As the nights now draw in and the the colder, darker and wetter weather kicks up another notch, it’s perhaps rather timely that the next Charity I wanted to add to the list on this site, and one that I had a leaflet to hand about, was HARP.
HARP is an action-based charity that is located and works in the town where I live, Southend. It aims to help the local homeless by providing essential services and emergency housing and works with people on a long-term basis so that they can hopefully get off the streets and rebuild their lives. They have two charity shops, offer emergency services including a drop-in centre for advice, hot meals and washing facilities and also offer supported accommodation. When someone is feeling hungry, alone, vulnerable… when they have no home and no shelter… when they feel lost and have no hope… HARP is there to help.
From their website, the services they offer:
Emergency Services at the Bradbury Centre: advice, support, a hot meal, help in finding emergency accommodation
Acorn Housing – a supported housing scheme for single people;
HARP Restart – supports ex-offenders who are receiving treatment for substance misuse with not just hostel accommodation but rehabilition programmes;
Learning for Life – provides accommodation and life skills to support those who have difficulty maintaining a tenancy, including support for the long-term homeless who often have very complex needs.
They do amazing, and staggering, work. From their website, the following facts:
HARP provided 3,900 food parcels and night packs in 2013, and over 4,500 in 2014/2015;
HARP’s volunteers are crucial to keeping the charity afloat. We have approximately 60 volunteers across our sites including our charity retail shops in London Road and Hamlet Court Road (both in Westcliff), including kitchens which are all run by volunteers,
All food donated to HARP is used in food parcels, night packs and for meals at The Bradbury Centre, the emergency hostel and our other specialist hostel;
As with any charity, help from the general public is vital to their ongoing work. There are many ways to help, from donating money, donating goods, fundraising and volunteering by donating time.
And for those runners who visit here, please note that they also have a local annual run… Harp24! This is a 24 hour race for either relay teams or solo runners, of 4.2 mile cross-country loops , and which raises a lot of money for the charity… so the more entrants, the more money it generates to help the charity provide the above services within the Community. The first of these races was in 2012 and it has grown in size every year since… over 300 runners for 2015! I had the pleasure of participating last year as a solo runner, one of only two idiots who ran with a weighted pack… and what a fantastic party atmosphere it had… friendly competition, camping, friends, families, children playing… unfortunately it clashed with my 8in8 marathon challenge this year so I couldn’t go.
Fab race reports available online from a variety of clubs, including one from Flyers Southend which can be read here and one from Rochford Running Club which can be found here, you might even spot me in one of their 2014 photos!
So for those of you who fancy a challenge, why not keep an eye out for next year’s event… enter a team or go solo, run for fun or use it as training for an ultra or stage race… and for the seriously crazy (or normal, depending upon your perspective 😉 ), how about going for a 100+ mileage and becoming a centurion?
And so to the last part of this post’s title…
It’s a little while off, but at the beginning of December, HARP will hopefully be kicking off their yearly Christmas Meals campaign/appeal again, which I participated in last year. I know that there are many appeals at this time of year, but imagine being on the streets with absolutely nothing, which is awful enough during any day… but at Christmas when homes light up with their decorations, trees and families gathering… when wherever you go, you hear about people’s plans for eating, drinking, having fun… belonging, being cared about, being loved, being wanted… what about those who don’t have food or a roof over their heads, those who don’t have any of this, have no-one? HARP aims to provide all who turn up a christmas meal at their Centre and these are funded entirely by donation. A donation doesn’t just provide a meal though… it also gives people access to the Charity’s full range of services which in turn can then ripple out to create new beginnings for them. So, for those who are interested, this is a heads up to please keep an eye out for when that appeal happens.
And lastly, for those that would like to help this fantastic Charity in any of the ways listed above, please click here for their website and here for their Facebook page, where you can find further information on doing just that.
Wishing you all a wonderful Friday and week ahead 🙂
Well after I couldn’t sign up for the Marathon des Sables, I did a little Google surfing… and it was amazing to find just how many runs, races, countries and continents these are run on… I think every country and definitely every continent. Yes you read right, every continent including Antarctica! And no, I’m not going there… I’m not a fan of feeling even a little bit cold… I blame being a summer baby for that!
