Where to start? When I first saw the words “Run Up To Christmas”, I thought “nice idea” and pretty much signed up on the spot. The concept was pretty straight forward: run as many kilometres as you can over the course of 25 days (1st December to 25th December).
The race was a “virtual” one, with no “winners” as such, which was all the more appealing for me. It was also raising money for Mind, a brilliant charity and totally worth donating to.
I aimed to complete the smallest target (50km) to get a medal, with the view that I’d probably go over that and aim for the next target (100km).
The Extra Challenge
I felt pretty relaxed about the whole thing until my colleague challenged me to run at least 75km in return for a £75 donation to my marathon fundraising. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I quickly got started and racked up kilometres at the gym.
It was only in the second week of December when things started going pear-shaped – it snowed so much that my half marathon got cancelled, taking a huge chunk out of my planned mileage. I attempted to run anyway but it really was that bad!
The next week I was on a work trip in Hamburg and packed my kit for a couple of exploratory morning runs. Typically, I found myself with a stinking cold and only managed a kilometre in the whole three days I was there.
Once I was finally better, I had a fair amount to make up. While there was no major negative consequence to not hitting the amount I wanted to (50km wasn’t an issue so I’d be getting my medal, and the money wouldn’t have been worth my health!), I really wanted to rise up to the challenge at keep at it. 100km quickly became unachievable for me, but I pushed on and hit the 75km two days before Christmas with a 7.5 mile run.
After the Challenge…
I took one or (three) rest days after that! But I was elated that I had managed to finish it off and that my colleagues would be making those donations.
The hiccups to my progression were probably an accurate reflection to the fact that life gets in the way of training/running sometimes. It’s essentially unavoidable but at the end of it all, I still managed to complete the challenge that I’d set out to do. This is worthy encouragement for me – while I hope not to miss any training runs over the next few months (especially the long distance ones), these things happen. I’m a testament to the fact that running isn’t always the smartest move – I went for a 10k when I thought I was better and ended up being ill for even longer.
I also think Run Up To Christmas is just an amazing concept. It brought me together with other runners, made me feel like part of a community that I sometimes feel excluded from because I’m not a “fast” runner. It encouraged people to get out there and exercise (and certainly made me nip out more than I would have) and it promoted better mental health at the same time. I don’t think I had a real misery day once in December – and I know who needs thanking for that!
Thanks to Kev and Clare
I was hoping that my medal would have arrived by the time of this post, but unfortunately it’s still making its way to me, so I’ll include a picture when it does arrive! In the meantime – please join me in saying a huge thank you to the brains behind Run Up To Christmas, and sign up to take part this year! It’s definitely going to be fun.