Paul Gardner’s running the London marathon for the second year in a row.
This year he’s running to beat his record, and he’s also got a close connection with his charity, Baby Lifeline, which makes his fundraising even more of a personal mission.
As something of an experienced Justgiving fundraiser, we’ve asked him to let us in on the secrets to his fundraising success…
Here’s his interview – full of fundraising ideas to help you reach your target.
1. What inspired you to run the marathon again?
1) Last year I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my right shin six weeks before the marathon so I had to stop training. This year I want to beat that time.
2) The main reason: I am running for Baby Lifeline and a good friend of mine is closely involved with the charity which provides advice, support and equipment to assist pregnant mothers and newborn babies. The charity works closely with maternity hospitals on various projects including Queen Charlotte’s, Hammersmith, where my two children (two and a half years and six months) were born. Baby Lifeline has waited approximately 15 years to receive marathon places.
2. Can you tell us more about the charity?
Baby Lifeline (www.babylifeline.org.uk) came into being in 1981 after Judy Ledger, now Chief Executive, suffered the personal loss of three premature babies. It is a unique national charity offering loving care and support to pregnant mothers and new born babies all over the UK.
Over a ten-year period, the charity raised over £1.5 million and purchased vital equipment for three hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire – where the charity still has its headquarters. Not surprisingly, Baby Lifeline’s influence and work subsequently spread nationwide and to date it has contributed more than £5 million to Britain’s maternity hospitals and services.
However, it is an unfortunate fact that, even with the advances in medical care and science today, more than 8,500 babies still die at or around the time of birth.
3. Are you approaching your fundraising differently this time?
Yes. Slightly more organised. Last year was very much sending out a few begging emails to friends and family. This year I have approached my company (that’s one of our Justgiving tips!), a couple of suppliers who work for me and I am talking to local businesses. My local pub has agreed to sponsor me and will be holding fundraising events on my behalf.
4. How’s your training going? Any tips?
Following the Runners World sub 4 hour training schedule, which I have uploaded to my Garmin GPS watch. This has helped in several ways:
• Having a defined schedule you know what is coming up and can plan your week around it so no excuse to miss runs.
• By using the Garmin and the PC application it keeps me motivated as I know when my pace is too slow/ too fast/ just right, plus being able to see your results and training times on the PC keeps it interesting and you can track your improvements.
• I also mix up my running training with exercise bike sessions and upper body weight-training in my shed/ gym/ office. This helps break up the monotony of running and leaves even less of an excuse to do nothing.
5. What are you looking forward to about the race?
The whole experience is excellent – it sounds very clichéd but the amount of support given by total strangers is overwhelming. I am also looking forward to being able to give my medal to my six-month-old Claudia as she wasn’t around last year and the medal went to her big brother George. After April 26th they will both have a medal. I am also running with a couple of friends this year rather than alone.
6. Is there anything you’re not looking forward to?
Not really, last year did hurt, but that’s part of a marathon. Possibly not looking forward to the trip home afterwards although I only live in West London – all taxis were gone and I ended up walking to Green Park.
7. What’s your best fundraising tip?
Don’t be scared to ask people – at worst they can say no. Also make sure you approach local businesses, pubs, etc – a couple of donations from businesses can make a huge difference.
8. Where can people sponsor you?
Through my Justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/pauls-flm2009
and my blog: paulsfloralondonmarathon2009.blogspot.com
Thanks very much for talking to us Paul – and good luck reaching your target! We’ve made a small donation to help you on your way.