At 9am on 31stAugust, I will line up with 1,900 kindred spirits and fellow competitors to compete in the CCC – a 101km race from Courmayeur to Chamonix in the French Alps and cousin of the world-famous UTMB.
This is my first mountain race, and with 6100m of positive elevation I am excited and a little nervous. Ideally, I would have completed some mountain training, but as that’s not been possible I’ve spent the last three or four months running with a weight vest and doing specific strength training to ready myself for the long climbs and brutal descents.
Why run for a cause?
It’s been six years since I last ran for a charity. The Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice was the last one – a fantastic organisation that really grabbed me by the way they showed wonderful care and support to children and their families.
The CCC is a significant challenge on the horizon for me and I thought it was about time to think about running in aid of a charity once again. There are plenty of reasons:
- It raises money for good causes – which converts me putting one foot in front of the other into part of a wider ‘world of good’
- It builds awareness of charities, so their work is seen and heard more widely
- It gives me something to spur me on when the going is tough – a real sense of purpose outside of my own goals for the event.
Choosing a charity
For some people the charity they choose comes naturally: something they have a real personal or emotional connection to. For everyone else, the choice of charities needing support may seem overwhelming. It comes down to what your heart is attached to. For me, there are two main areas: children, and the homeless.
The charity Humanity Direct works with several hospitals in countries including Uganda, Tanzania and Somaliland, where many families can’t afford even basic medicine so being able to afford an operation is out of the question. Every penny raised goes to support the costs of life-changing and life-saving paediatric surgery.
Why Humanity Direct? I have met some of the team behind HD thanks to XNRG’s series of fundraising one day ultras in support of the charity (the next event is in Tring on 22nd September) and am in awe of their dedication to helping families in real need. It’s something that seems so simple and accessible to us on the NHS. Without operations and medical care, a simple child’s hernia or eyesight problem can become debilitating.
More specifically, I’ll be running the CCC for Humanity Direct’s Universal Fund, where every penny donated is spent on emergency surgery or to top-up patients waiting for operations that are close to being fully funded. I’ll be thinking about that when I’m on one of those steep Alpine ascents.