The end of the beginning, the beginning of an adventure

As the final fundraising event for my now very imminent community challenge build in Nepal I, along with 2500 others took part in the Herts 10k Cross Country Run in Harpenden. It was a beautiful Autumn day, fantastic for those watching, definetly not good for those of us running! Having never done any distance running before, although I have been training prior to the event, I decided to take things slow. After 5 minutes I was drenched in sweat. After 5 km my left foot went numb, a very strange feeling which failed to stop me feeling the blisters rubbing raw on my heels. And I was only half way round…

Perhaps I should rewind a bit. Earlier this year I signed up with the world charity ActionAid to take part in a community build project in North-west Nepal. The plan is to spend a week under canvas and get involved in a large scale house building scheme for the Kamiaya people, former bonded laborers. In order to take part in this challenge each volunteer has to raise a personal sponsorship of £3100, no small amount of cash.

So over the last few months I’ve begged everyone I know for a couple of quid to help reach this target. I’ve not just been asking for favours. With the aid of some friends and family I’ve run a good few fundraising events, including a tea and coffee morning, car boot sale, five aside football tournament and of course a 10km run. At every stage of my activities I’ve been overwhelmed with people’s interest and generosity in what I’m doing. I wrote to my local rag and got a very informative write-up and people, having read the article sent me money, actually posted money to me. People from school I hadn’t spoken to for years have sponsored me via my online donation page. In return for my services as a graphic designer I’ve asked business and individuals to sponsor me instead.

In short, even before I’ve stepped onto the plane, this experience has helped to restore my faith in the human race. It seems that despite common gossip, people still do care about each other and about people thousands of miles away, people who they most likely will never, ever meet. I cannot wait, first to meet my fellow volunteers, most of whom I’ve never laid eyes on, and then onto the famously welcoming Nepalese people!

So this was why, gaspingly short of breath, the only feeling left in my legs being that of burning agony, and for some reason my elbows hurting like hell, I found myself half way up an enormous hill in south Hertfordshire. The old maxim “no pain no gain” was stretched to its limit. Needless to say I survived the ordeal, and completed the route in under an hour, which I’m told is a respectable time, although the race winner did it in 33 minutes.

However the feeling of achievement, not just from completing what was for me a very demanding physical trial, but from reaching my fundraising target was, well, bloody massive. This is a success I owe very much to the many, many people who have helped me along my way, not just those who have sponsored me, but those who have helped me organise and run the events I’ve taken part in. It’s now the end of the beginning of my adventure which will take me halfway round the world to help some of the poorest of it’s people.

Nothing in life worth having ever comes easily, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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