Friday, 4 May 2012

A Few Charitable Thoughts

I know what you’re thinking… just where is that insightful, deep and meaningful post on his value system he promised us? Well it’s not something you can knock up in a few minutes, you know! I’m working on it. “Giacomo’s 7s Value System”. It’ll be a cracker. But crackers take time… for now, until the 7S is ready, here’s something I am wrestling with as I build up to my 10k. Still a decent post, methinks.

. . .

It sometimes feels as if folk can’t walk a mile to the corner shop without trying to raise money for charity. The fundraising has almost become a quintessential component of the running. At time of writing, one of the leading news stories is about
Claire Squires, who died shortly before completing the London Marathon (the most charity-oriented of marathons). She had set out to raise £500 for the Samaritans but, following her death, over £900k has been donated via her JustGiving page. This is indicative of British generosity and how we are more likely than most at expressing it on such a level or through telethons such as “Comic Relief” or “Sport Relief”. Which is why fundraising as part of personal challenges works – and I’m all for it! We recognise effort and like to reward it. Indeed, as some #twitterblades know, I try to do my bit when I see what some of them are doing for charity. They are people whom I have never met, but who feel close to me because of the Blades connection: I am actually more likely to support a fellow yet ‘unknown’ (by traditional definitions, anyway) Twitterblade than… well, others. If that sounds daft, you obviously missed this.

So there is a part of me that is keen to leverage my 10k to raise a few £. Karen’s already suggested a charity for me: Springboard, whose “aim is to support children with additional needs from birth to 5 years and their families, in North Somerset”. And a grand job they do too: for a variety of reasons, our Littl’Un, Daniel, is behind with his speech, but has been catching up (slowly but surely) thanks to some sessions there. Besides, if I’m honest (as I always am), even before I set foot into Moti for my shoes, I was already contemplating a few Sheffield organisations to tie in with the whole ‘homecoming’ theme of the challenge. But then I thought…

…for a 10k? Really? A lot of the people whom I’d be canvassing could probably complete it by just turning up on the day, with no dedicated training. Do I deserve to ask people to part with cash for what will be an achievement for me but is, in the great scheme of things, not that spectacular? Or am I doing something I’m actually quite good at here, namely dismissing something I am seeking to achieve as not worthy of any fuss? After all, when I look at someone else who
’s planning a 10k (such as Kelly!), I am far more respectful and appreciative of their efforts so why not my own?

I raised a few hundred quid with both my Swimathons, where the beneficiary charity is Marie Curie Cancer Care for all entrants. I put a lot of effort into that training but, you know what, I could probably go out there today and swim 200 lengths. It’d take a while, but I could do it. But this here 10k run… now that, for me, is a far greater challenge. So why am I reluctant to ask for money?

I don’t know. After all, I know (as do those around me) that running truly is a challenge for me and that a 10k would require a lot of training and ultimately be an achievement for me. However, another part of me thinks I should treat the 10k as a test: if it proves successful, I could even contemplate running a half-marathon in 2013 and do the rounds with the collection tray for that. Don’t worry, I still can’t stand running – but this is not about running and never has been. So yes, being able to take it to another level would be spiritually uplifting and rewarding for me and ideally financially rewarding for a worthy cause. But this here 10k would really have to give me a lot of mental strength, more than I can even contemplate right now.

And yes, it would have to be that half-marathon… although it seems to traditionally fall in Spring half-term, which is when The Squintanis (UK branch) have their “family holiday” (normally North Devon)… so I’d probably have to put a detailed schedule together for Mrs S, highlighting National Trust / English Heritage sites we could visit over the course of a week in Yorkshire (our kids would love them, especially the castles!), rather than just trawling up for the weekend for a run… not that I’ve given any of these things any thought, you understand. 

…not that, as I strive to put one foot after the other in a slightly exaggerated manner, I ever think about that half-marathon’s route… and what it would mean to be to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and run down Ecclesall road, past Hunter’s Bar, by the bottom of Dover Road, past Bramall Lane… nah, not me. I’m not one for overthinking things, as no doubt you’ve gathered eight posts into this ramble. Besides, as I’ve said often times before, nobody overthinks – there are just too many people that underthink. Ipse dixit Squintani.

p.s.: the outline concept of aiming for a Half Marathon came to me very early on in this process, probably after I broke the voodoo with my first run/walk session. I am however delighted to confirm that the concept of aiming for a full Marathon has not entered, and never will, my brain. Seriously!

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