The final one of the twenty Half Marathon challenge arrived, and fittingly it was time to run around my adopted home of Nottingham, with 24 other people running for Double Impact and raising funds along the way. The lead up to this one was a bit different, as it was a case of organising an event and then taking part in it too. Quite a challenge for our small team of runners at Head Office on top of the day job, family commitments and not forgetting the months of training!
The Robin Hood in Nottingham was the culmination of a year of campaigning to reduce stigma faced by people recovering from addictions. What a great sight to see our logos everywhere, with runners, volunteers and marshals in our charity vests and T-shirts standing side by side with some of the UK’s big name charities. Double Impact in its 20th year was definitely standing out from the crowd with our strong presence in the Race Village for thousands to see. It really felt like a coming of age for our work, and a fitting finale to a year of campaigning (and running of course!).
THE LAST ONE….?
The closest one to home, however this was one of my earlier (and chillier) starts at 5 am, to ensure that our stand in the Race Village was all set up. Huge thanks to Chris & Sean from our team for their help in looking after our stand. By 7.00 am everything was in place to welcome our fantastic team of runners, many of them first-time half marathoners, together with the thousands of competitors and their supporters. A final team talk and then suddenly we were lined up for the team photos and heading off to the start areas. With runners ranging from sub 1:30 to Sub 3:00 it was not going to take long for us to be spread across the route.
Nottingham can be a tough old course, with some challenging hill running between miles 1 and 3 as you pass by Nottingham Castle and head into the residential area called The Park, again full of decent hills. After The Park a long downhill section allows you to recover your energies ready for the next 9 miles. Next up near the halfway stage, it’s off into Wollaton Park in all its autumn splendour, including a Tour De France style short sharp climb lined with hundreds of supporters screaming encouragement at you. A few twists and turns past the Raleigh Island and near to the Queens Medical Centre before you can feel the call of the last few miles along Castle Boulevard and into the Meadows. At this point we passed through our very own section with marshals, volunteers and our vocal adrenaline cheer squad. What a welcome sight at nearly 12 miles, and a huge boost to get us through the final section before hitting the crowds on The Embankment, serenaded by ‘The Tuneless Choir’, who really don’t live up to their name – all in all great support!
On this occasion I ran with Lisa, our HR Manager, who doubles up as my training partner. I have to say thanks for putting up with me over 2000 miles of training across the last two years, plus two of the 20 half-marathons in this challenge. Fittingly we crossed the line together. To be honest neither of us could wait to get back out onto the course to see our other runners in the finishing stages. An absolute privilege to see you all finish and have you as part of the team. A special mention to Ellie from head office and Rebecca from our Nottingham Academy on completing your first ever Half Marathons – an amazing achievement!
This year we went all out to get people involved and they did. From our teams of runners, staff, supporters, volunteers and families, to the team from The Treat Kitchen, who not only chose us as their Charity Of The Year but who also decided that four of their team should run on our behalf, a huge thank you. And to Nikki from Buckles in supporting us and in getting a new PB. To all our runners a huge well done. 24 starters – 24 finishers.
Best Moments – Nottingham and it’s fantastic home support for Double Impact, never had that many shout outs before. Having so many runners and volunteers involved with us this year. Seeing twenty four people run for Double Impact. Seeing Rob who I met twelve months ago in Birmingham on Run 3. Meeting Matt who is doing 50 half’s in 50 weeks. Oh, and of course finishing the 20th.
Funniest Moments – At last year’s Robin Hood, Lisa my running partner disowned me on the course for singing, but this year it was her turn to be the choir master, made me laugh all the way! A sign saying ‘Smile if you just let out a little wee’ (strange breed us runners!).
Inspirational Words – “There were times when I doubted if I could run a Half Marathon – here will be a lifetime knowing that I have” – Robin Hood Finisher’s T-shirt. The best words I have seen on any of my twenty runs. “You should be very proud of what you have achieved, it’s amazing” – my wife Ali and daughter Isla – I couldn’t have done it without your support or belief in me.
DON’T STOP ME NOW….!
I really thought that I would have had enough by now but quite the opposite. I have been offered a chance to do a 13.1 mile lap of honour in Birmingham 10 days from now, by Changes UK, an addiction recovery charity similar to ours. Thanks to Steve their CEO for the invite, and I can’t wait to meet your team of runners. Then at the end of October I am off the Rugby to run with Mark in his 50 in 50 challenge and Sean in his 80 in 8. I’m sure that will round things off nicely!
Our team of runners and fundraisers would like to thank everyone for their donations and support. If you would like to make a donation to this campaign please click here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/graham-miller17. I would like to add my personal thanks everyone who has supported me along the way, far too many of you to mention here.
We are planning to start a Double Impact Recovery Runners club, open to anyone who is interested in running and supporting our work. We plan to enter a few runs together over the next 12 months and for those who wish finish up with the 2019 Robin Hood Hal Marathon. In-between times we will meet up for the odd training run. If you are interested just contact me email@example.com alternatively join up through our running twitter @DI_Runs.
Also we would love to hear from anyone wanting to support our work in any way. If you are interested please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.