'From that day on, if I was ever going somewhere, I was running!'

Read Matt Styrka’s inspirational story behind his challenge to run 12 half marathons in the next year.

This year, I am planning to run 12 half marathons over 12 months to raise money for charity. At the end of 2018, I decided that I wanted to do something special in 2019 to raise money for charity and having got into running recently I thought why not try running one half marathon a month for the whole of 2019.

The idea of 12 half marathons is very different to the reality. I am making sure I train almost every day (hence the Forrest Gump reference in the title, which I’m sure you recognised!), doing lots of Pilates and yoga, strength training and – my favourite part – carb loading.

I now have my first race under my belt – the Windsor Winter Half Marathon around Dorney Lake (the venue for the Olympic rowing competition in 2012).

My training for Windsor was hampered by a virus that I picked up before Christmas, and I couldn’t run for two of the three weeks leading up to the event. I had no expectations before the race, so I was highly delighted with a time of 1 hour 36 minutes and 34 seconds – a personal best.

I am now training for my next event on 17 February, which takes place at Hampton Court Palace; two weeks later I will be taking part in my  “work home” half marathon in Cambridge.

Running charity cambridge blog CPL agency marketing

Why am I doing this crazy challenge? Simple. In mid December 2005, my mum died in Wycombe Hospital, Buckinghamshire, from complications after routine surgery. She was just 60.

My family was devastated, as she was the most wonderful person in the world. She was kind, generous, joyful, and thoughtful. All who had the pleasure of meeting her felt their lives were a little bit brighter. She always had a warm smile and friendly word for everyone and she dedicated all the spare time she had to volunteer and help those organisations and people who needed it most.

If my mum could talk now, I know she wouldn’t be angry at dying. Instead, she would want to thank the amazing staff at Wycombe Hospital, especially those in the intensive care unit (ICU), who battled in vain to save her life.

So, it is in her memory that I am raising money for the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, of which Wycombe Hospital is a part. I’m asking for the money to go directly to the ICU where staff work under severe pressure every day.

I  – and my mum – would be eternally grateful if you donated even just a small amount to this wonderful charity. Thank you.

Matt Styrka
is senior associate - head of media sales
at CPL

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