Whilst originally from Bristol I have been in Birmingham since 2013 where I discovered running was something I might actually enjoy. Through my running club, Kings Heath Running Club, I found out about Ben and his challenge and was keen to be involved. When I found out Ben was raising money for anti-bullying charities, especially Stonewall, I was keen to support him where I could.
I have been fortunate not to experience the level of bullying Ben talks about in his book I am sadly no stranger to homophobia and so anything that can help reduce this needs to be supported. Additionally the campaign work around mental health is just as important. Again not only through my own experiences but also through work, seeing how many students do need support. The #findyourhappy message is important, and seems more so today during the pandemic, lockdowns and the new world we will emerge into once this over.
I met Ben during his 401 marathons during his Birmingham run. Since then I was lucky enough to be part of the group that was on the BBC SPotY (BBC's Sports Personality of the Year) stage when Ben won his award and I've signed up to the Portishead and Nottingham events as well as the previous virtual challenge. So continuing to support his work I wanted to get involved in this USA Virtual Challenge as well.
The challenge started well and it prompted me to get in to cylcing (the only way I would cover those miles!) but then had a running inury. So the last few months have slowed down a bit but I am starting to run again which is great and the cycling miles are going up as well.
The USA Virtual Challenge has helped me with lockdown. Living alone and working form home means that lock down can be a challenge and working in education is stressful in the current context. But getting out to tick off the miles has helped reduce the stress.
For me the challenge has not only helped me try and maintain fitness, especially in lockdown, but having started cycling I am getting out and discovering new places I wouldn't otherwise have seen.
There is a supportive Facebook group and you can get through the miles in a number of ways, including a range of "alternative" activities so alongside running and cycling its helped me keep up regular Pilates and Bodybalance sessions. Plus medals. Medals are always a good motivator. Who doesn't like bling.
If you want to join Lee and take part in one of our Virtual USA Challenge missions, you can register HERE, where will your adventure take you?