I have a friend called Michael who’s pretty special. A lot of my friends are special, of course, but this one is quite unlike anyone else I’ve ever known. When the London 2012 Olympics ended, he set himself the challenge of racing in every city that’s hosted the Summer Olympics before Rio 2016. And then he did it. And then he wrote a hugely entertaining book about it. One of the letters we received as part of Rachel’s big box full of love was from Michael. And in it, he asked mine and Rachel’s permission to run from his house in London to my house in Leicestershire to raise money for the causes that mean a lot to us. I cried (of course) and we both agreed wholeheartedly.
Since then, he’s been putting together a plan and working out the finer details, which are as follows. Over the course of six days in July, Michael’s going to run 127 miles, carrying nothing with him but a solar charger and his mobile phone (which he’ll use for directions, to buy food, to book hotels and to buy new running clothes each day). It’s pretty hardcore. And it’s so touching that I nearly burst into tears every time I think about it (usually when I’m struggling to reach 5k on the treadmill).
Michael’s built a website, where you can read more about him, his challenge, and mine and Rachel’s story (for those who don’t know it). Plus where you can donate, or get in touch if you’d like to be involved in any way (perhaps by joining him for part of the route, or helping to publicise this enormously generous act). We’ve thought long and hard about where the funds should go, and we’re offering three options so you can choose where to pledge your support. If you’d like to donate, you can use the links below or go through Michael’s challenge website.
- Breast Cancer Care, who’ve helped me since my diagnosis, most significantly by giving me a place on a Younger Women Together event, where I met some wonderful women who understood exactly what I was dealing with.
- The Stroke Association, the UK’s leading charity dedicated to conquering stroke.
- A personal fundraiser to help with the cost of the equipment and home renovations Rachel will need when she’s ready to come home.
I am still reeling from Michael’s generosity and dedication, and I can’t wait to welcome him with open arms (maybe after a shower) and a well-earned glass of champagne when he’s finished. In the meantime, I’d be enormously grateful if you’d help us by spreading the word as far as you possibly can.