The thought of popping to the gym for a lunchtime jog sometimes feels like a bit too much effort for me, so when Chris Jackson told me he planned to run a treadmill marathon during a charity gala to raise cash for Women for Women I decided to put down my sandwich and see how we could help.
“How often is it when you come up with an idea and then when you try work out how to do it, it seems impossible?
A few months back I came up with the idea of running a marathon on a treadmill at the charity gala, which Women for Women were hosting. I’ve been a supporter of their work for a long time and thought that it’d be pretty cool to run a marathon at their annual gala and also help to raise a few bob (the plan was to have a big sweepstake on my finishing time). The charity loved the idea all that was left was to get training, find a treadmill and then get running on the night.
Well the first part has been pretty straight forward as I’ve been training for a marathon for the last few months as I’m preparing to run a marathon in the Congo in June. I’ve got a fair bit of experience in running marathons as one of the reason why I suggested running a marathon at the event in the first place was because I’d previously ran 12 marathons in 12 months for Women for Women.
When I first suggested the idea of running a marathon on a treadmill I hadn’t actually thought of the logistics behind it, if I had I probably would have just gone with a sponsored silence or bake sale.
I began my search for a treadmill. It seemed logical to go straight to my gym to ask them if I could borrow one. After a lengthy discussion on the phone, it seemed that it wouldn’t be possible because of a variety of reasons dressed up as health and safety.
I soon discovered you can actually hire a treadmill for about 30 quid a day, this seemed perfect, I sent in a few requests to get quotes and it turns out if you want to hire one you need to for at least a week or more. Now I like running as much as the next person, but I really couldn’t justify renting a treadmill for a whole week, where the hell would I put it after the run?
So with that idea scratched I decided to take my quest to Twitter. I started firing off tweets to gyms of all sizes and also to the likes of Runners World who helped share my problem with its followers, who in turn then asked their gyms. It worked, a few days later the Gym Group came back to say they’d love to let me borrow a treadmill.
After securing the treadmill I relaxed a little bit, thinking that the hard part was over. Time has flown by over the last few weeks and with less than 7 days until the race I still hadn’t worked out how to transport it, I think I’d be avoiding the question.
Given the immediate success I had on Twitter, I decided to go straight back and ask if anyone had a van they could lend me. The response was pretty flat, I suppose there aren’t too many people out there with a van, and those that do would probably charge to shift the 180kg running machine from Waterloo to Banqueting House in Westminster.
The only thing I could think of was Zipcar, I knew a few people who had used it in the past, but they couldn’t get time off work on a Thursday afternoon to drive a treadmill across London and then back the next morning. So I went straight to them, I didn’t hear much for a week or so and then my phone buzzed and it was a message from Zipcar letting me know they’d supply the van for free! Perfect result.
Like I said at the start when you get these great ideas they can be quickly killed off by practicalities. But over the last few weeks with some pestering, tweeting and the good will of a few companies it’s helped turn my rather wacky idea into reality. Now I can’t wait to start pounding the treadmill on Thursday night and raising as much money for Women for Women as possible.”