With a forecast of hot and humid conditions, the Derby Half Marathon was always going to pose a challenge and ask some questions, and so it turned out. After the usual hustle and bustle of the starting area (and queues for the toilets) the race settled into a steady pace. Heading first into the centre of Derby, before heading out to Elvaston Castle and then along the River Derwent, before returning to Derby’s Pride Park, the finishing area. From about the 5-mile mark it seemed that everyone was preparing to dig deep, as the heat and humidity intensified and the route became less populated by support until about the 13th mile. In the final miles it felt like the whole field systematically slowed down. I too had to dig deep and it’s at this point you begin to ask yourself the question, “What motivates someone to run 13.1 miles”?


A lot of questions go through your mind running a half marathon. Did I train enough? Did I over train? Will I get round in this heat? Is that a blister? Am I taking on enough fluids? Why are the pace runners passing me? It’s my 5th Half marathon in 6 weeks – am I completely mad? But aside from all that, there is one question that I often find myself asking… what motivates the thousands of people around me doing the same crazy challenge? The Derby Half Marathon is part of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal series of races. Jane became the first person with terminal cancer to finish the London Marathon in 2002. Jane took part in many other challenges while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. She refused, however, to be defined by her cancer and would not give in. Social media offered some other answers to what motivated people in this event, from the person who lost 9 stone to run this race to the man celebrating his 70th Birthday by taking part. Not forgetting the countless charities ranging from Macmillan and Rainbows to Canaan Trust and of course our own Double Impact. My admiration and congratulations go to all of them.

You may ask what motivates me? Well, I feel that people with addictions can experience unwarranted stigma for what I believe to be a serious health issue. I am motivated by people’s ability to turn around lives that have been destroyed by addiction. So, the 20 Half Marathon Challenge is my way of breaking down stigma and getting the message out there that addiction is not something people choose as a lifestyle.

Talking of motivation, a special mention to all the course marshals, race volunteers and St. John’s Ambulance for keeping everyone safe and well in the very challenging conditions.

Best Moments – Racing some guy who tapped me on the shoulder and shouted ‘Sprint finish!’ in the last 100m. I’m sure he was half my age, and yes, he did beat me. Although it did put a huge smile on my face. Managing to get round without stopping and still running a healthy pace of 1:52:20 was a bonus.

Funniest Moment – Grabbing what I thought would be the obligatory Jelly Babies from a supporter holding a bowl at the side of the course, only to find that it was a Bourbon biscuit, and trying to get my legs to respond to the aforementioned sprint finish. Running through treacle comes to mind!


We still have Charity places for people wanting to run the Robin Hood Half Marathon in September. Would you like to join us and raise funds to support our work? E-mail us at grahammiller@doubleimpact.org.uk or to find out more visit the charity partners’ info page on the marathon website. There is also the new ‘One Mile Challenge’ this year where you can also raise money for the Charity. More details on both events can be found here: http://www.robinhoodhalfmarathon.co.uk/

Thanks to our service users, The Treat Kitchen, Buckles Solicitors and other supporters who are already signed up to run alongside staff from Café Sobar and Double Impact.

If you would like to make a donation to the campaign please click here.

There are also a couple of brave individuals who are organising their own independent fundraising challenges in aid of Double Impact – see the links below to support these.

Gemma Grantham is doing a tandem skydive:

Charlotte Lynsey is doing a 20 mile hike between Nottingham and Mansfield:

If you want any information on any of these events please get in touch.


So – it’s 13 down and 7 to go and the plan of doing 5 races in 6 weeks has paid off and nearly got me back on schedule. I have a little break now (20 days) before the Humber Bridge Half Marathon and the Leamington Spa a week after. I still need to find a few races in July & August so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I’ll post some updates on Twitter for you to @DI_Recovery & @DI_Runs.

Thanks for reading.

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