Town and Gown case studies
Why I run the Oxford Town & Gown 10k
by Adam Smith
Why do I run? A question I often ask myself on a dark winter’s night in the cold and rain. I started running a few years ago as part of a ‘lifestyle change’, trying to get fit after several years of doing little more than run after the kids occasionally – let’s be honest and call it an early midlife crisis. I quite enjoyed the running, but was struggling to stay motivated. A couple of colleagues persuaded me to sign up for a 10k run, the Town & Gown in Oxford. I was a bit dubious but the fact that it was organised by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign clinched it.
You see, my family has a history of myotonic dystrophy (a form of muscular dystrophy). It’s been there almost as long as I can remember. My mum, brother, uncle and cousin have all suffered from it, and so it has always been part of normal life for me. My brother Douglas is the last surviving member of our family living with this terrible disease. He is 43 and is now severely disabled. It might sound a bit strange and incredibly selfish, but it had never occurred to me to find out more about the disease, the charities trying to find a cure, or to raise money for them.
This is when it all fell into place for me: running and the Muscular Dystrophy UK. Running has become my main hobby and I now regularly take part in races. I have so far run the Oxford Town & Gown 10k twice, and have already signed up for the 2013 race. I love the Town & Gown. The atmosphere at the start line is wonderful – friendly, good natured, everyone joking and chatting, anticipating the race ahead. The course takes you right through the heart of the city (dreaming spires and all!), all the roads we run on are closed to traffic, we basically take over the city for a day and turn it orange. And the crowds all the way along the course are fantastic and really supportive, making it feel like a real event.
Massive support, great flat course, beautiful backdrop of historic buildings, what more could you want?
Oh yes, the opportunity to raise money for a fantastic cause! The Muscular Dystrophy UK supports people who are affected by muscle wasting conditions, and funds world class research to find treatment and cures. They have provided emotional and practical support to me, and I know many people whose families have relied heavily on them. The fundraising effort for me is now all part of the race preparation, and just as fulfilling.
Now I’ve decided to take it all a stage further. The Muscular Dystrophy UK have kindly given me one of their places for the 2013 Virgin London Marathon. The training and fundraising has already started, and I am part of a fantastic Muscular Dystrophy UK team. We’re all really excited about the prospect of running 26.2 miles through the streets of London in April. As always the Muscular Dystrophy UK are providing all the support and expertise you’d expect from a leading charity – regular training updates, an online community, fundraising tips and more.
So why not put your muscles to work and join us for one of the upcoming Town & Gown 10k races.
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