But I happened to find myself at a website with THE most stunning trailer… in a different country on a different continent and while listening to the soundtrack and watching the most amazing scenery… I got the goosebumps. You know the ones, not just any old I’m feeling cold or something a little freaky has happened and raises the hairs on your arms… this was OMG I have to do this, I have to be there… it doesn’t matter how hard it is (I may regret ever thinking this shortly!)… how expensive… this is a once in a lifetime experience…
170 miles / 273 kilometres from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon up to the Grand Staircase
over 7 days
You get a tent for the night… and water to drink…
self-supported – you have to carry everything else you need in a backpack while you run/hike/climb
a marathon or more every day
(one day is a double marathon)
and longer than the Marathon des Sables.
But a triple continent challenge needs 3 continents… so add the continent of Europe… specifically the London Marathon… 26.2 miles, completed earlier this year, although I haven’t had time to blog about it until now… more on this in the next post!
And for the third continent… it’s back to Africa… for the 3rd time in 18 months… oh yes, I paid a little visit to another African country at the beginning of this year which I figured might help as challenging “training” albeit of a different nature… which I will write about if I ever get the time!… So yes, Africa again … specifically Madagascar… no, not like the film… though if I end up hallucinating I may very well see talking lions and giraffes… hopefully not the zebra though!
And this is part of the 4deserts series via Racing the Planet. Each year they put on a stage race, like the Marathon des Sables and Grand2Grand (or g2g as it’s more commonly known) in the 4 driest deserts: the Atacama Crossing (Chile), the Gobi March (Mongolia/China), the Sahara Race (Jordan/Egypt) and the Last Desert aka Antarctica! They also put on one extra and this is known as a roving race, held in a different country each year with 2014 being held in Madagascar… quite a good job as 2013 was in Iceland and it looked cold.
Again, you get a tent for the night… and water to drink…
and you have to carry everything you need in a backpack while you run/wade (there are river crossings above knee height *eek*) and no doubt walk (lots of walking, I plan on lots of walking).
And just to make it harder… because surely that doesn’t sound hard enough?
The two stage runs (as these type of multi-day events/races are known as) are only a few weeks apart!
Actually they are 15 days apart, from the finish line in Africa to the start line in America… and in that time I have to fly home from Africa, get back to work, college and daily life, recover (heaven help me)… and then fly out to America to get on that starting line.
15 days between the two events… running a total of 324 miles.
Yes, you read that right too… 324 miles, across remote and difficult terrain, carrying everything I need and giving an overall total of, I believe just over 350 miles for the 3 events.
I am of course fundraising for such a challenge… and it’s for a fantastic charity that deals with challenges, survival, motivation, courage, fears (amongst other aspects)… details will be given with the London Marathon post 🙂 so please do take time to visit their website and share information once that post has been blogged.
From new runner in February 2013
to double stage runner in September 2014
Is it do-able?
I’m about to find out.
“You only get one life: aim high and be all that you can be”
~ Michelle Payne ~
what shall i tell a child if she asks me what is life?
will i recount the pain and hurt and focus on the strife?
or shall i paint a picture of the beauty that is found
in sailing ships and chocolate chips and bugs beneath the ground?
i’d like to think i’d give her hope of all that is to come
but if she reads some poems of mine, her hope shall be undone
i cannot bear to think that i may dim a child’s eyes
present to her a world of just confusion, pain, and lies
for if i am to tell her early on of mountain streams
and help her build the pillars that will hold up all her dreams
i’d paint the birds that fill the trees with beauty and with song
a sanctuary in her mind to help when things go wrong
and in that place in her mind’s eye the flowers would grow free
in meadows under blue skies by the mighty loving sea
she’d have a place for comfort, have a place to be alone
amidst tomorrow’s challenges, no matter how she’s grown
i pray to learn my lessons from the children whom i meet
i dream of sowing sunshine on a crowded city street
i pray my words shall never hurt the child here inside
i pray that never shall i fear the child in me has died
i must reject some words of mine if i’m to feel i’m free
embracing hope, i must hold on to how good life can be
that i may treat the children with respect that they deserve
for i shan’t live for self alone–i give my life to serve
In the depth of my soul there is
A wordless song – a song that lives
In the seed of my heart.
It refuses to melt with ink on
Parchment; it engulfs my affection
In a transparent cloak and flows,
But not upon my lips.
How can I sigh it? I fear it may
Mingle with earthly ether;
To whom shall I sing it? It dwells
In the house of my soul, in fear of
When I look into my inner eyes
I see the shadow of its shadow;
When I touch my fingertips
I feel its vibrations.
