Not So Strictly
Our Not So Strictly dance event earlier this year was a huge success! We got excellent feedback from everyone who attended and participated and the show was truly spectacular! From Lady Gaga to Wham, the dancers wowed the crowds with their energetic and sometimes funny routines before joining up to do a few group dances! The event raised over £10,000 for Aware which is a huge achievement for all involved! We would like to thank all our dancers who took part, our judges, Mickey Doherty the compere and Coco Chanel.
We were thrilled to be one of the nominated charities in this year's Celtic Chrono, the only pre-Olympic qualifying event in Northern Ireland. Over 300 leisure cyclists took part in the event that also saw 50 elite female and paralympic cyclists compete for qualifying points to get them to the London games. Overall winner of the event was local woman, Wendy Houvenaghel, who is part of Team GB for the Olympic Games.
In recent months we have had quite a few fundraisers taking part in White Collar Boxing to raise money for Aware. This is an enormous challenge that takes fitness, strength and bravery to go face to face with an opponent in a room full of cheering spectators! So far, our fundraisers have raised over £3000 by doing these events. If it's something you're interested in, contact Lorraine in our fundraising team.
Ian Cardwell is one member of Team Aware who participated in the Belfast Marathon. Ian finished the marathon, all 26.2 miles of it, despite being in extreme pain and having to walk the final miles. His blog entry for the marathon is amazing. If you've ever wondered why people push themselves to finish a challenge, this might give you some insight!
From everyone at Aware, we want to thank Ian and the rest of our marathon runners for raising well over £2000.
Jonny Gardner is one of our inspirational runners! He recently ran the Seeley cup 10k in Belfast (in the snow!) and raised £260 for Aware and his next challenge is the Larne half marathon. We asked Jonny to keep a training diary to chart is progress from occasional jogger to Marathon Runner!
Was very glad to get Christmas out of the way, a very stressful time for all concerned. I took a couple of weeks off from any kind of exercise and honestly wasn't expecting it to affect my mood as much as it did! I was grumpy and short tempered for longer than I have been all year! (I blame the brussel sprouts)
I'm now 2 weeks into my 10 week half marathon training plan. I was very glad to get back into a routine, I felt lost without a structure and something to aim for.
Training has been going well, total mileage so far is 29 miles, with a longest run of 6 miles. My mood has increased significantly, have lost nearly all of my Christmas weight and feel healthy and strong and well up for the oncoming challenge!
Week ending- 23/1/11
Last week saw me run the longest run I've ever ran. Which resulted in me surpassing my weekly and monthly mileage records all at the same time! To say I was chuffed in an understatement! I've went from un fitty to slightly fitter in 4 1/2 months.
Week 3 of the training is the week that I think it finally all caught up with me. Legs are sore, feet are sore, knees are sore etc. A combination of running shoes that are at the end of their useful life and running too quickly meant that the Saturday long run up 6 mile of hills, (then down for 2 miles) wasn't one I was looking forward to. But, I managed it. Yesterday afternoon I came home and ate ALL of the carbs!
I'm looking forward to next week, it has exactly the same run structure as the week just past, so I'm confident I can complete it. My mood has been excellent, getting out for a run means you get time to think and get things straight in your head. I do all my runs and training with my best mate and having someone there as well to natter to is a great help. We actually talked about how we reckon our conversational skills will have greatly improved by the time we have finished the training. I thought I talked enough already!!
Week ending 20th February 2011
A month to go.
Have had a hectic last 3 weeks! Training related, ran my longest distance ever (10 miles twice) and even managed to have a rest week! Have bought 2 new pairs of running shoes, started off road running and I'm feeling confident for the half marathon.
The rest week was due to a miscalculation on my part, a 10 week schedule should have really been 11 weeks long. I ran twice during that week, nowhere near the mileage or pace of normal training runs. It definitely helped to give my legs a rest, but my mood wasn't great. Thankfully it was only a week and I was really glad to get stuck back into the schedule. I missed the training if I'm honest, knowing what I had to do on any given day helps focus my mind.
Hopefully I'll remain fit and healthy for the run.
Mervyn's diary of his climb up Kilimanjaro!
Well, I did it. Just!
For anyone thinking of undertaking a similar trek, one word of advice- do not underestimate this mountain!
In order to give you a brief insight into my trip, this is a condensed version of a journal I took.
