Georgina Brookes decided to go the distance to help the fight against blood cancer and go the extra mile on her birthday. Read about her personal journey of getting motivated and going from being a non-runner to crossing a make-shift finish line all in aid of charity.
“I was one of the thousands of people that, for some reason, felt the urge to start the Couch to 5k programme at the beginning of lockdown. It was a real struggle even to run for 30 seconds at the beginning but by the middle of summer, I’d hit the 5k mark and needed another challenge to keep me motivated.
"Looking at local races I noticed that the Richmond Park 10K fell on my birthday and so, in a moment of madness, I signed up.
"As this was my first ever running event, and I’ve been convincing people to run for charity for over five years, I set up a fundraising page for DKMS and Bowel Cancer UK. The first few donations appearing on the page really motivated me to stick to my training plan – there was no backing out now!"
"Unfortunately a few weeks before race day we heard the bad news that, due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, the event was cancelled. I must admit that part of me thought ‘This is a great excuse! If the event’s off then I don’t need to get up at 8am on my birthday to run the furthest I’ve ever run on a surprisingly hilly course!’. But then I looked at my fundraising page and, surprised by the generosity of my family and friends, found the motivation to commit to running the route solo anyway.
"After opening the curtains on the big day to see pouring rain, I very much regretted that decision! Again, the knowledge that so many people had sponsored me spurred me to put on my trainers and get out there. It was tough to be running in the rain, by myself, when I had expected to be experiencing that amazing feeling of cheering crowds and chats with fellow runners I’d heard so many fundraisers talk about."
At around 8k, when my hip was in pain, I nearly did give up. But knowing how many people I’d be letting down and how much training I’d put into this single day I dragged myself to the end.
"I felt exhausted but proud. Proud to have stuck to my training. Proud that I didn’t give up when the race was cancelled or my hip hurt. But most of all proud to have raised such vital funds for two important and worthwhile causes!
Oh look, London Marathon’s on my birthday next year…!”
If Georgina’s running story has inspired you to get moving – whether it’s walking, jogging or running – why not sign up and join Team DKMS in the #20for20 challenge?
Or if exercise isn’t your thing find out other ways on how you can support the fight against blood cancer.