In 2016, the ESU gave me the opportunity of a lifetime by funding my research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA through its Lindemann Fellowship. This was a game-changing experience and equipped me with a whole new toolbox of skills, which I am now using to research Alzheimer’s Disease at the University of York.
BORN TO RUN
To me, running a marathon has always been the pinnacle of physical achievement and until recently, it was something I never thought I would do. After several years of bad luck in the ballots, the English-Speaking Union (ESU) offered me a secured place in the 2019 London Marathon. Now, not only do I have the chance to run a marathon, I have the opportunity to do something far more meaningful by running it on behalf of the ESU.
RACKING UP THE MILES
Training is going well, and with 10 weeks to go, I’m starting to feel like I might just make it. I began my training in September by running the Glasgow Half Marathon and since then I have been building on my long distance running, always looking for new ways to challenge myself and prepare for the big 26.2. Most recently I ran the Harewood House Half Marathon, an extremely hilly trail race. I loved it from start to finish. Most importantly, I pushed myself, learning new lessons about my running abilities which will help me in London.
Speaking of racking up the miles, long-run day (which is also referred to as lie-on-the-sofa-immediately-after-long-run day) is usually Saturday. Sometimes I decide to forego the nice-ish weather for an all-out mental assault – 13 miles on the treadmill – and I’m not ashamed to admit that heart-pumping 80’s-00’s music gets me through. Thank goodness for Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga and The Proclaimers. So far my body has felt good, and the plan calls for a 16-miler this weekend. Bring it on.
HITTING THE TARGET
Fundraising has been a lot of fun, and though challenging, I’m so pleased to say that I recently hit the £1,000 milestone. I really couldn’t have done this without my wife, Simone, and I am so incredibly thankful for all of her support. Now with the marathon just around the corner, I hope to build momentum, and strive towards hitting my target of £2,500. I know first-hand what a difference this will make to the lives of many young people, and if anyone is able to sponsor me and support the ESU, or is willing to share my fundraising link, I would be eternally grateful.
Thanks for letting me share my experience with you as I take on this incredible challenge. Through sheer grit and determination, we will cross the finish line together, flying the flag high for the ESU.