All the training and anticipation was over- we were on our way! More walking than hiking today. Stayed in huts overnight.
Another easy days hiking.
Starting to feel the effects of the high altitude
Suffering from severe headaches now, and barely able to eat. Despite this, I still feel surprisingly strong and upbeat.
On the last day before our final climb to the summit. I feel really tired and lethargic today. I rested for a while before being woken at midnight for the final push. I was advised not to climb due to my poor health but I knew I had to soldier on.
It wasn’t long before I questioned whether or not I had made the correct decision. However, 5 hours and 30 minutes later I had finally reached Gilman’s Point (one of the official summit points).
A final big thank you to everyone who sponsored me. Without your support and well wishes, I truly would never have made it- Mervyn.
I’ve just returned from Stockholm where I experienced the agony and ecstasy of running and finishing a marathon! I felt quietly confident on arrival there last Friday morning, the temperature was in the mid teens (50’s) and there was a gentle breeze about the place. I did my final training run and had no reaction to my troubling achilles.
One thing about Stockholm during the summer that people should know is that sunrise is 3am! And so my day started a little earlier than expected, a good 11 hours before race time!
I made my way down to the race start for just after 1230pm where a quick inspection of the thermometer showed 26 degrees (79 faherenheit), where did that weather come from?? For the next 90 minutes, I tried to keep cool the best way I could by taking shade under the trees while listening to some ‘stones on the ipod. The urge to get out and run was overwhelming.
At 2pm the starters gun released all 18376 of us onto the streets of Stockholm, The first few miles were crazy. As it was my first marathon I was placed near the end of the pack so I spent my first few miles trying to weave my way up through to the top of the pack and in between that and dodging parked cars I managed to get up to run with the 3hour 30 pace maker. I was feeling good so ran past him and caught up with the 3 hour group of runners (6:45 mins per mile). I clocked 5 k in 22 mins and 10k in 45 mins.
By the time it came around to the 13 mile mark the sun was relentless. With each water station (every 2km) I was drinking more and more water, on km 21 I was given a gherkin! Euugh, I hate the stuff it nearly made me throw-up. There were other forms of relief with shower stations placed every 3-5 kms along the route, they became more and more welcoming. It’s hard to describe how it feels running in temperatures of 30 deg’s (86), the roads started to get narrower and the support felt like it was closing in on me. I still felt good, just when I thought I had gone through the worst of it and climbed the Vasterbron for the second time and with the temperatures soaring into the 30’s, I felt this sharp pain in my left calf. I took a look at my watch, 2hours 36 (distance 20.75 miles).
Time did stand still for a moment - what now? I was still a long way from home. I looked over at the side of the road and there were two girls screaming at someone – I guessed it must have been me. If only I could have had a picture of that moment, I’m sure it must have been one of total resignation! I was beat. But then, please excuse me if this sounds cliché, I thought of what this was really all about and why I was really out there. I started to set myself some goals; I would start to jog a little until the next water station and then stop – no this was not to be! The last 6 miles seemed like forever, I jogged a few hundred yards, then walked for a few min’s to the next station, drowned myself in water and then onto the next, I did this 7 times. I must admit I did think of dropping out, as I ambled along and with the sun relentless, I think I must have started hallucinating too. The crowd seemed to climb in on top of me (think the tour de France when the cyclists are climbing the Alps and Pyrenees) and either side of the road there seemed to be endless banners and posters with what seemed to me the same familiar faces. There was a few comical moments too, "Wow some guys are getting some great support, they’ve gone to a lot of trouble getting banners and posters done up”. Then after a few moments it dawned on me, it’s the MEP elections coming up soon! I was starting to lose touch of reality!
At the 40 km flag I decided I would run the last 2 kms and was determined to enter the Olympic stadium in something resembling a jog! I put the ipod back on, selected U2 and went for one last dash. I got to the stadium and the clock was showing 3:36, not too bad. I wish I could have appreciated it more but I was just looking for the finish line despite having a packed stadium cheering all of us runners on. I finally crossed the line in 3 hours 40:42. I made sure to get my medal on the way out and also have a commemorative t-shirt to mark the day. Of course, 20 minutes later, the cramp had eased. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but you really never do forget your first time!
Thanks for all your generous contributions and well wishes.
Take care and talk soon,
running the London Marathon