Lots of people feel motivated to get into shape or improve their fitness as soon as a New Year starts but Jamie McDonald took that to the extreme with his January Challenge for Reverse Rett.
Jamie decided to run January. Starting on NYD with 1 mile and finishing on January 31st with 31, he ran 507.5 miles in total (he ran 11.5 miles more than necessary) during the month and spent the month sober just to make it that extra bit tougher.
Jamie has been doing challenges and supporting Reverse Rett for a few years now in honour of Shona.
Below Jamie explains how he found his ‘month from hell.’
My intention with this challenge, first and foremost, was to push myself to a limit I hadn’t ever thought of reaching before and to get myself out of my comfort zone. I have read a few autobiographies in recent years of individuals overcoming incredible odds for an event or challenge in their life and I admired that commitment to a cause because it took guts to take it on and see it through.
Part of me knew that I had to take this opportunity to raise awareness and money for this fantastic cause. By doing so, I gave myself no way of getting out of this challenge without going through it, making it public would keep me accountable when times got tough.
The first half of the month was no real danger for me as I have become more comfortable with distance running over the past few years but as I worked my way into week three, that is where my momentum and attitude toward the challenge started to wobble. If I am perfectly honest, the 24th of January was a fairly unpleasant day for me. I was tired, aching and my pace had seriously dropped below what I had envisioned it to be at and I felt totally finished, which was crushing for me. I was in pieces, physically and emotionally. That is where my vital support crew came in, at this moment it was my Mum who really helped me piece myself together when I felt like I was finished. She knew just what to say to reset my mentality and to remind me of how far I have come and that I should be proud no matter how far I go. That is when I knew I needed to go all the way.
That is when my approach to the challenge shifted from trying to run each day with an impressive time and just to go the distance. That is what the challenge was really about, setting myself this goal that on paper seemed insane, then digging deep and getting the miles in. Having my family there by my side for a good portion of the last week was instrumental to crossing the finish line after mile thirty-one. Even having someone to march by my side to chat with and take my mind off of the pain in my calves and feet, played a vital role in me getting through those near two-hundred miles of week four. I couldn’t have done it without their continued support.
The support from family and friends for fundraising efforts in the past has been good but this time round the support was incredible. Having words of encouragement along the journey and watching the JustGiving total continue to climb as the weeks went on was a real motivator to grit my teeth and keep pushing.
Another incredible milestone during the challenge came in the form of a very generous £1,000 donation from Ian Mills at Exceed Energy. An enthusiastic supporter to this journey and the cause, having support like that truly blew me away.
The reason I took on this challenge, just like my previous running challenges, is because of my cousin Debi’s daughter, Shona. Seeing all the work that Debi puts in to look after Shona gave me an incentive to get involved with fundraising efforts myself. Shona has been living with Rett Syndrome for 14 years now so I want to do what I can to make Rett Syndrome a thing of the past as quickly as possible.
Bravo Jamie, thank you for taking on this mammoth challenge and congratulations on raising so much money and awareness.
Looking forward to seeing what bonkers challenge you come up with next!
If you would like to support Jamie’s efforts then you can donate to his Just Giving page here