Posts Tagged ‘Charity’

More news:

£2000 target reached.

Today my employer put my London Marathon sponsorship total over the £2000 mark (£100 over it actually) and I reached my allocated sponsorship for the MS Society. With 9 days left to go until my first marathon this gives me the opportunity to relax a little and to focus my efforts on getting ready for the big day.

Target reached

I’m well and truly tapering off for the big day and, if I’m honest, I feel a little lazy. This week I’ve only done two runs so far and will being running 25 minutes on Saturday with an easy 10k on Sunday. I feel like I’m slacking as every part of me wants to be getting as much training in as possible before the 26th. I constantly worry that I’m going to undo all my hard work by not exercising enough but getting enough rest before the marathon is crucial.

So, to keep my mind off running, I’ll fill you in on a little more news…


The number of miles I’ve clocked up since I started training. This has been calculated from the 3560 minutes I know I’ve run and estimating an average speed of 10-minute miles. Some people seem to think this is quite low but, considering I’m counting from the beginning of January, it equates to an average of more than 23 miles a week. Basically, bugger off, I’ve done loads.


The number of pennies I’ve raised so far (using Justgiving) for the MS Society. This morning, BBC Breakfast and a Daily Mail columnist (who blatantly took a negative stance just to get her grumpy face on television) made poor old Anne-Marie Huby (MD of Justgiving) justify Justgiving to the public after claims that fundraising websites are a form of emotional blackmail. Considering JG has helped raise over £400,000,000 since the year 2000 and without it’s help I wouldn’t have even come close to raising £2k, I won’t exactly be losing any sleep at night.


The number of hits this blog has had since it’s debut in January. The busiest day was 23rd March after the I won the Justgiving competition and this blog featured in the JG newsletter.


The number of pounds (lbs) I’ve lost in weight. This is after initially gaining 7 lbs so I’ve managed to shed a stone since then. This was achieved by simply cutting out my daily early morning croissant. They’re fatty little blighters. I’m now as streamlined and aerodynamic as I’ll ever be.


The number of Twitter followers I now have. Most are all supreme athletes, fundraisers, bloggers and nutcases but they all have had at least one thing useful to say and it’s been a great way to stay in touch with this wonderful running community across the country.


My estimated marathon time having used the Runner’s World Race Time Predictor. I entered my half-marathon time to come to that conclusion. If I enter the best time I’ve done a 10k in it reckons I can do it under 4 hours. I’ll be watching out for the Runner’s World pace makers on the day.

The Justgiving Meet Up:

The Justgiving pre FLM meet upIf you write a blog for long enough you eventually come in to contact with people who share the same interests, are going through what you’re going through and have advice and tips of their own. Since starting this blog in January I’ve had a total of 34 comments posted after the articles I’ve written. Most of these are from people who are either running in the 2009 London Marathon or have completed a marathon before. A fair few of these have blogs of their own.

Last night Justgiving gave a few of us the chance to meet up before the big race day to share tips and advice on our marathon training and, more crucially, fundraising. It was at the RIBA in London, which is a 20 minute walk from the office so Sally and I went along.

On entry I was immediately recognised by three people. Sophie and Heather from Justgiving spotted me straight away as they were among those who chose the video as the winning entry for the Justgiving video competition. Sophie has been a big help so far during my fundraising, helping to get an extra £120 towards my sponsorship (£100 for the video win and £20 for the interview). The third was Dan Worth, a fellow blogger and a journalist who lives in the London area. He quickly became used to basking in my blogging fame as the paps spotted us…

@salleeann, @sirjogalot and @danworth

…I wasn’t recognised by anyone else.

We sat down to hear our four speakers.

