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Paige runs the north!

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11 July 2019

Hello readers! My name is Paige, and I am the Marketing and Communications Executive at Epilepsy Society. I will have been with the charity 2 years in October, and have decided to take on the Great North Run for Epilepsy Society.

Paige Dawkins wearing an Epilepsy Society running vest

The Great North Run is the world's biggest half marathon (last year had 43,000 runners!) and takes place in Newcastle this year on 8 September.

"Ooooh the world's biggest half marathon..."

My previous running experience

I have had some previous experience in running. I've sworn to myself I will never take on the fearful full marathon, but have completed about four 10k races, one 8 miler, and the Bournemouth Half Marathon last year.

I was inspired to start running because of my big brother, Adam. Adam is 31, and since being a young adult, has been affected by chronic back pain, meaning that exercise had been nigh impossible both physically and mentally. With awe-inspiring determination and commitment, he built himself up from having never run to taking on the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2017 for Shelter, completing it in a fantastic time of 2:14:50. To encourage him and show support throughout his training, the rest of our family started to take part in shorter distance races.

Almost 2 years later, here I am training for my second half marathon... (daaaarn youuu Adaaaammm!)

Why I have taken on this challenge

Why have I decided to take on this challenge? Well, I'd be lying if I said it still felt as appealing as it did when I excitedly entered the ballot in February, high on the endorphins from a 10k race (it's like the phrase "don't go food shopping when you're hungry!"). When I received the email saying that I had got into the race, I believe my first words were "Oh gosh - why have I done this again?!".

"Why...just...why..."

But for me, like for lots of people who take on a challenge for Epilepsy Society, the challenge of 13.1 miles of  running is small when compared with the challenges faced by those affected by epilepsy every day.

As someone who isn't affected by epilepsy, I don't have to be fearful, when going for a solo long run, of what may happen if I have a seizure. I don't have to worry about being able to drive somewhere further afield to complete a training route. I don't have to worry about tiredness triggering a seizure, or about how side effects from anti-epileptic medication may affect how I am feeling on race day. Living with epilepsy, for so many people, is no small feat. If running 13.1 miles can make the smallest difference to just one person's life, it will all be worth it!

13.1 miles, or 21 kilometers, is a bloomin' long way. There are no two ways about it. I completed the Bournemouth race in 2:43:41 seconds, and although I somehow managed to muster a sprint finish (I know, I know, the photo's awesome), it felt like just that: two hours, forty three minutes and forty one seconds of running. I am aiming for a sub 2:20:00 time for the Great North, and I've got my training plan in place and am hoping with good preparation I'll be able to reach that goal.

Somehow I managed to sprint!

What does the training involve?

So, training for a half marathon is a big commitment. There are lots of different plans out there, the Epilepsy Society training hub has them too, but the plan I'm following consists of four runs per week. This includes 2 'easy' runs which are shorter and at a steadier pace, one 'workout' run which could be sprint training or a hill workout, and one 'long' run. The plan I am on lasts for 15 weeks, taking me all the way up to race day.

Post-run selfies are a must

Wish me luck!

Whilst writing this blog, I am on week 5 of my training plan, and I have to say I am feeling good! I hope to still be feeling the same when week 15 comes around and I get the train up to Newcastle for the big day. I am really looking forward to the race as I have heard that the atmosphere is simply amazing.

An epilepsy diagnosis can be life-changing; isolating, frightening and debilitating. So I hope you'll consider sponsoring my run, or even taking on a challenge of your own for Epilepsy Society. You can sponsor my run here https://www.justgiving.com/paiged-great-north

Paige x

The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Epilepsy Society.