Going an extra mile to support our work
Our supporters never cease to amaze us with their dedication and passion to support our work. Last weekend, Publisher Ambassador Helen Youngs literally went that extra mile to support us by running the Edinburgh Marathon for Book Aid International. We caught up with Helen to find out how it went:
I recently ran my first marathon to raise money for Book Aid International because I know that books and access to books can absolutely change lives. I chose Edinburgh Marathon as I did my research and found that this was a relatively flat course, one that is recommended for first-timers and personal bests. Also, Edinburgh has got to be one of my favourite cities: the green spaces, the history, literary heritage and the coast are all things that make the city unique.
The marathon started at 10am at Regent Road before passing by the historic Holyrood Palace, home to Scottish kings and queens. It was moderately warm and cloudy and those first 13 miles were a dream. The course took us down to the coast and the salty air was delicious and the atmosphere vibrant and promising. I had my running cap on as I knew the cloud was supposed to clear around midday and it sure did!
Sunny, hot, tarmac road, one foot in front of another, sweat – runners all around me started to slow and some stopped to walk. My pace slowed down too and I was sweltering! I had to stop twice for the toilet and later scolded myself for doing so and wasting those precious minutes. But this was my first time and I was worried I wouldn’t make it – or worse, have to do a Paula Radcliffe!
My longest training run was 22 miles and I did 16 weeks of full-on training – a mixture of strength, interval, short and long runs. Race day was the first time I actually ran 26.2 miles and the second half of the marathon in the heat was certainly the most challenging. The course turned back around on itself and at this point I saw my partner. We high-fived each other and this gave a well-needed boost.
After a long four hours and 52 minutes, getting to the finish line was certainly a highpoint. I felt emotional and exhausted and I was crying when handed my medal and goodie bag. However, my favourite thing by far about the race was the people. I saw a lady dressed as a dog, another runner in a rhino costume and so many others who had trained hard and were running for a charitable cause or just for their own personal goals. It was wonderful to be a part of that community.
I have raised £950 and have just £50 left to hit my target of £1,000. I would certainly do it all over again and highly recommend running a marathon. It’s amazing what your body can do with the right amount of training and how generous friends, family, strangers are when you’re raising money for a good cause. Thank you everyone for your support and please do continue to give to Book Aid International, a small charity who are vital in improving the literacy and therefore opportunities of communities in Africa. Hurrah for books!
Hurrah for books and hurrah for Helen too, what an amazing achievement! Thanks to her support we’ll be able to send 475 books to a library in sub-Saharan Africa. If you would like to help her reach her target, you can do so here.