A whole half-marathon!

hanna
After a friend bought her entry to the Oxford half marathon as a wedding present, Hanna threw herself into the full swing of training. We found out how she got on…

A bit about you:

Occupation: Snr Project Worker for the NHS

Country: UK

A bit about your challenge:

So, how did this challenge came about?

I grew up in Zimbabwe, so have a natural love for sports and the great outdoors – and perhaps an inherent desire to look after the world that we live in. Zimbabwe is a country of outstanding natural beauty. I feel very lucky to have called it home.

A lovely friend of mine (also a Zimbo) kept nagging me to go to her run club. About a year ago I gave in, and was hooked from the first step! When I got married, she bought me entry (and the training by her knowledgeable self, and trainers!) to my first half marathon. She chose Oxford for me as it was relatively small, a beautiful course, and it meant I could train through the summer.
(For the wedding present from her, my husband got a squash racket deluxe and they play together – what an awesome friend?!)

She definitely sounds it! What top training tips could you offer for other potential runners?

Have a training plan. I was lucky enough to have one drafted up for me by a great friend who should be a trainer….getting nutrition and hydration right is crucial. I had to try various things before training runs to see what my body enjoyed. I found out the hard way that eating a bean salad for lunch before a long run was a very silly thing to do! It obviously worked-I was aiming for a time of 1hr55 and managed to run it in 1hr48…chuffed! And finally – ENJOY IT! I grinned all the way round!

How have your friends and family responded to your request?

The responses were amazing. I really did expect more ‘eco-warrior’ derogatory comments, but I appear to associate with wonderfully green, environmentally aware people who really embraced it. Some people pledged BIG – my wonderful mum is setting up a permaculture garden and a friend has been spurred on to get her house insulated. Others did small but effective pledges to turn PCs off, or take the stairs at work (I have had several friends who work in skyscrapers in the big smoke sending me very sweary messages!!)

My favourite bit was trying to explain the concept of ‘The DoNation’ to my 90 year old granny-in-law (who’s never left Yorkshire). She wanted to sponsor me a with a fiver….so a quick lesson in how the internet works, followed by a whizz through an explanation of climate change and environmental activism, ending in the concept of personal pledges, rather than money….but it still wasn’t happening! In the end I took the fiver (I might selfishly buy a pair of running socks with it 🙂

Well, good effort though! Have you been using any gadgets to help with training?

I have become totally reliant on my Garmin (GPS watch) for setting my pace. If I ever have to run without it, I feel like I am running naked with 3 legs….

Are there any top tips you’d share with someone else raising sponsorship in this way?

I found the softly softly approach worked well. Some people are good at evangelising, but it can be ineffective. I just put the suggestion out there with a few words of encouragement, and let the brilliant DoNation with all its accessible ideas work for itself! People loved the novelty, and pledging really seems to make people want to fulfil them.

In what way (if any!) did you indulge yourself after the big race?

I ate loads – for days – I LOVE FOOD! Oh – and went for a sports massage with a man with shoulders as wide as I am tall. That was an experience! I came out as one big bruise, but felt amazing afterwards (well, a day afterwards….)

Haha, sounds perfect! You can still sponsor Hanna for her challenge here.

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