Updated: Feb 4
Meet Paul Wheeler, one of our lovely supporters fundraising through Ultra Challenge. We hope you are as inspired by his story as we are!
Why did you first start fundraising?
My first fundraiser was The Race to The King in 2016. The route takes you along the South Downs Way to Winchester Cathedral, the burial ground of twelve English kings- which is where the name comes from!
It was September 2015 when I thought to myself: “I’m getting old, I need to do something epic.” My friend had booked The Race to The King and I decided to run it too. Doing it for charity seemed like a good way to keep up my motivation. I looked up the Ultra Challenge charity partners and that was it: the start of a journey.
What do you enjoy most about fundraising?
Knowing that I'm running for a charity keeps me motivated. I would say the most enjoyable part is the finish and knowing that maybe my few pounds have helped in some way.
What has been your most memorable fundraising experience?
I have a few. Most are of my little dog Honey running up to me before the end and running through the finish line with me. She crossed the line with me at the end of my 100k: I was in so much pain, but as soon as I saw her excited face, I felt so much better.
One memory still brings a tear to my eye. I was about 30 miles into a run, with my Parkinson's UK t-shirt on as that’s who I was running for (my stepdad’s brother has Parkinson’s). There was an elderly couple walking nearby and the lady saw my t-shirt. She was so excited, thanking me for my support- I could tell she’d been affected by Parkinson’s too. It gave me such a buzz; just lovely.
What do you think makes EDT a great charity to support?
I grew up in the late 70's/80's in a council estate and we had no opportunities like this, so to run for a charity who give children the chance to follow their ambitions is great.
Why did you decide to fundraise through the Ultra Challenge?
The support you get from them as a runner is just amazing: it makes fundraising much easier. Also the fact that smaller charities can register, so it’s not all about the big, well-known ones.
What advice would you give to new fundraisers?
I would say pick something which gets you out of your comfort zone. But also remember you’re only human: there will be training runs which are rubbish, you just need to keep practicing.
What running advice would you give to someone who wanted to start running with the aim to fundraise?
Get good footwear, you'll be thankful! Do a run you've never done before, so if 5k is your thing try out a 10k. Make friends with other runners, because once you start, that’s all you’ll want to talk about! Most of all, just enjoy it.
If you would like to find out ways in which you can support us, find out more here
To support Paul with his fundraising click here