Updated: Sep 28, 2022
I will be running again in The Vitality Big Half on Sunday 22nd August - less than 3 weeks from now - as we have all been affected by the ongoing pandemic, charities help people overcome adversity which is why I am running for The UK Sapphire Foundation.
Please donate to their campaign to aid young underprivileged people in Vijayawada, India, general funding for their programmes to help young people achieve careers in the creative industry (find out what your donations can achieve at the end of the article) or get in touch to volunteer around your skills and schedule: https://linktr.ee/donatetosapphire.
The Vitality Big Half is a community running event for everyone, regardless of age, background or ability. Although this world-class half marathon features top international athletes, they also support and encourage first-time runners, particularly those from the communities that the route passes through, to take part - if you happen to be interested, look into my other post on how to build a routine!
Having been in connection with Sapphire since interning with them in 2018, I first had the opportunity to do The Vitality Big Half last year. On 1st March 2020, I was one of a record 16,222 runners who crossed the Finish Line in the third edition of The Vitality Big Half, with charity runners altogether raising more than £540,000 on Virgin Money Giving. I’ve never been a runner, or active in general, which I believe has been the root cause of my chronic back pain, so I took it as a challenge to step towards my goal of becoming fitter. Back pain is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain alone accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population.
I took the plunge and signed up because I wanted to force myself to do dreaded cardio, though I do not think that outside of this premise I would be practicing cardio every other day like I do during training. I’m still a long way to where I want to be, but I’m glad I took the opportunity to get healthier. There is no excuse - running is free (apart from shoes and clothing and possibly travel if you haven’t taken a circular route)! I remember the first time I tried running 5km, stopping and starting, I would have never imagined I’d actually make it through the course of the full 21.1km on the day or even signing up again for a consecutive year. To be quite honest, I hate running but, it is nice to start your day having physically challenged yourself. Even better if you have a running partner, which I have for both years (though last year was remotely - still highly beneficial). Best when you are running for a good cause be it personal goals or a charity.
The UK Sapphire Foundation has personally helped me to overcome unemployment and come out of my shell as I interacted with other young people from 13 - 30 through their BIY (Believe In Yourself) Summer School as a participant and a volunteer. Sapphire operates in the UK as well as Nigeria and every little helps, but to put it into perspective, £50 can pay for a whole year of school and learning resources for a needed child in Nigeria, in the UK £100 can help gift a grant to an exceptional young person, who may need help financially or to fund one of their passion projects. Additionally, £500 can help fund an event or help provide food and toiletries for the soup kitchens that Sapphire hosts every Thursday outside Toynbee Hall and at Tottenham Town Hall every 2nd Tuesday of the month with Our Forgotten Neighbours as they aim to support 150 people each week, giving them meals and items that can be beneficial in the household having partnered with Neighbourly and FareShare. £1,000 can provide tools needed in each of their programmes, whether it be cameras for filming, or notepads and hiring facilitators for therapy sessions. Please share with any corporate partners if you are unable to donate. You could even donate your time as a youth worker or help to collect food donations for the soup kitchen.
Especially during this pandemic, we cannot forget to rebuild our communities in any way we can.
Don’t forget to follow along with my journey until the big day Sunday 22nd August 2021 as I will be sharing more on marathon training.