Pell & Bales Fundraiser goes the extra mile…well, the extra 26.2!

Guest Blogger: Chloe St Clair Stannard, Pell & Bales Fundraiser, London

Before working at Pell & Bales I didn’t really do anything for charity apart from buy clothes in the charity shops. Learning about so many different ones inspired me to want to do more to help, so when my mum announced to the family she could no longer run the marathon as she had broken her leg I jumped at the chance at running it for her. At the time I was calling on a campaign where we were asking people to set up a regular gift to the charity their loved ones had chosen to run the marathon for. It was incredible to talk to supports about running the marathon and they made me really excited about what was to come.

When I set up my just giving page it asked me how much money I thought I could raise, my mum told me to put £500 down, but I looked at her and said ‘£500? I’m a Charity Fundraiser mum, I can do better than that!’ so I put down £2000.

I started writing to friends and family about sponsorship and I found I was using a lot of the same phrases that are in the P&B scripts. The donations started flooding in. Whenever I get a yes on the phones it makes me buzz so much and I started getting that same buzz every time someone donated on my page. It was a fantastic feeling and I just wanted more and more donations – I was immensely addicted to the buzz. Knowing that I am making such a difference to other people’s lives really does make you feel amazing and I didn’t really know how good it felt until I became a Charity Fundraiser at P&B.

So yes I can now say I ran the 2012 Virgin London Marathon, and what an awesome experience!

My Step Dad David and I set off at 8am, it was so surreal arriving at Greenwich Park and just seeing tens of thousands of runners, and some wearing the most ridicules outfits – my favourite being a mankini… OUCH…. massive chafe or what??
Standing waiting for the race to begin, I got last minute nerves which meant I suddenly had to pee. With all dignity flying out of the window I looked for the nearest bush and as I frantically climbed in, the bush branches punished my disgusting behaviour by giving me a massive double scratch all the way down my arm. A sacrifice I had to make for about 3 drops of wee, but a war wound I am proud of. When I came out of the bush four other anxious looking girls were waiting to also pee. I warned them about the bush’s violent tendencies. But I just got confused looks in return.
As the race began I couldn’t quite believe what was happening… I was actually running the bloody marathon! After months and months of training this day was finally here, so bizarre I can’t tell you. I just couldn’t believe the amount of supporters who were standing on the side cheering us all on it was quite emotional to be honest. There were children holding out there hands for a passing touch as you went past… I must say I did get a little carried away with high fiving all the hands and David soon told me to reserve my energy as I was just getting too excited. This was David’s 4th Marathon so he knew what he was talking about.
There were so many bands and live dj’s on the street I didn’t even need my iPod. It was basically one long street party. People were holding out sweets and fruit as you ran past which was essential to keep my blood sugar up as I’m a type one diabetic. There was even a woman holding her bunny rabbit on the side of the road as she cheered everyone on.

As you can see from the photos I had my name on my SeeAbility running vest, and it was so encouraging to have complete strangers shout out my name, especially as it got harder. Mile 22 was the killer; I had never run more than 20 miles in training and as I reached mile 22 my body was screaming PLEASE NO MORE CHLOE, PLEASE!! I’M BEGGING YOU! But I still had 4.2 miles to go and I just had to carry on even though my shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, calves and toes were in more pain than I could ever describe. I know I’m just guessing but I reckon it was more painful than child birth. It was hard to cry and breath so my cries just turned into moans on every step forward, I had quite a few strange looks for this odd coping mechanism.

I completely missed my brother and his girlfriend who had been waiting 5 hours to see me as they screamed frantically at me as I hobbled past.

When I saw that finish line I nearly collapsed it was the best thing I have ever seen in my whole life. I couldn’t wait to get there, but those last 50 meters were the hardest ones and it felt like forever! Then I saw my mum and my boyfriend in the grandstand just before the finishing line, so I just went for it and ran as fast as I could, and oh how wonderful it felt after 5hours 29mins and 43 seconds to finally finish. It makes me cry thinking back to that moment, my body in agony; my medal around my neck, my marathon ran. Although this is a gruelling endurance test it was also one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone.

It would be so fantastic if you could all sponsor me, I’m not going to make three asks and I don’t care if you’re a pensioner!!!

Please go to Clair Stannard.

SeeAbility’s purpose is to encourage people who are blind or partially sighted and have other multiple disabilities to achieve their full potential and enhance their quality of life.