Iain Boyd, our latest Doer of the Month, raised over 35 pledges in support of the Loch Ness Marathon recently, saving over a tonne of carbon in the process. Here Iain, an Environmental Consultant from Edinburgh, shares his story of how he earned that sought-after title. (I should start keeping track of how many of our Doers of the Month are from Edinburgh. There must be something in the water…).
What were you raising support for?
I always try to enter a few different events and races during the year as motivation to keep myself fit and healthy. Myself and a few friends all signed up to Loch Ness Marathon with the idea of challenging ourselves but at the same time having a fun weekend away together. I had heard lots of praise for this event and marathon route so I had always wanted to enter this race.
What made you decide to ask for support through Do Nation?
I first came across Do Nation through the 2050 Climate Group where I’m in their Young Leader Development Programme and thought it was a great idea. I had previously signed up to a campaign as part of the 2050 group and had set myself an action to create my own campaign for the marathon. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some sponsorship and support without asking people to give money, but instead ask them to do things that would benefit both themselves and the planet.
What was the most surprising or exciting pledge someone made?
People were really enthusiastic about the idea which was great to see! I only had to promote it a couple times on social media and had exceeded my estimate of how many pledges I would receive. The most surprising pledge was probably my dad pledging to declutter and donate unwanted clothes for the first time in years… so kept my mum happy and anyone looking for some questionable 1990s clothing.
The run itself – how did it go?
I loved it! I managed a good time and I was buzzing the whole way round. It was a 5am wakeup on Sunday morning, you then get on a fleet of buses at the finishing area in Inverness that drive you the length of the loch to the start line (so you are all too aware of how far you need to run back!). Everyone starts up a very windy hill, you then run along the shores of Loch Ness, up some leg zapping hills towards the end, finally finishing back in the city on the banks of the River Ness.
You basically spend an entire morning surrounded by beautiful highland scenery and a lot of really happy, determined people.
Keeping going requires grit and stamina – what motivated you to keep pushing on?
1) The scenery really helped, I found myself completely zoning out staring at the view, which helped you forget the aches and pains.
2) The sporadic bagpipers encouraging you up some of the climbs was also a bonus… too much sometimes, needed to stop yourself going in to a full highland charge on the way back down.
3) All the messages and pledges of support from friends and family.
And once done, how did you celebrate?
There was a really handy beer tent near the finish line, so a cold beer was the first goal, followed by a nap, then a meal out in inverness, then another nap.
Finally – any top tips you’d share with someone else raising support on Do Nation?
Just try it.
As someone who doesn’t usually ask for donations I was a bit unsure of what the response would be from asking people to make pledges but was overwhelmed at the positive response. I promoted it a couple times through social media, kept the blurb fairly concise and emphasised the benefits that making small changes can have to both them and the planet. The fact it doesn’t cost them anything to do also is a big win!
The support and enthusiasm was incredibly motivating and I more than doubled the number of pledges I expected to get. It’s such a great way of encouraging people to develop healthy habits just by making some small lifestyle changes.