MND Association part-funded PhD Student, Dr Tamlyn Watermeyer passed her PhD viva in February 2014. Here she writes about her 10K run in aid of the MND Association.
The last time I ran in a race was at my school’s sport day. I came stone last. In fact, while completing the 1200m the umpire started the next scheduled race while I ran past the 800m point because I was taking too long. Embarrassed but stubborn, I finished that 1200m; later salvaging my pride with a familiar cliché: “it’s not about wining; it’s about participating” – a handy outlook developed from always being picked last for the volleyball team. Fast forward a decade later, I still showed little athletic promise but, spurred on by New Year’s Eve merlot, I publicly declared my 2014 resolution to run a 10K in aid of the MND Association. So… publicly, there was no way out of the intense training schedule…
I won’t lie, committing to the training (unless you want to wing it on the day) is tough. But there is a sense of triumph with each session that spurs you on. When inspiration did wear thin, I carried a mental catalogue of all the people with MND whom I was fortunate enough to meet while conducting research into the disease. The resilience shown by these individuals and their families will stay with me forever and this was my way of thanking them for their generosity towards my study. The MND Association contributed towards some of my study’s expenses so I also saw fundraising as a way to “top-up” the funds from which future researchers could benefit.
Before I knew it I was in Paula Radcliffe shape. Well, not exactly, but I could run without passing out for 45 mins. On race day, the atmosphere was electric with novice and elite runners alike dressed in their chosen charity attire. I didn’t quite make it in ‘elite time’ but I completed the 10K in just over an hour. The pride you feel with just crossing that finish line borders on narcissism. Even better is the knowledge that you had friends and family behind you supporting a cause close to your heart. It makes you want to do it all over again!
Fundraising for the MND Association could not be simpler or more straightforward. Once you notify them of your intention, you are assigned a personal events co-ordinator who supplies you with the all the needed paraphernalia (MND Association logos, t-shirts, etc) to get your fundraising noticed. I also signed up to an online fundraising website (e.g. Virgin Money Giving: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/) so that I could email (spam) friends and family with donation requests. And you don’t have to run a marathon or swim an ocean. The adventurous could choose sky-diving, while the creative might organise a cake-baking master class. Anything goes. All you have to do, it turns out, is participate.