Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Big Launch - 17 Weeks To Go

There’s an embarrassment of riches to report this week. I had expected that I’d be writing about a deliberate diversion from the training schedule, where instead of running 8-9 miles on Saturday and 6-7 miles on Sunday, I yielded to the impulse to run over 20 miles between my mum and sister’s houses along the banks of the Mersey. But there’s such other good news to report that I’ve hived that off into its own entry.
My fundraising approach has been to recruit high-profile supporters first, so I can shamelessly cite them to publicise what I’m doing to raise support in the spheres where they’re well-known.
I’m really pleased that in this first week, I’ve managed to solicit support from several areas that are important to me.
First, I came for the comedians.
Toby Hadoke is celebrated as a Doctor Who interviewer and and audio actor, but that shouldn’t diminish his day job as a stand-up comedian and MC. He put a smile on my face this week with sponsorship and endorsement. And keeping it fishy (Hadoke/Haddock, get it?) , another comedian, Richard Herring also chipped in. (“Chipped” in. Ha ha. I am funny). Richard is best known for playing the bean-faced postman in “Time Gentlemen Please”, but has a place in my heart for his documentary stand-up show “The Twelve Tasks of Hercules Terrace” over a dozen years ago in which he recounted labours including running the London Marathon. This inspired me in 2004 to run my first ever 10K for charity, so he is part of this reason you’re reading this.
Then, I came for the politicians.
My ward, Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart has a couple of the best local councillors you could hope for and they stepped up admirably. Cllr Gavin Corbett (Green) claims (wrongly) (and repeatedly) to be responsible for my marathon success by ordering me to climb tenement stairs delivering hundreds and thousands of ward newsletters. But I’ll allow him this fantasy because he’s very much part of the success of this initiative by sponsoring me first. And across the chamber is Cllr Andrew Burns (Labour) who leads the city council and despite having described me as “a lost cause” politically sees some worth in this apolitical endeavour and has included me in his budget. A metaphorical tick in both their boxes.
Then, I came for the businessmen. In their suits and ties.
I’ve worked for Dave Foreman for much of the last decade. He’s led me through some challenging projects but always by making me want to earn his support. And Neil Davidson is something of a role model in the astonishing charity challenges he puts himself through. They’re both inspiring leaders who make me feel good about working for them. I think they usually use some form of sinister mind control, but they've done it here with their donations.
Then, I came for the Doctor Who writers.
There are literally too many of these to mention in person, so I’ll single out the famous ones who written proper Doctor Who on the telly. Way back in 1980, Andrew Smith made me green with envy by becoming the youngest-ever writer for the series. His subsequent police career has been built on knowing right from wrong so I’m flattered he’s chosen to back my appeal. Paul Cornell has written some of the best episodes for the Eccleston and Tennant Doctors and as a vicar’s husband knows a thing or two about fundraising appeals. He can come to me next time the church roof needs fixing. And finally, Steven Moffat, the man who for the last half-decade has been the lead writer and executive producer on Doctor Who (as well as doing a similar job with “Sherlock”) has been more generous than I could ever have dared hope. He’s a big-hearted, passionate man, and here is just another example.
So, I’ve got the (local) government, the law, the church, business, the satirists and the storytellers behind me. I am going to shamelessly milk their patronage via a series of manipulative graphics on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, timed to coincide with paydays, and use their names to drum up more support. Damn! I’ve let slip my secret plan.
The very good news is that fundraising has exceeded my wildest hopes. I anticipated that I’d get support by writing to people I know individually, but social networking has done its stuff and wonderful people I know, some of whom I’ve only met in person once or twice, have been generous in the extreme.
With only 33 donations so far, I’m 44% of the way to my £5000 target. The average donation has been staggeringly high although this is due in no small part to a certain television executive. 
While all this has been going on, I’ve been doing my part. It dawned on my heavily that there will be around 90 training runs for this race and that I’ll be running five times a week. I began the first week’s training with what seemed to be absurdly short distances - just two miles on three consecutive days. And yet, by the third day, I was feeling an undeniable muscular fatigue and craving a day’s rest. This is because my previous training regime involved running no more than three times a week and having at least a full clear day between runs. I’m going to be feeling tired and sore for the next few months, and I’ve realised that this Saturday’s indulgence - an unscheduled 23-miler - will have to be a one off. I’ll have to respect this schedule or I’ll become injured. And I’ll have to keep listening to my body, not just my muscles, but my heart, my lungs and my gut (you really, really, don’t want to know the awful details) and not fall into damaging habits. 
I’ve been thinking about what to blog about for the next seventeen weeks (Running 23 miles provides ample time for such speculation). I’ve decided to go and interview some of the staff from Number Six and report first-hand how services funded by Autism Initiatives help and enable people with autism. And why don’t I talk to one of the organisers of the Glasgow-Edinburgh Ultramarathon about how first-timers get on? And, yes, if I can persuade her, I’ll interview my wife Helen about what it’s like being married to someone with Asperger’s who obsessively runs long-distance races and blogs about them.
I watched Doctor Who with my mum last night. When Steven Moffat’s name up on the opening credits I inwardly cheered. 
His cunning plan has worked.


Money Raised: £2,213.27
Money to Raise: £2,786.73
Miles run: 29
Miles to run: 835
Sponsor me here: www.justgiving.com/wavenode

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