Week 47: The Balham 1/2 Hearted

Sunday 20th November

The inaugural Balham 1/2 Hearted was conceived 10 months previously in a bet between father, daughter and son-in-law on the impossibility of them completing a 1/2 marathon. The stakes were high: £1,000 for The Grand Appeal. The problem for Tom and Vicky is from then on the inevitability of completing a run with me is now non-negotiable. The img_5921date was set and our group of 3 quickly became 5 with the addition of brothers of Tom, Charlie and Henry. Then 6 with Jonny Edwards, then 7 & 8 with George and Allan. Within the group there was only 1 person who had run over 10km before today. Tom titled his planned route The Balham 1/2 Hearted but this day goes down as the most heartfelt weekend of the year. I’m blown away by the response of friends coming out to support each other and my cause with such generosity of energy and spirit. Storm Angus threatened to make Sunday morning a complete washout but the squad was undeterred. The path took us around 3 parks in South London, looping around each and linking to the next. img_5965The promise of a roast lunch in Balham kept everyone hungry for the finish line and we just kept moving towards it. Slowly but surely and without stopping we made it to the end. An incredible achievement. This group managed to stimulate a generous financial response from their social network and I’m delighted to say that by the end of the run my just giving account was £841 better off…. And then there was the bet to settle. Mike and Carol, Vicky and George’s parent came to join us at the pub for Sunday lunch and transferred £1000 to img_5923The Grand Appeal. Wow! It was heartwarming to see the happiness they derived from such generosity and pride they had in their family completing such a fantastic achievement. Sunday lunch shared with friends still sweaty and cramping from the morning’s efforts was such a lovely way to finish. This team accumulated £1841 in fundraising (£2301 including gift aid) and rocketed my total through the targets I’d set myself for the year and over £10,000.

I’ve been blown away throughout the year by how people rally around a worthy cause and are willing to go to extreme efforts to show their support. To capture the imagination of their social network the challenge has to be scary enough to evoke a reaction. I derive tremendous enjoyment in taking people on a journey with me to have a go at something that they wouldn’t otherwise dream of doing. Not only that but being with them when they complete it and seeing the pride and excitement in finishing and sharing it with their friends and family.

Thank you all for coming out to run. Thank you for making such an incredible fundraising effort and thank you Mike and Carol for treating your son-in-law with such wreckless bribery!

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