The Great North Volunteer

by Emily Wastell on September 19, 2016

One of our amazing volunteers Jen took the plunge and ran The Great North Run to raise funds for Success4All. She has written a wonderful blog about her experience, which gave us some laughs but really reminded us of all the hard work and challenges she had to overcome. Thank you Jen, you’re a star!

‘I decided to run the Great North Run for Success4All after just a month or so of volunteering at the Walker Learning Hub. I was so impressed by the work done by Success4All and the support it provided to the students attending the Hub. I started volunteering at the Learning Hub at the same time as 3 English as a second language pupils and I was able to see how far and how quickly their English language skills improved; not only helping them in school but with their social and everyday lives too.

Whilst volunteering I realised the difficulty in accessing funding for the Learning Hubs and wanted to find a way to help support the work of Success4All. Barely having run 1 mile, 13.1 miles seemed like a good enough challenge! I began the cold wintery training while volunteering at the Hub and that was motivation enough to keep me going! When the race day arrived I had only managed to run 9.5 miles as my farthest training run but so many people told me if you can run 10 miles, crowd support is enough to carry you through the last 3 (that’s what they said… what they could’ve said was that nearly the entire race is a ‘gradual’ uphill!), so I figured I was ready!

On the Saturday morning before the race I woke up with cold and flu and was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I didn’t let myself feel ill and reminded myself why I had signed up! On the race morning it was gorgeous weather and the atmosphere was fantastic. Not from Newcastle myself, I have to say there is no city that does hospitality better. That was true all the way around the race- people came out of their houses to offer orange slices, jelly babies and even ice lollies- I think I survived on the sugar. Apart from mile 11 when I got calf cramp I was able to run without stopping which was my aim, I didn’t have a time goal but I did want to be able to say I did the race without stopping.

In total I raised £400 for Success4All and I’d like to say a huge thank you for everyone’s support and donations. I hope this small bit of fundraising can inspire more volunteers to take up a challenge and raise even more for a very worthy cause.’