I started at Rays of Sunshine in the Wish Team in September 2016 and quickly fell in love with the Wish Granting world.
When people asked what on earth possessed me to sign up for the Royal Parks Half Marathon, it was an easy answer – I want to make sure each child gets their one true wish.
There is nothing more motivating than seeing the impact a wish has, not only on the wish child but also their whole family. Running a half marathon seemed pretty insignificant compared to what our wish children and families go through.
So, in July 2017, my boyfriend, friend and I threw on our running shoes and started preparing to run the Royal Parks Half in October – I mean how hard can it really be?
It turns out training for a half marathon is quite tough! None of us are natural sportsmen and you would be more likely to find us watching a good film, while tucking into some cake, rather than pounding the pavements.
Nevertheless, we persevered and followed a training plan, running four to five times a week. We waved goodbye to our social lives, became accustomed to being in constant pain and started becoming “people who run”.
Short training runs quickly started turning into long training runs and reality really set in when we started hitting 10 and 11 miles. Whenever I was thinking “I can’t do this” what got me through was thinking about the wishes me and my team were working on and how all the money raised will make sure that we can make these magical experiences for even more children.
In the weeks leading up to the event I was struck down with a knee injury – not ideal when you are 10 days away from the big run. After a few tears and lots of physio appointments I managed to get myself to a place where I could run. And then the real fun began – carb loading. Naturally we took this part of the process VERY seriously and tucked into copious amount of pasta, with a bit of cake thrown in for good measure.
All we had to do now was rest up and wait for the big day…
The big day dawned, our alarms went off at 5.30am and off we went to Hyde Park. The atmosphere at the start was amazing and nerves quickly turned into excitement. And then we were off!
The route is truly incredible and proved a great distraction, especially in the first half. Sadly, my knee decided not to play ball but I powered through with the help of my boyfriend and an epic running playlist on my iPod – nothing says motivation like a bit of One Direction! Passing the Rays of Sunshine cheering points were my highlights – having some friendly faces there made the world of difference.
It seemed to simultaneously last a lifetime but also pass by in a flash. My boyfriend and I finished in 2 hours 6 minutes and our friend Hannah finished in 2 hours 18 minutes (which was truly remarkable as she only signed up 5 weeks before the event!).
We all want to say a huge thank you to everyone that sponsored us and put up with our moaning and groaning. Every penny is going towards granting magical wishes for children and families living with the unimaginable – something definitely worth running over 2 hours for!
Now to find my next challenge…
Ginnie White, Wish Operations Manager