With so many major fundraising events cancelled this year one Carlisle man decided to organise his own challenge and ran 5k every day for a month to raise vital funds for a hospice service.
Phil Ward should have been taking part in the Great North Run last month, but when it was cancelled he ended up running over 150k.
Throughout September, he ran 5k every day to fundraise for Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland.
Phil, who is The Cumberland Building Society’s Brand Manager, said: “I should have been doing my first Great North Run in September. When it was postponed until next year I didn’t want my training to go to waste.
“I’m not much of a runner so I knew that doing a 5k run every day was going to be tough – it’s 150k in a month – but raising money for a good cause was all the motivation I needed. Little things often make a big difference, and we have it within us to make someone’s life a little brighter.”
Hospice at Home provides high quality care and support for adults who have palliative and end of life care needs, whilst also supporting their families and carers.
The charity relies on donations for more than 80 per cent of its running costs, so events such as the Great North Run are crucial to their fundraising efforts and are sorely missed this year.
Throughout his September challenge, Mr Ward, who works in The Cumberland’s Kingstown headquarters in Carlisle, posted updates to his colleagues via a company social media account and logged his progress via Strava.
He had been due to tackle the GNR with his colleague, Allister Green, while fellow colleagues from The Cumberland joined him for some of September’s runs.
Mr Ward also revealed a personal motivation for taking on the month-long challenge.
“The Cumberland has been really great with its employees during the pandemic. Even before the lockdown was announced we’d been asked to work from home for our own safety.
“However, as someone that’s worked in an office environment for over 25 years, working at home took some getting used to. The first few months weren’t too bad as the weather was great and it was easy to get some fresh air and sunshine after work, but as the days started to shorten so did my inclination to leave the house.
“To their credit, The Cumberland recognised that this was an issue for a lot of us and introduced a ‘meeting free zone’ at lunchtime to encourage everyone to take a screen break. I took the opportunity to fit in a 30 minute run.
“Completing 30 runs in 30 days was a great way raise vital funds for Hospice at Home, and my generous colleagues helped me raise almost £700. It’s also helped me kick start a new habit. While I may not be running every day going forward, I’ll certainly be making sure I continue getting out of the house for a walk at least.”
While Mr Ward’s 5k challenge is now complete, you can still donate to the cause via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/phillip-ward5kseptember