A Marathon of a Challenge!

Having been in charge of fundraising at Invicta Grammar School over a number of years and encouraging my colleagues to do something silly for charity, I decided this year it was my turn. 

Running has always been an interest for me and a great stress reliever after a busy week at school so I somewhat naively signed myself up to take on the London Marathon 2016.  My chosen charity, Ambitious about Autism, links effectively to my role as Lead SENCO in the school and is a special needs area I have become more and more interested in over the past few years. 

Once entered for the challenge, it was time to get training and fundraising.  Fortunately, I lead an excellent Sixth Form Events Team who kindly organised a range of fundraising activities to help me achieve my target of £2000.  Activities included a non-uniform day with a sporting theme; Clash of the Titans which saw Year 12 & 13 students pitted against one another to take the crown of strongest year group and a Sumo wrestling activity which saw staff fighting one another in huge ridiculous, and somewhat smelly, plastic Sumo outfits and the students paid to watch!  

I promoted my challenge through a number of assemblies with each year group and shared my training plans in the hope of inspiring them to see the benefits of running as they too were facing the challenge of balancing school work and down time!  

The training was long and quite arduous but I strangely looked forward to getting out on the lanes even on the icy evenings! Not always easy to train in the winter months but fortunately my running friends joined me in late night runs with head torches on!  

As the mornings became brighter, the runs moved to the crack of dawn before school and were actually more pleasant than they sound.  My long runs had to be done on a Sunday because as I increased my mileage they obviously took longer.  This made Monday mornings in school interesting especially when I was at 18 and 20-mile runs!  

Before I knew it the big day arrived on Sunday 24 May 2016 and I had to run 26.2 miles.  I knew on the Saturday night before the event that I had achieved my sponsorship target which was really motivating and achieved through a student parent sponsorship which was inspiring. 

Friends and family were travelling down to come and support me on the roadside.  People told me in the build-up that it is the crowds which help you through and they are not wrong!  Miles 15-18 were challenging but strangely mile 21+ went like a dream which was a huge relief!  

Crossing the line and receiving the medal was emotional and it took a while for the adrenalin rush to settle down afterwards.  I was so pleased to have achieved my goal and although Monday morning at school was another challenge to face, the support and congratulations from students and staff throughout the day made the aches and pains worthwhile.  

A few Sixth Formers have even told me I have inspired them to take up running and try for the London marathon in the future.  I can highly recommend it and now have extensive material for future assemblies no matter what the theme of the week!

Visit my fundraising page if you would like to make a donation to Ambitious about Autism.

Alison Rivers

Senior Assistant Head: Head of Sixth Form 

Invicta Grammar School

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