Tom’s story

On Sunday 15th March I ran my first ever half marathon, as part of my preparations for the London Marathon – it was thoroughly tiring, both mentally and physically. On April 26th I will be attempting to run double that distance, in the 2015 London Marathon. That’s right. Double. It will almost certainly be the most physically challenging event I’ve ever attempted, and that’s coming from a man who once carried seven heavy bags of shopping home in one go.

I’m putting myself through this challenge to raise money for The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF). TBIF provides an essential support structure to homeless and vulnerably housed people around the UK. It helps homeless and vulnerably housed people gain access a range of services, including help with drug and alcohol dependency, soup kitchens, access to housing, money planning and help searching for full time paid work.

During the 4 months I spent as a volunteer with TBIF in 2012, I participated in and saw the incredible, life-changing work that TBIF does for Big Issue vendors around the UK. Whether through everyday acts such as providing food, warm clothes, or seeing vendors gain access to drug and alcohol dependency help or, in one example I will never forget, seeing the joy in the expression of a vendor tell us he was leaving The Big Issue to move on to full time work in psychiatric support for homeless people, The Big Issue foundation provides vital help to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. The money I raise from running the London Marathon 2015 will go towards making sure TBIF can continue to provide this invaluable help to Big Issue vendors.

I’d hugely appreciate any sponsorship you can give me, however small, as it will all contribute to helping TBIF continue its important work:  https://www.justgiving.com/TomSurr/

Many thanks,

Tom

Tom’s Marathon Blog Entry

In my Year 9 sports day at school, one sweltering afternoon in the June of 2004, I ‘volunteered’, at the suggestion of my House Master at very short notice, to run the 1500m race in the inter-house competition. A natural sprinter (and with the 100m final happening shortly after the 1500m, which I went on to win!) I completed just over one lap of the 400m track before giving up and faking a hamstring injury to get out of the race altogether. Fast forward 11 years and I am mere weeks away from attempting to run 26.2 chafing miles for the London Marathon 2015. It will be, without doubt, one of the most physically exhausting events I have ever attempted. For a man who tends to avoid long-distance running of any sort, this will be as much a test of the mind as it will be of the body. I am putting myself to this test to raise money for a cause that is very important to me – The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF).

TBIF provides an essential support structure to homeless and vulnerably housed people around the UK, through its support of Big Issue Magazine vendors. It helps these individuals gain access a range of services, including help with drug and alcohol dependency, soup kitchens, access to housing, money planning and help searching for full time paid work. During the 4 months I spent as a volunteer with TBIF in 2012, I participated in and saw the incredible, life-changing work that TBIF does for Big Issue vendors around the UK. Whether through everyday acts such as providing food, warm clothes, or seeing vendors gain access to drug and alcohol dependency help or, in one example I will never forget, seeing the joy in the expression of a vendor tell us he was leaving The Big Issue to move on to full time work in psychiatric support for homeless people, The Big Issue foundation provides vital help to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. The money I raise from running the London Marathon 2015 will go towards making sure TBIF can continue to provide this invaluable help to Big Issue vendors.

My training plan has progressed pretty nicely, with one long run each week and a few shorter runs/games of 5aside football during the week. The longest run I’ve done as part of my training is 22 miles, with the energy and enthusiasm of the crowds and other runners promising to carry me the extra 4 miles on the day. Despite a few injury setbacks – general knee pain from hours of pounding concrete, a sprained ankle and plantar fasciitis, not to mention the endless blisters and chafing – I arrive at race day with all my bits still together and a reasonable shape to run. My goal from the start has been to finish the marathon regardless of time (as long as I don’t get swept up by the support car). Having completed a half marathon in March in 1.52.29, finishing the marathon in less than 4 hours would be an absolute dream.

One a brief final note, nutrition and hydration are two key words for any marathon runner. For me, this has comprised water and jelly babies. Those little lumps of gelatin and sugar have been the most important fuel source for my marathon training – future runners, take note!

Before I go – I’d hugely appreciate any sponsorship you can give me, however small, as it will all contribute to helping TBIF continue its important work:  https://www.justgiving.com/TomSurr/

Many thanks,

Tom

Here is a picture of me with my finisher’s medal for the Vitality North London Half-Marathon in March 2015

Posted in Staff, Volunteers.

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