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Running to get a roof over your head

March 27, 2024

Any run can be a challenge, a marathon is one of the defining challenges of the mainstream running world. Today I’m going to tell you why I’m running London this year, ask for your help (charity request incoming) and make a couple of analogies as to why good running is a bit like good financial planning.  Have a read to be inspired to go and do better than me!

Last year a colleague in the office wanted to enter the London Marathon, and asked and cajoled me into joining them. It’s an event I have applied for before, although not in the last decade (or two possibly), and so she was pushing at a bit of an open door, because a) the odds of getting in are pretty slim, so it was performative virtue on my side, and b) it’s a bit of an unscratched itch.

I entered, and ticked the box to contribute my entry fee to charity should I not get in on the main ballot. Low and behold, I didn’t get in on the first round, but did achieve a place in the reserve ballot for those who don’t get in on the main ballot and donate. So, I get my own place without any commitment to fund raise. Which is nice, not because I don’t want to do some good (I do) but because I can do it in my own way.

My colleague didn’t tick the same box, and didn’t get in. Hilarity ensues.

After a month or two of complete denial at the thought of being committed to running 26.2 miles in front of literally millions of people, I’ve now started (kind of) to do some training, and there is a chance I might actually finish. Being over 50, and not having run an actual event since before lockdown, this is by no means a foregone conclusion. I have a personal trainer who is beginning to worry that my running training is insufficient, as well as a small group of supportive friends who also think I’m an idiot! I’m not at all sure they’re wrong.

To give me a bit of motivation to finish and also to make a bit of a positive difference, I have nominated a charity that I’m supporting. The Saffron Walden Almshouses ( is a charitable institution with roots dating back over 600 years that provides housing and accommodation for people from all walks of life at a reduced cost, giving those who might otherwise be homeless, the opportunity for a stable home environment and to get back on track. Their tenants are individuals and families of all ages, and whilst I think it’s something that our government (local and national) should be more coordinated about, nonetheless private charitable provision fills a yawning void in affordable accommodation.

So if you can, please support me by visiting my just giving page at and donate whatever you can.

I promised you an analogy – and since my training is such a palpable disaster thus far, I’ll make it at my expense. A good financial plan is built on a foundation of truth. There is a genuine assessment of where you are, and what you’ve got. A realistic view of what can be achieved, your capabilities, and your limitations around the amount of money you can commit to your goals, as well as your appetite for risk, and capacity to manage bad luck. For a running event the process is similar. It’s important to start from a position of truth, knowing your capabilities, setting realistic targets, and building a training programme that can be sustained throughout the run up to the big event, it’s critical to think about how to avoid injury, and to set down achievable milestones to give a sense of achievement.

From this you can safely conclude that I’m a much better Financial Planner than I am runner. 

That said – markets will not behave as planned, and it is important to be resilient. To accept that on the wild seas of the future, life will not go according to plan, and we all have to adapt to where we find ourselves. Regular reviews of our plans can provide much needed encouragement, and recommitment to the long-term goals, which in turns gives the impetus to achieve the end result.

And in turn with running, things will happen. An ankle turned, a calf muscle pulled, or more prosaically, just a very bad run – and it’s important to check in with your coach about how to overcome these blocks, and to keep committed to get to (both figuratively and literally) the finish line on the big day.

I’m excited to be doing this – the London Marathon is a big deal for me, and I will let you know how it goes. If you can, please support me in supporting the Almshouses, they do great work.

Running to get a roof over your head

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