We’re always pleased when people go out of their way to raise money for our charity by organising events, activities or by taking on challenges, so we were thrilled when Colin Jeffery of Iceni Magazine said he wanted to run the Yorkshire Marathon for us. Taking place on 20th October 2019, Colin proudly donned his Benjamin Foundation running vest and running shoes to tackle the challenge! We caught up with him after the event to hear all about this amazing experience:

How long have you been running?

I started running at the beginning of 2018. I’d had a challenging few months personally and I needed to clear my head. I’d watched all the mad people running, whatever the weather, in the park opposite where I lived. “I can do that,” I thought to myself, so I chucked on a pair of trainers, jogging bottoms and a t-shirt and went for it. It was a struggle to start with, but I soon fell in love. It certainly helped me!

What made you decide to run the Yorkshire Marathon?

I didn’t. My partner, Vicki, who remembers every word I say, bought me entry as my Christmas present last year.  I said that I fancied undertaking a marathon as a challenge. She took my words and turned them into reality. Yorkshire was an obvious choice for her to make as she is a North Yorks lass and it fell on the first weekend of the October half-term holidays. She’s a teacher, so wanted to support me and this was the perfect weekend on which to do it.

What inspired you to run for The Benjamin Foundation?

I’ve been a supporter of The Benjamin Foundation for a long time now. Having done the Sleep Out a few years running, now was the time for a different challenge. I have seen the amazing things that the charity does for the Norfolk community, so it was an obvious choice.

How did you prepare?

If you read my blog via the Iceni Magazine website, you’ll see that I class myself as a maverick runner. I don’t really like to follow any sort of advice in most areas of life. However, I did download a marathon training plan. It sat on the corner of my desk gathering dust. I used common sense and built up my runs to twenty miles a couple of weeks before the big day. I also attempted to improve my diet and ensure I had sufficient nutrition to allow me to put my body through this huge undertaking.

Was there anything you were anxious about?

I don’t like saying I will do something when I feel there is a risk of me not being able to. Not completing the marathon was my biggest worry.

What were you looking forward to the most?

Being able to say that I am part of the 1% of the world’s population who have run a marathon. Oh and the beer at the end. However, that was non-alcoholic, so it didn’t really make the mark!

What was the atmosphere like on the day?

This was my first ever race, so I didn’t really know what to expect. However, I was pleased to have so much support from the spectators who lined so much of the course. Fellow runners were incredibly encouraging too.

Where did the route take you?

The course began at the university and quickly snaked towards York Minster. We ended up in the Yorkshire countryside for a significant proportion of the race and then at mile 19 began to head back towards the university, finishing in the same place as we began. As an Arsenal fan, the thought of going to Stamford Bridge always fills me with disgust! I was right to feel that way as, although hundreds of miles away from Chelsea, the Yorkshire Stamford Bridge was absolutely the worst part of the course. However, I sneaked a kiss from Vicki at that point, so there was a little bonus!

What were the highlights as you ran the course?

Seeing hordes of people outside the Minster was pretty impressive. I also had a farmer tell me he thought that Colin is a good, strong name, so that was quite unexpected!

What was your time?

I finished in 4 hours 1 minute and 32 seconds. My aim was 4 hours, so although I didn’t quite achieve that, I am pleased with my time.

What did you feel like when you crossed the line?

In pain! Everything hurt. I was relieved as well.

How much money did you raise?

I wrote a regular blog to support my fundraising efforts. Explaining the work I was undertaking in preparation for the marathon hopefully allows people to see just how much was going into this fundraising mission. I exceeded my target of £150 and raised £180.

How do you feel knowing that the money you’ve raised will help local people?

Although running the marathon was a personal challenge, knowing I was able to do some good for The Benjamin Foundation and the Norfolk community was an added bonus.

How did you relax post-race?

A non-alcoholic beer was straight after the race, but later, we headed into the city centre and had a huge meal. I was refuelling and had a couple of cocktails too. Despite us both being absolutely shattered, my mind was racing and I struggled to really relax fully. Vicki was fast asleep was before me. Apparently, being a spectator means you exhaust yourself too. Or so she keeps reminding me!

I’d really like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported me on my journey from beginner to marathon runner. Also, the card that I was sent wishing me good luck from The Benjamin Foundation was really touching and well-received.

A huge thank you to Colin for his marathon challenge in support of our charity!

If Colin has inspired you and you would like to support our charity by taking on a sporting challenge to bring hope, opportunity, stability and independence to local people going through tough times, we would love to hear from you. Please contact 01603 886932 or click here to learn more.

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