I was lucky enough to secure a place in the 2015 London Marathon through the ballot but I thought it would be a crying shame if I didn’t use the opportunity to raise money for a worthy charity.
The Donkey Sanctuary was my first and only choice for a magnitude of reasons. One of my earliest memories was staying with my family in a holiday cottage in Dorset which had two donkeys residing in the adjoining field.
Any opportunity we had, my twin brother and I would make a dash for the field and feed the donkeys with as many carrots as we could fit in our little pockets. They were extremely friendly, gentle and patient; ever since then I’ve always had a soft spot for these animals which has got stronger over the years.
My job has taken me to some fairly interesting parts of the world, but it was whilst in Iraq and Afghanistan that it became obvious as to how badly treated donkeys could be, working in extreme temperatures with no veterinary support, carrying obscene loads with little food or water.
A lot of thought goes towards the human population in war zones but little or no consideration is given to the animals. Also, having lived near Exeter for a couple of years, The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth was a frequent weekend destination.
No matter what else was going on, you were always given a warm welcome from staff and residents and it was so easy to lose a couple of hours strolling through the fields and interacting with all the cheeky four-legged locals.
Therefore, I couldn’t think of a better charity that I’d like to raise some money for. Seeing the amazing work they do to improve the welfare of donkeys at home and abroad is inspirational and I’d gladly run a marathon in order to contribute towards this noble cause.
The run itself was surprisingly enjoyable and well worth the early morning training runs in the cold and dark! The support from the Sanctuary in the lead up to the day and on the day itself was excellent and the three hours of pain were well worth the donkey goody bag at the end.
I’d urge anyone to apply for a golden bond place for the 2016 London Marathon and raise funds for such a fantastic organisation. Anyone can get fit and be ready to run a marathon in 6 months, providing you put some training in.
The atmosphere on the day is amazing and the feeling of achievement you get on crossing the finish line is indescribable. Being able to eat what you want guilt free was also rather pleasurable.
So rather than sitting at home on your sofa next April watching it on the television, you could be personally involved in one of the biggest and best organised marathons in the world. To be able to raise some money for such a deserving cause in the process is an added bonus.
Major Tom Wade, London Marathon runner