What am I doing?

Hi, my name's Matt. I'm a trustee of a UK charity called Horizons International and a keen amateur runner. I have decided to combine these two passions to help raise money for good causes.

What's the challenge?

During 2016 I will run a race for each month of the year and aim to raise an average of £200 per race, or £2,400 for the year.

Due to the nature of race scheduling, and my personal commitments, this will not be one race per calendar month, but will be 12 races throughout the calendar year.

I have not restricted myself to any particular distance, although I favour races between 5km and 10km. I don't mind whether they are on roads, trails or fells. They will all be in the UK and ideally within reasonable distance from my home in Manchester.

Why is this a challenge?

My distance running has only become serious in the last year or so. I joined the Greenfield Greyhounds, my local running group, in October 2014 and have tried to run with more frequency and effort since then.

I'm not a very long distance runner - 10km is the furthest I've raced - and I'm not a seasoned racer either. I don't know if there is such a thing as a running season, but let's call 2015 my first one... I've run 4 races: two in May 2015, one in October 2015 (all 10km) and a 5km Santa Dash in December 2015.

So while I run regularly, I do have my limits. To race every month will be a big challenge for me. To race well, I will need

  • a certain level of fitness,
  • to stay injury free,
  • to devote time to training as well as to racing,
  • to have good running gear,
  • to allow time to recover from races,
  • to stay on schedule.

To do this, I will be inspired by the words of Michael Jordan:
You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them

Who is it for?

Horizons International logo

Horizons International is a charity run by my parents and of which I am a trustee. For almost four decades my mum and dad have committed themselves to improving the lives of people in need. They have mainly focussed their energies in Eastern Europe, but in the last decade their work has expanded to include South American and African countries - wherever needs arise and they can help.

This means they have: seen monumental change; put themselves at risk visiting countries behind the Iron Curtain; been there when that curtain came down; fled from war zones; looked after children and adults at risk and many more things besides. They do their best to improve conditions wherever they are able, whether that is by building a school in Africa or an orphanage in Eastern Europe, by helping to establish Estonia's first drug rehabilitation clinic for women, by supplying aid to Bosnia & Herzegovina at the start of the Balkan war, or more recently by supplying aid to those still suffering from the fallout of that war.

What specifically?

A number of years ago, Horizons International set up a range of projects specifically to support children and young people i.e. the next generation, under the banner "NexGen". This is a year-long fund-raising endeavour that will support ongoing NexGen projects - see Supported projects for more information.

I hope you will find this a worthy cause and will donate generously - whether up front, at the end or throughout the year, as I run my way through this challenge - one race at a time.

Thanks in advance for your support and encouragement,

Matt Carson