Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Major Packer Does It Again:

Cat and PhilI was lucky enough to briefly meet Major Phil Packer at the JustGiving Awards back in February. On the night Major Packer came away with the award for Most Successful Fundraiser. Why? Because in 2009 he walked the London Marathon over 14 days after being told that he was unlikely to ever walk again and in the process raised over £1.3 million for Help For Heroes.

Phil gave myself and some other marathon runners a really motivational speech before the event. I came away with a sincere admiration for this guy and I don’t think I’ve ever come across someone who has such a determination for charity.

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London Marathon Fights Back At Channel 4:

Image by shimelle via Flickr

Image by shimelle via Flickr

An advert for a show on Channel 4 caught my attention last week. The show, entitled Tracing the Marathon’s Millions, would follow journalist Ben Laurence as he looked into the costs involved in staging the London Marathon and the amount of money the race organisers actually pay out to charity.

Skip forward to the morning prior to the programme and the London Marathon issue a statement saying:

The London Marathon Limited and the London Marathon Charitable Trust Limited totally deny any allegations of wrongdoing and are surprised and shocked at the lack of evidence presented by the programme’s so-called investigative team to support this desperate attempt to undermine one of the world’s finest sporting events.

Translation; take Friday’s show with a pinch of salt.

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How to Get Into Your Local Newspaper:

It’s been quite a week for my London marathon fundraising. With the help of the Lymphoma Association press team and some savvy press release writing skills, we’ve managed to get my sponsorship efforts into two newspapers! Here’s how I managed it…

*Update: April 5th 2010
I updated this slideshow after I went home for the weekend and discovered another newspaper had included the story!

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Sport Relief in Bristol:

In support of Sport ReliefWith a month to go until the London Marathon, I was feeling decidedly guilty about having absolutely no warm-up races booked in. Last year I’d managed to scrape into the Eastbourne Half-Marathon, but a combination of forgetfulness and ‘waiting until pay day’ had meant that I’d missed my opportunity to enter most of the unofficial pre-marathon warm-up races (like the Adidas Silverstone Half). So when an old school friend organised a reunion in the form of a 1, 3 or 6-mile run for Sport Relief in Bristol, I launched in.

For those that aren’t aware, every two years the people at Comic Relief and BBC Sport team up to raise a massive amount for charity, as well as uniting the sporting community and providing an entertaining night of TV for the British public. This year’s main celebrity contribution has come from Eddie Izzard, who ran 43 marathons in 52 days in aid of this cause (painful ice-bath video here). The Sport Relief Mile allows individuals from all over the country to run a mile and get friends and family to sponsor them. Money raised will either go to some of the poorest countries in the World, or will stay at home to help underprivileged people in the UK.

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The JustGiving Awards:

JustGivingAs you all probably know, registration for the London Marathon 2010 filled in record time this year. 2 days and 16 hours after the website opened the ballot places were already filled, a full 15 days quicker than the previous year. I check twitter very regularly for those talking about the London Marathon and the number of people raising money for charity with JustGiving is phenomenal. With so many trying to raise money it can be easy to forget the reasons that these people are inspired to do what they do.

If there ever was a frank reminder of those, not just running the marathon, but who decide to perform magnificent feats in the name of charity, then the JustGiving awards was it.

Last year, JustGiving came under some scrutiny in the media. The spin was that people were claiming to be emotionally blackmailed into donating via online charity sites such as them. An unnamed Daily Mail columnist (no surprises there) would not be bullied into donating via the web when she could just as easily donate her cash and know that all of her money was going straight to her charity.

Standing ovation for Phil PackerBut when Major Phil Packer manages to raise over £1.3 million for Help for Heroes, or a campaign to stop X-Factor from claiming yet another Christmas #1 raises over £100,000 for Shelter in less than 2 months, you have to face facts. Since its inception in 1999, JustGiving has helped over 8,000 charities raise over £450 million. None of this would have been possible without the ease and speed at which users are able to donate online.

