Three weeks to go before I run the London marathon! I’ve run my 20 mile long runs and am into the taper to the big day. I’m also fundraising.
I’ve not sought sponsorship for any races since I ran my very first 10K back in 2006. But London is special. For me it is the marathon and it’s my home patch. I was lucky to get a ballot place so have no obligations but wanted to celebrate by raising some money for a good cause. I wanted to choose a relevant, small local charity, one without charity marathon places.
I chose Home Straight because it feels right to plod mile after mile around London to help others change their lives for the better through exercise, one mile at a time.
I’m writing about it now, not just to drum up donations (please feel free!) but also to help spread the word/raise awareness about Home Straight to the running community, who follow my blog or me on twitter, who will appreciate how the benefits we get from our passion for running can also help people who are homeless, marginalised or suffering from substance abuse improve their lives by getting them into running.
This testimonial sums up what Home Straight is and does. It makes me feel that every hard mile of my long training runs was worth it…
“I was first introduced to Homestraight running club around November 2011. I was then 43-years-old and had just got out of a treatment centre.
I had been drinking alcoholically and taking drugs regularly since being a teenager. During the final ten years of my using I was a full time heroin addict, who was unable to hold down a job or even form relationships with people. I’d come precariously close to being homeless, and was living temporarily in a spare room in the house of my sister’s family when I first attended Homestraight.
Despite the severity of my situation, I had still relapsed and continued taking drugs after leaving the treatment centre. However, I decided to throw myself into a fitness regime proposed to me by the club. After a gentle start I was training four times a week: a combination of running, circuit training, stretching and some strength work.
I cannot stress enough how much this helped me turn a corner in my recovery. I want to make it clear that attending AA and NA meetings, often two or three times a day, plus having a sponsor, was not sufficient to keep me clean. That didn’t work for me the way it does for some people.
What did work was having a dedicated fitness program. I trusted my trainers, goals were set for me, and my commitment to the club grew over time. Before too long I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Not only did it enable me to abstain from all drugs and alcohol, within a year I had given up smoking. I never planned or expected to give that up. But after a while I wanted to see how much my running would improve so I did.
I am completely clean today, have a home, girlfriend and a job. I still attend classes twice a week. My experience tells me that beating addiction requires everything you can throw at it. Having a fitness regime administered to you by fitness trainers who know what they’re doing is an essential factor in this mix. I cannot thank everyone at Homestraight club enough.”
‘I wouldn’t have missed it for anything” reflects how I also feel about BMF classes (similar to sessions attended by Home Sraight members.) It is BMF that I have stuck at and attended regularly for 9 years and got me into running. Both have also changed my life in many ways too. Not least finding a great community and many good friends.
Many thanks to those of you who have sponsored me. It means a lot to Home Straight and has really helped give me the grit I’ve needed at times to get on with my training when I’ve found it tough.