31 March 2016
Alex Rodgers running a marathon
Alex Rodger completed his 1st marathon in 2015 and was inspired to run 30 miles on his 30th birthday. He then thought he could spend the whole of his 30th year doing stupid stuff for Macmillan!
Alex tells us why…
‘I spent 12 months on a charity mission to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. My campaign was called The Big 30 as it commenced on my 30th birthday and concluded on my 31st. Throughout the year I have ran 7 half marathons, 4 marathons, 4 ultra-marathons and many other distance runs. I cycled 60 miles through Essex, 100 miles through East Anglia and all the way to Brussels from my home town of Cambridge. I organised a golf day, a cricket match and a fancy dress festive football match and completed a Tough Mudder, went Cheese Rolling and competed at the World Conker Championships. It's been really hard at times but absolutely great fun as well.
‘There are so many high points to reflect back on. Running the last 10 kilometres of a 30 miler with all my friends was a special moment. Day 3 of the bike ride to Brussels was incredible. Having spent 80 miles meandering through the hills of Kent on day 2, me and my mate were exhausted. We woke in Dover and crossed by ferry to Calais on calm seas and sunshine and spent most of the day riding at over 20mph through, not only beautiful, but flat French countryside with the wind on our backs. Also, going on adventure with my Dad up to Inverness, 1,200 miles in a weekend and sleeping in the back of the car so I could run the Loch Ness marathon in September.
‘There was really only one point in which I felt truly down throughout all these challenges which was when I finally had to give up on my Brighton to Cambridge run in March. I wanted to end the year with the biggest challenge of them all, a run from Brighton Pier to Girton, Cambridge. I started fast (too fast) and reached London Bridge, half way, in 11 hours. It all started to fall apart from then. I was cold and wet and struggling to hold body heat, it was 2am and I was running through some unfriendly suburbs of north London. Both support cars were attracting unwanted attention from Saturday night drunks and I was running fuelled only by the fear of stopping.
‘The sun rose at 6.15am but by now my body was in bits. At 7.20am on a street bench in Hoddesdon I had to end the run. With 80 miles and 17 hours of running behind me I was 35 miles short of Cambridge, but I couldn't continue. I was gutted, this was by far the lowest point of the whole year. Little was I to know, it would shortly be followed by the highest point. As we returned to Cambridge, my local pub in Girton was absolutely jammed full of friends and family to celebrate the success of the year, the atmosphere was great, we chatted and I had my 1st beer in 3 months. There was a small presentation of a large cheque of money raised by the locals and they made me realise that although that challenge was a step too far, the year as a whole was a huge success. This display of friendship, togetherness and support was the greatest highlight of the year. It was a special day that I will never forget.
‘I chose Macmillan as my charity because I was aware of the amazing work they do every day. I thought I understood how incredible Macmillan's support was, I have spoken to so many people throughout the year who have told me their stories and why they want to donate to Macmillan. I started to realise I'd hugely underestimated the importance and impact that Macmillan Cancer Support plays in people's lives. It's truly astonishing and I'm so proud to be able to donate all this money to help this work continue.’
Jessica Wilson Fundraising Manager Bedfordshire ‘We have loved hearing about Alex’s incredible challenges over the last year, whilst we think he is slightly bonkers we are also in awe of his achievement. Through his hard work and dedication he has raised an incredible £10,082 so far for Macmillan Cancer Support. This money will make a real difference to the lives of people living with cancer in the local area, from providing financial grants to those struggling to cope with the financial cost of cancer, to ensuring that our healthcare professionals can provide the emotional and medical support they need. Alex is such a star and we really can’t thank him enough. The question is what’s next on the cards ....’