But, JustGiving admit themselves that they would be nothing without their fundraisers. So what better way to show their appreciation than by throwing their first ever awards ceremony in London to celebrate the amazing people that give up their lives for others.

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Sponsor this block!

Lymphoma AssosiationSo I’ve managed to claw my way back into the London Marathon for 2010. Thanks to the Lymphoma Association, I’ll be donning a fluorescent green running vest in April 2010 and running around London with 40,000 other nutters (some of you may have noticed a new purple twinge to the site).

If you were lucky enough to have been given a ballot place, then count yourself lucky indeed! You had less than a 1 in 5 shot. 100,000 entrants will have been turned down to run in 2010. I was one of them so thank your lucky stars you even have a shot.

If you managed to grab a charity place then count yourself even luckier. To grab one of the 12,500 guaranteed places you have a 1 in 8 shot!

Unless you’re a celebrity, the hardest part of the London Marathon is getting in!

Sponsor this block...Guaranteed (Golden Bond) places come at a cost. Sponsorship targets range from £1000 – £2500 and most charities will make you sign a form to say that you will have banked the money by a certain date. For the 2009 marathon my target was £2000, which I smashed by over £400. But in order to do that I had to win an amateur video competition, beg my company for a sizeable donation and rely on the huge generosity of my friends and family, who will no doubt be suffering from ‘donor fatigue’ this time around.

I’ll be covering off unique ways to raise money in this blog in the months to come. But before that I have to plug my own!

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REVIEW: JPMorgan Corporate Challenge

JPMorgan Corporate ChallengeIf you’re a gym-goer who lives in a major city across the globe (London, New York, Frankfurt, Sydney, Singapore or many others), you’ll have undoubtedly seen someone wearing a white t-shirt with ‘JPMorgan Corporate Challenge’ written on the front. If you’re really lucky you may have even spotted someone wearing one that fits them.

On the rare occasion that you actually spot a shirt that hugs the biceps and doesn’t flap around in the air conditioning from your local gym then go over, shake that person’s hand and ask them if they’d like a running partner. The likelihood is that this person has finished the JPMorgan CC in under 24 minutes.

Every year business moguls in their thousands turn up to one of their city’s finest parks to run the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, an event now over 30 years old and so popular that it boasts nearly a quarter of a million entrants each year across the globe. Part of its popularity is probably down to the length of the race; a manageable 3.5 miles. This gives even the hardest working city trader time to put down his or her Blackberry a couple of times a week to train.

If you’re lucky enough to get a place then the first question you’ll be asked is whether or not you think you can run 3.5 miles in under 21 minutes. If you think you can then you’ll be given a red sticker and, on arrival, you’ll be ushered to the front of the line to be given a relatively clear run to the finish. If you don’t then be prepared for an elbow-jousting scrap for one square-foot of asphalt at every other step.

The start...

The London event is hosted at the beautiful Battersea Park and is a utter schmooze-fest. If you’re a client of one of the corporate giants attending then you’ll be in for plastic glasses and private portaloos. If not, feel free to be intimidated by the size of another company’s hospitality tent and get in the queue for the sub-£5 million-a-year toilets.

It’s a very crowded race once you’ve managed to get over the start line so don’t be expecting to be beating any PBs. You’ll be lucky to get under a minute over your usual time (the London race actually ground to a halt during one bottle-necked corner). The atmosphere makes up for this though. Each year all companies compete in a t-shirt competition and this makes for an interesting read as you progress (this year’s London event was won by Tudor Capital). There’s also an award for the fastest ‘most senior executive’ and, as you can imagine, an incredible amount of money is raised for causes across the globe ($600,000 to charities and even more for not-for-profit organisations).

At the end you’ll get the fabled JPMCC t-shirt and if you’re quick enough, you’ll get one in your size! Wear it with pride.

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