Tuesday, 16 September 2014

26.2 miles for science and lifelong learning

Things have been rather quiet on the Science on Toast front for a while, and that due in part to lots and lots of running. My wife and I have signed up for the Dublin Marathon which is taking place at the end of October 2014, in order to raise funds for a charity which is very close to my heart, both scientifically and otherwise: Inspiration for Life, which I have talked about before on this blog.

It appears that the world these days is running mad, and also fundraising mad, as the recent ice bucket challenge phenomenon has proven. The power of social media enables people to share their messages of fundraising easily, quickly, and even virally within their immediate and extended networks. The result of this ease of communication is that the world is full of good causes, so numerous and so well-publicised that each individual can't possibly donate to every single one, nor even give to a fraction. Instead, we must choose causes that mean something to us and motivate us to get moving and help in some way, such that the combined efforts of all fundraisers across the world can be more than the sum of their parts.

Mike and Kim Weir after a race in Sydney.
So, to marathon training. To the most hardened runners out there (and they are out there for sure, there are people in Sheffield for one thing, who do marathons up massive hills and stuff for fun and then run home etc.) this might seem a walk in the park, but let me just have my say.

A marathon is stupidly far! It is a very, very silly idea to try and run this distance. This is a brutal challenge which will leave you physically and emotionally drained. If you can finish it. In the words of the Dublin Marathon officials:

Whatever your target or motivation, remember that the marathon is a rough and tough event. It is not for the faint hearted. If it were easy it would be no challenge.

Speaking of challenges, this brings to mind the amazing Michael Hilton who recently completed an Iron Man challenge for the charity totalling over 140 miles - incredible!

So far we are more than half way through our training, but it is getting tough. Just finding enough contour lines to run along in Sheffield is a challenge in itself. I am a modest 3 kg lighter than when training started about 10 weeks ago (with the realisation that diet is an extraordinarily important part of a healthy lifestyle, and how frighteningly easy it is to eat calories compared to burning them).

If you would like to sponsor us for this event, you can do so here. Every penny donated will go to Inspiration for Life in order to help them do their work. We have already received extremely generous donations for which we would like to express our gratitude: knowing we are making a difference will help us get across the line.

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