The deeds of my hands heed its
Presence as a lake must reflect
The glittering stars; my tears
Reveal it, as bright drops of dew
Reveal the secret of a withering rose.
It is a song composed by contemplation,
And published by silence,
And shunned by clamor,
And folded by truth,
And repeated by dreams,
And understood by love,
And hidden by awakening,
And sung by the soul.
It is the song of love;
What Cain or Esau could sing it?
It is more fragrant than jasmine;
What voice could enslave it?
It is heartbound, as a virgin’s secret;
What string could quiver it?
Who dares unite the roar of the sea
And the singing of the nightingale?
Who dares compare the shrieking tempest
To the sigh of an infant?
Who dares speak aloud the words
Intended for the heart to speak?
What human dares sing in voice
The song of God?
There’s nothing very beautiful and nothing very gay
About the rush of faces in the town by day;
But a light tan cow in a pale green mead,
That is very beautiful, beautiful indeed.
And the soft March wind, and the low March mist
Are better than kisses in a dark street kissed.
The fragrance of the forest when it wakes at dawn,
The fragrance of a trim green village lawn,
The hearing of the murmur of the rain at play
These things are beautiful, beautiful as day!
And I shan’t stand waiting for love or scorn
When the feast is laid for a day new-born . . .
Oh, better let the little things I loved when little
Return when the heart finds the great things brittle;
And better is a temple made of bark and thong
Than a tall stone temple that may stand too long.
Still a week behind I’m afraid, hoping to catch up soon!
So the previous 6 weeks have been about building a solid foundation to work from, safely… Week 7 starts the sharpening section, which meant this was the week I encountered my first Yasso 800! Unsurprisingly I’d never heard of these before, but a bit of googling brought forward what I needed to know. Yasso 800s are named after Bart Yasso, who devised his own marathon training plan which included running 800m fast, with a slower recovery 400m straight after, then repeating this up to 10 times: the theory being that whatever you get the 800m down to, once you can do the 10 repetitions (eg: 3 minutes each), then that would show what you should finish your marathon in (3 min 800 = 3 hour marathon, 4 min 800 = 4 hour marathon and so on…). For his website, please click here.
Now I didn’t think that sounded too bad… until I had to try it! Treadmill time… easy to count the distance… and worked out roughly what I thought I could push it to with more of a “jog” pace recovery. Warm up of a mile/1600m followed by 800m at 11.3 pace then dropping to a 9.0 pace for the 400m recovery (the gym treadmills are at km, which means I’m always having to google & convert my overall distance into miles for my running app) followed by a mile/1600m cool down. Well the first two I thought were ok, then I hit the third one and felt a bit sick. Hitting the fourth one… legs decided that they were tired and wanted to turn to jelly. But it got done.
Since it was Easter Friday and no work, I also figured I’d try to push it a bit and do a second one that day after driving to my local gym. Big mistake. Got the third one done and then died. Not the thing to do when you’re knackered, not getting enough sleep and living mainly on adrenaline! When I say died, I mean felt sick, legs turned to jelly and absolutely could not push through that psychological (and physical barrier). As it turns out, I think these are only meant to be done once a week anyway (oops – what was that I said about pushing it ;))!
Overall though, happy days… I not only ran for another 70 minutes (outdoors) but did my longest distance (7.91 miles) and the fastest time… I finally got my average under a 9 minute mile. Very very happy about that!
So training for Week 7 included:
***lunchtime treadmill run of 46.21 minutes x 1
***PT session with Activate Plus PT x 1
***lunchtime treadmill run of 30 minutes x 1
***treadmill run of 43.39 minutes x 1
***weekend run of 70 minutes x 1
Total overall running: 20.76 miles / 190 minutes (3 hours 10 minutes)
No yoga or karate this week due to appointments and Easter and no chance to fit them in elsewhere. I guess when you’re stretched to full capacity, this is one of the problems you can encounter – a lack of flexibility in changing things around! Oh yeah, also had to hand in a food diary at the PT session… it’s one thing to know you have a *cough, splutter* sweet tooth, but quite another to actually have to hand over a piece of paper with everything written down, including just how much sugar you chuck into your tea and coffee! I slunk out of there pretty quick at that point *grin*.
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.”Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.””Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.”I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?””Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up…
“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
“How much?” asked the little boy. “No charge,” answered the farmer, “There’s no charge for love.”