Many people take part in events across the UK each and every year in memory of loved ones and to raise money for a charity close to their heart. Georgia Byrne from our Fundraising team caught up with Alex Haward who has just completed the Vitality Big Half.

Can you tell me why you decided on the Big Half?

‘I was asked if I wanted to take part in The Vitality Big Half in London and I saw it as a great opportunity to raise money for two charities close to my heart. One was the MSA Trust, due to my father-in-law suffering from this condition and the other was St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

St Wilfrid’s provided incredible care to my cousin’s husband and even hosted their wedding at the hospice a few years ago.  They also provided amazing care for my father-in-law in the hospice before Christmas as he was there for respite care. I wanted to make sure I raised as much money as possible for these two incredibly worthy causes.

What was the event like?

‘I have done a lot of half marathons over the years and so I decided that I wanted to make things more challenging.  I decided to carry 5kg in a rucksack during the race.  I did a few 10K training runs to my office and then had a ten-mile run planned and mapped, but then got struck down with man-flu for a week so I just had to go for it on the day.

‘Race day came, the rain was falling (horizontally) as I arrived at Tower Hill station to meet my friend.  Thankfully, by the time the race started, it had stopped raining and the sun came out (still windy though).  Gradually around 13,500 runners crossed the start line and the race was underway!

‘The first 10K was pretty ok and I felt my Garmin watch vibrate every mile measuring the eight-minute mile pace I was hoping to maintain.  The wind was very strong which made running tough.  Beyond 10K was tough until I reached the eight-mile marker where I said a quick hello to my wife and daughter at the sideline (very welcomed smiles!).

‘I then plodded on and the last three miles were really tough and my legs were saying ‘stop now!’ So I had to ignore that and head for the finish line.  I reached the finish line in 1hr49min22sec and was very relieved!! 

‘Overall, I have raised a total of £975 + Gift Aid and I am anticipating rolling over £1,000 soon which will be split 50/50 between the two charities

'It was a tough race, but thoroughly worth it!'

Congratulations on an amazing achievement and a huge thank you to Alex (and his family) for supporting St Wilfrid’s in this way.

You can contribute to Alex's amazing fundraising efforts here

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