  1. Monty Halls – conservationist, TV presenter and former Royal Marines officer.
    Monty’s a professional public speaker so obviously had the room engaged. It was a refreshing talk as, although he has an incredible base level of fitness, this is his first marathon and he’s new to the whole experience. Monty’s great advice is that your body has the potential to do a marathon but your mind is what can stop you. He says that if you decide to pull out then you’ll have the rest of your life to think about that decision (i.e. when you’re feeling better back home). He was more eloquent than that. When asked, what will he be eating the night before the race, his answer was, “My entry form…”
  2. Sally Kettle – twice Atlantic rower (once with her Mum) and her running partner Vanessa Gale.
    Sally has run the marathon before and managed to complete it with an injury. Her advice is to enjoy it as much as possible. You could spend the whole run wishing it was over but when it’s finished you’ll miss the experience. She also, during her very passionate speech, gave a quick fundraising tip. People will struggle to give away their money unless they’re getting something back in return. So selling something dirt cheap (her example was a chocalte eclair) for a high price (she charged £1-per-sweet) is a great way to get some extra funds for her charity. Sally raised over £100,000 for her first row across the Atlantic.
  3. Simon Foster – Justgiving’s top London fundraiser (a whacking £28,000 so far!).
    Simon has managed to raise so much for his charity (Teenage Cancer Trust) by having such a compelling story behind his fundraising. Read his Justgiving page to find out more but he had the room in complete silence while he was telling it and it was obviously a very tough story for him to tell. I checked his JG page today and I can spot at least 4 healthy donations from people that attended this event so it speaks for itself. As his fundraising grew, the more it took off. He organised a golf day and Ashley Cole donated his football boots, all fantastic ways to raise cash. He has, however, spent a fair few bob in reciprocal donations!

All in all a smashing event and the JG team were, of course, tweeting the whole thing as it went along. The night ended with a private screening of the award-winning Sir Jog A Lot video. I don’t want to float my own boat or anything but…'Howls' of laughter...

Fundraising for the London Marathon:

Even before the hotly contested 15,000 ballot places for the London Marathon have been allocated, the Golden Bond places have already been sold. These places are sold to the thousands of charities that recognise the marathon as the single biggest fundraising event of the British calendar (the London Marathon raises a whopping £45 million annually). Individual fundraising targets are competitive and are normally around the £1500 – £2000 mark.

This week I began fundraising for the MS Society with a target of £2000. I’d set up my Justgiving page last year in preparation (it took me that long to photoshop this picture for the page)…

...not bad for a Microsoft paint job...

I know what you’re thinking, nice bulge? Seriously though, that’s not me. But my head is that big. By the by, if you’re currently fundraising for the marathon and you haven’t heard of Justgiving then throw away your abacus and sponsorship sheet you old fart and get with it. Not only does it mean that you can grab sponsorship from all of your acquaintances from across the globe but you can claim the tax back as an additional bit of wedge for your charity. God bless the Inland Revenue.

Now, if you’re reading this blog or have written one yourself then you’re probably aware of how powerful social media is as a tool. I started a Facebook group containing links to my sponsorship page and invited every one of my friends to join. This has kick-started things quite nicely. Facebook is probably one of the strongest methods of drawing people to your sponsorship page but there are techniques you can use to maximise the effects of your Facebook campaign. See the Justgiving blog for some fantastic tips but here are a few to get you started:

  • Keep everything up to date
    A boring, old news group will lose its hit count quickly unless you keep it up to date. Keep your news wall up to speed with training targets you’ve met and sponsorship updates. Use your status updates enough to keep people in the loop but try not to do it too often as it might start to irritate your friends.
  • Use video
    I haven’t done this yet but I think it’s a great idea. If it’s funny it’ll generate more traffic for your sponsorship page. I might do one of me dressed up in my black hat and hoody running up some stairs and dub it with the Rocky theme tune. I’m so original.
  • Say thanks, publicly
    When someone sponsors you, take to the time to thank them on their Facebook wall (even if you’ve already thanked them personally). It’ll raise awareness to your page and remind others to do the same.

For those of you who aren’t Facebook friendly then there are some other tips you can try out. The idea is to be as creative as you can. You’re doing a wonderful thing by giving up three months of your life to raise money for a worthy cause so make sure people know it. The girl in this video spelt out the link to her Justgiving page by using a watch with GPS functionality and a website called GPS Visualiser. I wish I’d thought of that (cracking moment when she slips over at the end but well done Jenny). Another chap used eBay to promote his page.

Some people will send the details of their sponsorship to their local paper (Justgiving have a draft press release you can use). Now, I work at gorkana (who provide a  media database to the PR industry) and have the newsdesk email addresses of all papers across the country at my disposal (little plug there – the CEO can thank me later). Do you think my little page could make it in to the Daily Mail? I know enough about the PR industry to know that blanket-emailing the national papers doesn’t work unless your story is an exclusive or really captivating. Maybe if I offer to run it naked? You’ve all seen the picture above…

So far I’ve raised £367. That’s from having my sponsorship page in my email signature at work, emailing the link directly to EVERYONE at my company and having the Facebook group up and running for 3 days. There’s still a long way to go but I’m hopeful. They haven’t seen my Rocky video yet…

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