Back in September, Ruth took on the Great North Run to fundraise for United Response, a cause close to her heart. We spoke to her to find out a bit more about her experience…

What were your motivations to take on the Great North Run?

My husband convinced me that I would be able to do it. So I entered the ballot, secretly hoping I wouldn’t get a place, then when I did, I realised I would have to go through with it! I run 5k at York parkrun every week, but 13.1 miles was further than I ever thought I could do.

Why did you decide to support United Response?

After getting a place in the ballot, I decided to use it to raise some money for a charity that I have a personal connection with.

United Response have supported my brother for several years and they have always gone above and beyond to help him to be active, independent and part of his community. Without their support, he wouldn’t be able to live in his own flat and live a full and fulfilling life.

What was training like?

The training was gruelling. I find I run best in the mornings so I would get up at 5:30am to get in a run before work. I started with increasing my normal 5k, and gradually built up to over two-hour runs. I’m not a fast runner, and probably never will be, but I was really pleased to find that I could keep going without stopping.

How did you find the fundraising part of your challenge?

I set myself a target of £250; I emailed family, friends and work colleagues with a link to my fundraising page as well as posting it on social media. I was totally stunned by the response from everyone I asked (and some I didn’t even ask!) and ended up raising just under £700!

Were there any defining moments of your experience?

Doing the Great North Run is a truly incredible, emotional and, at times, overwhelming experience. I would recommend anyone to try it at least once. Standing at the start line and looking forward at thousands of people, stretching as far as I could see, is a sight I will never forget.

There were so many highlights - from seeing the Red Arrows fly over and running across the Tyne Bridge to the feeling of absolute relief at seeing the sea for the first time (which meant we were nearing the end!).

Seeing my husband and my dad waiting for me at the finish line was the moment I lost my composure; even thinking about that moment makes me well up!

Is there any advice you would give someone looking to take on a challenge?

Aim high! Set yourself a real challenge, not just something you know you can do. If your family and friends know how much of a personal challenge you are taking on, you’ll find they are much more likely to sponsor you.

I would like to add a massive thank you to my colleagues at the City of York Council for their encouragement, support and sympathy in the days after, when I could hardly walk!

Ruth was talking to Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising assistant.

If you’d like to take on your own challenge, like Ruth, please contact our friendly team and we can help you find one that suits you best.

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