Friday, 28 November 2014

Please don't sponsor me

I can't abide sponsored events they drive me nuts. I'm tired of our chugging culture of being pestered to give still more at running events, when I have already helped charities raise money by entering. I just want to be left alone to run.

On the 21st of December the sun will barely put in an appearance, what with it being the shortest day and all. I will be running from Bingley to Harrogate off-road between dusk and dawn. It's about 26 miles and 600m of ascent and I may or may not be fit enough, I like a challenge. Please I beg you don't suggest I get sponsored for a good cause. I don't want your money. I am doing this for my own mostly self interested reasons and because I think it will be fun. Or maybe it will be unrelenting suffering and borderline exhaustion for the last two hours or so, but it is definitely an idea I want to follow for it's own sake, I don't want to do good.

Why am bothering to tell you this? Well now, a friend of mine Andy Dennis a Starbeck local boy, is in Kailahun Sierra Leone with Medicines Sana Frontiers (MSF) at the moment. He is following an idea of his own. Saving some lives and giving many more people a decent, dignified and safe, death. He has been there for two weeks now. He was hoping to run with me and my wife on the 21st, 10 days after he returns and I told him no. My fear of Ebola meant I decided I didn't want to take any risks I could easily avoid. I don't want someone recently returned from the frontline flaking out on me on top of Ilkley Moor with a fever, however unlikely that event might be. I think it would be an awkward conversation with the Mountain Rescue.

So we have a real hero amongst us. Real bravery will not soon be exploring the limits of it's waning physical endurance for no good reason. The hero is the one putting his neck on the line. The one in the full body PPE in the tropical heat. The one smelling strongly of chlorine watching yet more people die of a disease that he is helping to stop. Helping to put us all at less risk. What thanks does he get? Well not what he deserves. Perhaps if you do need a really worthy cause for your hard earned you might think about donating to Andy's just giving page. He does want your money and unlike Geldof, he is neither quite so famous nor quite so troubled. So far over four years, he has raised £40,000 for MSF. Often so he can then go off unarmed to some of the poorest parts of the world where security is defined by who has the most guns and look after people who can't look after themselves.

I have been trying to ignore what he is doing recently but sometimes even a stone hearted introvert like me has to admit they are genuinely impressed by someone even if he does go on a bit.

Whatever you do on the shortest day I hope you have a good one, but you could do nothing better than bung Andy and MSF a few quid. Next year I hope he is joining me from Bingley to Harrogate and if he suggests we get sponsored, I will tell him as I have told you that I don't do sponsored.


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