Back in January we were contacted by Stewart Abrahart who works for AltoDigital, a company who provide office technology and supplies and who have supported us for years, to say that he had secured a place to run in the Reading half marathon on Sunday 19th March. We were delighted to hear that he had chosen to fundraise for us! Having had a passion for running since he was young, Stewart decided that now was the time to take on his biggest running event yet and he set himself huge targets for both his fundraising and running time. He worked extremely hard to promote the charity to everyone he came into contact with and explain the importance of people’s donations and the difference that they could truly make. As a result of his efforts he raised a phenomenal £4177! We asked him to put into his own words why he decided to take on such a huge physical challenge for Promise Dreams and the fundraising journey he went on to achieve such an awe-inspiring total. Read on to find out more…
“In December 2016, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event for Promise Dreams. It was an incredible event that REALLY opened my eyes to the hardships some people face every day.
In fact, it got me thinking about the 24 fantastic years I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy. 24 years with nothing more than a couple of hamstring injuries, a couple of hip operations, and a rolled ankle or two! I couldn’t imagine being 5, 10 or even 15, and learning you have a terminal illness or a serious debilitating condition that you have to contend with for your entire life! So I decided to take matters into my own hands and raise money one step at a time. I registered for the Reading Vitality half marathon and set an incredibly lofty goal for myself, one that I knew would be tough to reach. I set a goal of 3000 pounds raised – no looking back now!
My exercise started about 2 months before March 19th, the day of the Half-Marathon. I started slow but picked up the distance within the final month. When I first started, the initial excitement over raising money for Promise Dreams got me through. But as I started running longer and longer distances, having a great cause and raising money for incredibly courageous kids, helped push me past my threshold. This was my first half-marathon event, so long-distance wasn’t in my vocabulary. BUT thinking about the incredibly courageous kids REALLY did help push me through my long runs.
On the day of the event, I had a lot of excitement before the resounding gunshot, especially considering over 10,000 runners participated! It actually ended up being quite an emotional event, as not only did we come in well over target at 135%, but my dad and grandma also came out to the event.
The last time I formally did a running event was over 14 years ago, when I was in elementary school. I was actually competing for a “mile record” in elementary school – I took my running very seriously back then! So on the day of my race, I told my grandparents that they weren’t allowed to watch because I was too nervous that I would fail. Later that day, I not only broke the record but actually broke the 6-minute mark, clocking in at 5:59. To my surprise, my grandparents and my mom had ignored my concern and hopped the 3-meter fence surrounding the track, to watch me run, hidden under the stands!
Looking back, I couldn’t have been happier that my grandparents saw me beat that record. I was overjoyed that they ignored my request and made it to the event. Flash forward to my half-marathon, it dawned on me, and I had a somewhat emotional moment realizing that my nan was going to see me perform again, this time at my own request. I also knew that my granddad was watching from up above, and so it turned into a very emotional and important event for me. Knowing they were both there watching me run my half-marathon, I decided to give it my all, even if it meant collapsing at the finish line.
I ended up running to sheer exhaustion and clocking in at 1:40:13, about 7:40 per mile. Not quite the enjoyable “stroll in the park,” I’d initially hoped for, but it was well worth it! Not only could I not let my grandparents down, but I couldn’t let down all the kids who have fought so hard for issues far exceeding anything I have faced. Finishing the race with nothing left in the tank, gave me a sense of purpose that day. I felt like I had given my all.”
If you would like to take part in a challenge to raise money for Promise Dreams please call us on 01902 212451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to support you throughout your fundraising journey.