals, and it means a lot to my mum that I am doing this with her in my heart and mind, along with others in her position, as my main motivation.
In order to raise the £2,000 I am receiving great support from my friends, family and work colleagues via my ‘JustGiving’ page. I am putting on some fundraising events such as pub quiz in local village pubs, raffles with prizes which have been generously donated including tickets to Ipswich Town Football Club home match and Woburn Safari Park! I am also putting on a fashion show at a nearby M&Co. store (Diss, Norfolk)!
Although I have regularly attended the gym for a long time, I am new to long distance running outside until about November 2017. I have been following a 16 week marathon training programme ‘Beginner to Winner’ and I am very much on track with it all; I have also been attending Spin, Yoga and Pilates classes to help with my training. I am completing Colchester Half Marathon in March which fits in perfectly with my training schedule and again is all in aid of MS-UK!
Now the count down to the big day, and I have ascertained that it will be here in no time at all!
Jasmine Mulley, 24, Suffolk
Hello, The Colchester Half Marathon will be taking place on Sunday 25 March and MS-UK has been chosen as one of the charities to benefit from the funds raised from the event! We are really excited to be part of the big day, and I would like to invite you to join us! You could volunteer to be a marshal, help us cheer our hearts out at our water station or come along to Weston Homes Community Stadium to greet runners with a smile and good luck before the race begins. It is a truly brilliant day, and cheering on #TeamPurple is really rewarding.
Ben, who volunteered with MS-UK at last year's Colchester Half Marathon, says... ‘I have been volunteering at events with MS-UK for a while, but Colchester Half Marathon is right on my doorstep so last year I joined the MS-UK team who set up at the water station at mile 11. The atmosphere was buzzing! The runners really need a final boost near the end of the race, and I felt really proud to be part of the MS-UK cheer squad who gave them that – many runners also gave us a round of applause, which was brilliant!’
So if you, your friends and family want be part of a day to remember please get in touch! You can email Catherine or call us on 01206 226500. Here's to another fantastic event on our doorstep! Jill Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager
Fiona Sakal, who has been a Trustee of MS-UK for over decade, recently joined us in the office for a week to see what we do to support people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) on a daily basis. We couldn't resist asking for an interview, and we started off with a 'two truths and a lie' question...
Two truths and a lie…
I was born and raised in Germany
I qualified for the Olympic Equestrian team
I was Cabin Crew, based at London Heathrow
Read on to find out all about Fiona…
I joined the board of MS-UK in 2007, when we were still MSRC and working from Peartree Industrial Estate with three car parking spaces, one toilet and not enough windows. My brother-in-law had MS for 24 years and although I was not fortunate enough to meet him, the impact his condition had on the rest of the family remains, so I was delighted to be asked to join the Board of Trustees.
Obviously, I was full of enthusiasm and committed to running the Virgin Money London Marathon the following spring! I definitely did not take into account the enormity of the training schedule that had to fit in alongside my final law exams, a full house renovation and a wedding. Ten years later and
I am almost ready to commit again, but not quite!
When Peter and I married in 2008 we decided that we would like to raise money for the charity rather than receive gifts. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of family, friends and clients and with the help of Roger Dakin and a game of heads and tails at our wedding reception, we raised £12,000.
Fast forward 11 years and two little girls, I am still as passionate about MS-UK as ever and love to get involved wherever possible. Under the leadership of Amy, the charity has grown to such an extent that I was beginning to need a flow chart to understand how everything fit together and wasn’t confidant that I was able to contribute effectively as a trustee. So here I am!
I have really enjoyed my ‘work experience’ and have found it invaluable to get to know everybody and experience first-hand what each role entails, both in the office and at Josephs Court. The atmosphere is very warm and welcoming and it is clear that everyone has a real passion for what they do. I am incredibly proud to represent MS-UK and excited to see what we can achieve in the future.
So, what was the lie?
I qualified for the Olympic Equestrian team!
Wes Javis tells of his fundraising efforts to boost his Virgin Money London Marathon total for MS-UK and offers some tips on getting those all important funds...
Less than sixteen weeks to go! That was the somewhat terrifying realisation that came to me after the indulgences of Christmas. In less than four months, along with so many people with such inspiring stories to tell, I’ll be lining up to run the Virgin Money London Marathon – something that I’ve always wanted to do, and to have the opportunity to run for MS-UK is just fantastic! I’ll be running in memory of my Nan – she lived with MS for around 20 years and was bed-bound for the last 10 years of her life. Despite her cruel reality, Nan was always upbeat, always saw the bright side, and always wore a beaming smile. It is a smile that I’ll never forget and she is the reason I am motivated to take on this challenge.
When I first realised that I’d be running the marathon I pulled together a quick fundraising schedule. I belong to quite a small, close-knit friendship group and three of us are running in London for different causes. Rather than competing in our fundraising we decided that it was in everybody’s best interests to collaborate in our events to maximise our fundraising potential. To date we’ve organised three large events, all of which proved to be fantastic successes and surpassed our expectations!
On 12 August, we kicked things off with a golf day as we knew that after August there would be even fewer guarantees with the Great British weather! We contacted a few local courses and found one close-by which offered great rates for good causes. We negotiated a great price for breakfast and lunch with two rounds of golf – they even threw in a pint of beer per head! The turnout was fantastic and we maximised our income by running a small raffle, and a few competitions including ‘longest drive’ and ‘nearest the pin’. After splitting the proceeds three ways we made a great early contribution towards each of our targets.
Then came our afternoon tea event on 23 September. I’ll be honest and say that we initially came up with this one after scratching our heads about what the ‘mums would like’! The reality was quite different and we needed a bigger room than anticipated after a great response from colleagues, family, friends and even friends of friends. Again, we located a venue that offered us a private room for free and a reduced cost per head. Another small raffle helped us on our way – pestering local businesses for prizes has really paid off and each raffle has raised nearly as much as the events in their own right – a great way to raise extra pennies and to have a little fun doing it!
Our Curry Night on 10 November was our most recent event, and the biggest yet by far! We found a local restaurant. We set it up as a public event on Facebook and once again the response was incredible, on several occasions we increased our booking until we reserved an entire floor! Somewhere in the region of 200 people joined us for what was a great fundraiser. We’d taken deposits, so even the handful of people who didn’t make it on the night contributed to our total. Our third raffle included an iPad, donated by one of our employers, which generated huge interest and took our combined profit on the night to £1,600.
We may look to run a further event in the next few months, but equally we may avoid doing so to give our poor friends and family a well-earned rest!
If I can take any key messages away from the fundraising experience so far, or pass on advice to any of the other MS-UK fundraisers, they’d be: