“Although we’ve come,
To the end of the road,
Still I can’t let you go”
End of the Road, Boyz II Men
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve realised it’s probably time to dim the lights, do the final sums and sign off on the Twelveathon with an official grand final total unveiling.
There will be some nauseating X-Factorish musing on my “journey”, but this will be at the end and it will be short (I may use the word ‘closure’ though, so be warned).
First, the most important bit – the final, final total raised, including Gift Aid, was £14,406.20, which means a little over £7,200 for each of the charities. Wow.
What this will mean for UNICEF? Well, £7,200 might buy…
- School supplies for 500 children
- 200 treated bed nets to protect children or pregnant women against malaria
- Furniture (desks, chairs, etc) for a class of 50 primary school children
- Training for 4,000 schoolteachers, to teach children about HIV and AIDs
- 400 immunisations against wild polio and other diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Materials to raise awareness and so prevent outbreaks of cholera for 300 children and 900 adults in Haiti.
£7,200 would buy all of that, or fund projects of similar worth, saving and improving thousands of lives.
For Scene & Heard, £7,200 performs a simpler function – it allows the work to carry on. The budget for the entire organisation is very small by UK charity standards, so a sum like this will make a big difference in allowing the award-winning projects to continue and help children in one of the most deprived areas of London.
The second most important thing to do is thank everyone I can think of and who made this last bewildering year possible.
- Alan, for helping me come up with the idea in the first place.
- All the support from the fundraising teams at UNICEF (Sally, Cesca, Michelle, Clare, Alyrene, Ruth, Isabelle and Rachel) and Scene & Heard (Ros, Simma and Kai) for feeding me ideas, answering my questions and cheering wildly at various races.
- Shaulan for sourcing, selling and then giving me the money from various baked delights.
- M’esteemed colleagues in Billericay for organising Olympic and Halloween fun days to put a few hundred extra in the coffers.
- All the Jimathon runners for helping me get the best time all year in one of the best days ever (Kirsty, Alan, Steve, Adam, Shane, Rob, Mason, John, Laura, Robin, Dan, Anna, Jim, Andy, Teresa, Lekshmi, Isobel, Kate, Lorraine, Susie, Rachel, Liz, Bruno, Gavin, Vicky, Emma you are all amazing) and Elizabeth for knitting the finest medals of the year!
- My team (and particularly Steph and Liz) for organising raffles, and shaking tins to help me out all year.
- All the runners who have offered support and advice before, during and after races and taught me how not to knacker myself. It’s a hell of a world to get to know and I’ve heard some wonderful and inspiring stories of people far braver and tougher than me to contend with.
- The performers at Chabaret for their time and talent (Mat Ricardo, Ginger Blush, Richard Herring, Shirley & Shirley, Benjamin Louche, Mandy Muden, Frisky and Mannish, Sarah Louise-Young and MC extraordinaire Shaun W Keavney).
- Ben and Rose of the Double R Club for organising the tremendous and traitorous Battle Royal on Jubilee Weekend with performances from Tricity Vogue, Emerald Fontaine, Kitten Von Strumpet and Dan Lees, Nathan Dean Williams, Randolf Hott, Fancy Chance, Preacher Muad’ib, Minxie Mayhem, Georges Kaplan Presents and the magic was held together courtesy of Violet Crumble, Shaun Mooney and Amelia Kallman.
- The glorious Hula Hop band and team of Steve, Dan, James, Susie, Anna, Sally, Eve, Alice, Rachel and Toby.
- Everyone who came to cheer at the marathons (you knocked MINUTES off my times by spurring me on) or put me up (and put up with me) for the far-flung ones (Louise, Kaidi and the rest of Team Belfast; David and Carole in Brighton; Mum and Dad in Edinburgh)
- My homies
- My family, for love, support and hard-wearing genetic material
- You, for actually giving the money and making this ridiculous project make a difference. You have given a staggering amount of money to change the lives of children and I am grovellingly, stupidly grateful (unless you are reading this having not given anything in which case I feel NOTHING about you.)
The biggest thank you has to go to my girlfriend Zoe.
To try and list what she has done: designed the logo, massaged my joints, organised Chabaret, organised Hula Hop, baked and baked charity cakes, helped make the videos, travelled to and cheered at all 12 marathons, then made sure my weary, incoherent form managed to get back home in one piece afterwards
But that doesn’t really capture the most important thing, which is that from the moment I said I was going to do it, she believed in me and took it on as OUR adventure. I simply wouldn’t have made it without her.
The day after the Berlin marathon I asked her to marry me and she said yes and now I can’t wait to see what more adventures we’re going to have together.
And that’s it. This year I ran 12 marathons and raised some money. Have I learned anything or gotten some great revelation? Maybe that bloody mindedness will get you a long way. “Look after your knees” perhaps. Or “Always ALWAYS use Vaseline”.
If I had one lesson to pass on, it is that if you think you can do something, then you probably can. And even if you can’t, you should do it anyway, because you might make something extraordinary happen.
Happy new year.